Sunday, May 10, 2009

Da Bums

The rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers is very real, ancient and intense.
In 1889 they were the only two major league teams in New York. The Dodgers switched from the American Association to the National League in 1890, and the rivalry was officially underway.
Charles Ebbets and John McGraw hated each other's guts, and this was played out by the men on the field and the fans of both teams. In 1940 an umpire was brutally beaten during a game by a Dodger fan who didn't like a call that went the Giants' way.
The two teams have had well over 2000 head-to-head meetings, more than any two rivals in sport. The results have been relatively even, the Giants with more success during the New York years, the Dodgers more since the move to California. Many seasons have had close dramatic pennant races between the two.
1951: The Dodgers held a 13 1/2 game lead over the Giants as late as August 11th, when their manager Chuck Dressen famously declared "The Giants is dead!" Led by rookie Willie Mays, however, the Giants charged through August and September to catch and pass the Dodgers; the Dodgers rallied to win the final game of the season and the season ended with the two teams tied and the pennant to be decided by a 3 game playoff. The Giants won the first game, the Dodgers the second, and the tie-breaking playoff was won by the Giants with a dramatic ninth-inning home run by Bobby Thomson, a play known as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.
1959: The Giants led the Dodgers by 3 games as late as September 6th. A late year three game sweep of the Giants provided both their elimination and allowed the Dodgers to catch the Braves who they defeated 2 games to none in a 3 game playoff en route to winning the World Series.
!962: The Dodgers blew a late season lead and Giants forced a 3 game playoff, which the Giants won with a 4 run rally in the top of the 9th in game three at the Latrine.
1965: The Giants went on a 14 game winning streak in early September to take 4 1/2 game lead, but the Dodgers responded with a 13 game winning streak and won 15 of their final 16 games to beat out the Giants by 2 games.
1966: A 3-way race between the Dodgers, Giants, and Pirates came down to the last day of the season. The Dodgers went into the second game of a doubleheader with the Phillies ahead of the Giants by one game. Had the Dodgers lost, the Giants would have been 1/2 game out and would have had to fly to Cincinnati to make up a game that was rained out earlier in the season. Then if the Giants won that game, they would have met the Dodgers in a playoff. But the Dodgers won the second game in Philadelphia to win the N.L. Pennant by 1 1/2 games.
1971: The Dodgers rallied from a 6 1/2 game September deficit to get within 1 game of the N.L. Western Division leading Giants with one game to play. But while the Dodgers were defeating the Astros, the Giants beat the Padres to win the division. (The Giants went on to lose to the Pirates in the first ever divisional playoff)
1982: The Dodgers and Giants were tied for 2nd, one game behind the Braves as they faced each other in the final 3 games of the year. The Dodgers won the first two games 4-0 and 15-4 to eliminate the Giants, then the Giants knocked the Dodgers out of the pennant race on the season's last day on an 8th inning 3-run homer by Joe Morgan, winning the game 5-3. Thus, the Braves finished 1st by one game.
1991: The Dodgers finished one game behind the Braves after dropping two of three in San Francisco over the final weekend. Trevor Wilson tossed a complete game shutout on the day in which the Dodgers were eliminated.
1993: Two Mike Piazza home runs and a dominant complete-game performance by Kevin Gross kept the 103-win Giants out of the playoffs in a 12-1 walloping on the final day of the season.
1997: A late September two-game sweep of the Dodgers at Candlestick highlighted by Barry Bonds' infamous twirl after a home run in the first game and Brian Johnson's home run in the bottom of the 12th in the second tied the Giants with the Dodgers for first place and eventually propelled them into the playoffs.
2001: The Giants finished two games behind the Diamondbacks as the Dodgers took two of the final three games of the year in San Francisco, despite Barry Bonds record of 73 home runs in the season. In the first game of the series, Bonds hit his record breaking 71st home run of the season off Chan Ho Park, but the Dodgers won the game, thereby enabling Arizona to clinch the division title.


Bob said...

I had tickets to the next-to-last game of the season in '01. I was so psyched. Maybe I'd see Barry break the record. Maybe I'd see the Giants win the division. Beat LA, Beat LA. As it turned out, Barry broke the record Friday night, the Giants were eliminated, Barry sat out the game (except for a late PH), Livan Hernandez had a meltdown and threw a bat-tossing tantrum when he came out of the game. It was one the biggest letdowns in my fan life.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I was at the "Joe Morgan" game. That was fun, but a bit of a hollow "victory." After all, we had been eliminated on Friday night, when Fred Breining gave up a grand slam to Rick Monday in a 0-0 game.