Those Scrappy, World-Champion Giants

by Ric Albano

Over the past seven years, we have had the privilege of watching five incredible championship runs by the Giants. OK, these championships were split between two distinctive Giants on two separate coasts and playing two distinctive sports, with the latest being the San Francisco Giants’ third World Series victory in five years. But it is hard to separate these two teams which share the same nickname and shared the same city and stadium for over three decades.

The New York (Baseball) Giants came first, being established as the New York “Gothams” in 1883. It would be over four decades before the New York Football Giants was established in the new National Football league and the two teams shared the Polo Grounds in the Washington Heights section of Harlem. In the mid 1950s these teams diverged, first when the Football Giants moved across the river to Yankee Stadium in 1956, then when the baseball Giants moved across the country to San Francisco two years later.

The Polo Grounds
The Polo Grounds

On this site, we’ve looked at the incredible Super Bowl runs following the 2007 season and 2011 season for the New York Football Giants. In each of those cases, the team was heavy underdogs along the way as they took the long, four game route to the championship and played most games on the road. Now, we’ll look at the similar, scrappy championship runs of the San Francisco Giants in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Through most of the 2010 baseball season, the Giants trailed the San Diego Padres in the National League’s Western division. In fact, the Giants had a very mediocre 41-40 at the halfway point of the season and needed an incredible September run along with a significant Padres slump to win the division. In the National League Championship series, the Giants were heavy underdogs against the two-time National League champion Philadelphia Phillies, but they won some close games and won that series 4 games to 2. In the 2010 World Series, the Giants had a relatively easy time of it, defeating the Texas Rangers 4 games to 1 and winning their first World Championship since moving to San Francisco 52 years earlier.

In 2012, the SF Giants won their division comfortably but their record was third among division champions, meaning they had no home field advantage in any playoff series. Things looked dire when they fell behind 2-0 to Cincinnati and had to win three in a row on the road to take the Best-of-5 series over the Reds. In the 2012 NLCS, they fell behind 3 games to 1 to the St. Louis Cardinals and again had to win three in a row and did so in convincing fashion, by a combined score of 20-1 in those three games. The 2012 World Series had no such drama, as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in dominant fashion, only trailing for a total of 3 innings in the entire World Series.

Missing the playoffs all together in 2013, the 2014 San Francisco Giants started strong but they soon slumped and fell far behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers by mid season. The team had to rally late to be the season to secure the second wildcard position, a playoff position that did not exist 3 years earlier. This year’s Giants finished with an 88-74 record, the first time they had reached postseason with under 90 wins but, once in the playoffs, soon caught fire. The Giants shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 in the 2014 National League Wild Card Game and, by winning the first two games on the road against the Washington Nationals in the divisional series, the Giants set a National League record for consecutive postseason victories at 10. Ultimately, The Giants faced the Kansas City Royals in the first World Series involving two wildcard teams. Fueled by the brilliant pitching of Madison Bumgarner, the Giants won the exciting World Series 4 games to 3.

With their loss to the Colts last night, the New York Football Giants fall to 3-5 and are an extreme long shot to even make the playoffs. But with Giants, you never know.

New York Giants Blog by J.D. CookThe Giants Blog is published every Monday during the NFL season while the New York Giants remain viable contenders (which in 2011 was right to the end and their Super Bowl championship). On the weeks when the Giants have a Monday night game, the blog will be published on Wednesday. The blogs are thoughtful (albeit heavily biased) analysis of the Giants’ performance from our editor-in-chief and Giant fanatic J.D. Cook.

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