Saturday, December 27, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS - ALL TIME HOME GROWN TEAM vs. ALL TIME ACQUIRED TEAM



OK, there is some pressure on your pal Sully for the latest edition of Home Grown vs. Acquired.

First of all, based on the number of comments posted recently, it's clear there are more of you reading these.

Secondly, there is a lot of great history and great eras (or near great eras) of Giants history which means lots of hard decisions.

Thirdly I am including New York and San Francisco Giants, so there choices are plentiful.

Fourthly, since I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for so many years, I know many Giants fans who will be quite angry if I screw this up.

But most importantly, my dad is a lifelong Giants fan.
He takes his Giants fandom seriously and already has said he wants to see my list.

Unlike most Giants fans I know, he actually watched his team win the World Series (he was a New York Giants fan in 1954!)
And he impressed me the other day by rattling off the entire 24 man roster by memory.

So I had to REALLY do my homework for this one.

The other day he said "Is Whitey Lockman on it?"
I gulped.
He wasn't.

Here we go folks.
As always the rules can be found here.


ALL TIME HOME GROWN GIANTS TEAM

STARTING CATCHER
CHIEF MEYERS

A fixture on John McGraw's teams from the 1910's, Meyers got MVP consideration 3 straight seasons and caught most of Christy Matthewson's games during that span. He must have been doing something right. He also was a solid hitter, hitting .358 for the 1912 NL Champs.

Meyers was a member of the Cahuilla tride, thus the politically correct nickname. He was also a Dartmouth graduate and featured in the book The Glory of Their Times.



STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
ORLANDO CEPEDA

The Santruce Crabbers, a Puerto Rican professional team, had a bat boy in the 1950s that the owner thought was a good hitter. He encouraged the bat boy to try out for the New York Giants, which he did.

The bat boy would make his playing debut and win Rookie of the Year for the 1958 Giants. The bat boy would play 16 seasons in the bigs, bat a career .297 with 379 home runs, make 7 All Star teams, win the MVP and a World Series ring with the Cardinals, be elected to the Hall of Fame and have a statue in his honor at AT&T park.

That's all cool... but the best thing I can say about Orlando Cepeda is his BBQ place at AT&T Park kicks butt. Order the Cha Cha Bowl!





STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
FRANKIE FRISCH

The Fordham Flash joined the Giants and soon became one of their biggest stars. He regularly batted well over .320 and drove in 100 runs for the 1921 World Champs with only 8 homers!

He missed a sign in a game in 1926 and suddenly their MVP candidate was in John McGraw's doghouse and then traded to the Cardinals for Rogers Hornsby. Frisch would win an MVP, get another ring as a player and was the player/manager for the 1934 World Champion Cardinals and ultimately be elected to the Hall of Fame.

No word if he EVER got out of McGraw's dog house. All I know is McGraw never won another World Series.




STARTING SHORTSTOP
CHRIS SPEIER

I am convinced Chris Speier is still playing. And I'm not talking about a semi pro team or under an assumed name like Shoeless Joe Jackson at the end of Eight Men Out. I would not be stunned if I were listening to two teams on my XM that get no press, like the Royals and the Rangers. And I would have expect to hear the announcer say "Here's veteran shortstop Chris Speier coming to the plate in his 37th season."

He seemed to always be playing and he is the lone link between the 1971 NL West champs and the 1987 NL West champs. He played in the post season with Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry... and he played with Will Clark, Robbie Thompson, Rich Reuschel, Chili Davis and Kevin Mitchell.

He homered in the 1971 playoffs and made 3 All Star teams during his 19 year career with two stints in San Francisco... and I'm sure he's out there somewhere still playing.





STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
FREDDIE LINDSTROM

Yet another Hall of Famer in a Giants uniform, Lindstrom was an MVP candidate and run producer for the Giants in the 1920s. In 1924 he became the youngest player to play in a World Series game. (He was 18). And he also got a record 9 hits in a double header in 1928.

He had bad luck after playing 9 seasons with the Giants, he was dealt just before they won the 1933 World Series. Oh well... I guess a plaque in the Hall of Fame will have to suffice.





STARTING LEFT FIELDER
MONTE IRVIN

Branch Rickey considered having Irvin break the color barrier before choosing Jackie Robinson for his grand experiment. It would have worked out just fine had he gone with Irvin instead. A star for the Newark Bears in the Negro Leagues, he became an All Star for the Giants. He led the NL with 121 RBIs in 1951 and got MVP votes in '51, '52 and '53 and his key 2 run single helped put away the clinching game 4 of the 1954 World Series.

Was elected to the Hall of Fame but just imagine if he could have played his prime years in the big leagues!




STARTING CENTER FIELDER
WILLIE MAYS

When Woody Allen's character in Manhattan lies down and lists the things that make life worth living, he includes Willie Mays.

I can list Mays' many stats, accolades and analyze his career, but Woody putting Willie in such company as Groucho Marx, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Cezanne, the Crabs at Sam Wo's and Tracy's face is the best compliment I can think of.

The lowest he should EVER appear on a greatest player of all time list is 3. (Only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron's name should be brought up... and Willie should still come out on top.)





STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
MEL OTT

Ott was 5'9" and weighed 170 pounds. He wasn't exactly an imposing figure. But from 1937 to 1966, he was the all time Home Run king of the National League.

He was the first National Leaguer to reach 500 homers and made the All Star Team.

His nice guy persona while managing the Giants led to one of the most famous quotes in baseball history. Leo Durocher, then managing the Dodgers, was talking about Ott when he said "Nice guys finish last."

That may be true, Leo. But Ott also finished with a World Series ring (1933) and a plaque in the Hall of Fame. Not bad for a nice guy.




TOP PINCH HITTER OFF OF THE BENCH
BILL TERRY

Does anyone know why they didn't award an MVP in 1930? I have a hunch Bill Terry would have won it that year. He had an OPS of 1.071 and hit 23 homers with 129 RBI while striking out only 33 times. He was a sabermetrics dream.

Oh, if you prefer batting average, he hit .401 that year.

But no MVP voting.

Really... e mail me if you know why.
Oh yeah Terry was the player manager for the 1933 World Champion Giants and was elected to the Hall of Fame... but he should have won an MVP for 1930.

This bothers me.



THE STARTING ROTATION

JUAN MARICHAL

In 2002 when I attended the opening of the Hall of Fame exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in New York, they had many Hall of Famers in attendance for a meet and greet. I covered this in one of my first ever posts.

While everyone crowded Hank Aaron and Dave Winfield and wanted their pictures taken with Ozzie Smith, I looked over and saw a distinguished looking Dominican man standing by himself, drinking a water.

I knew who it was. It was one of the greatest stars in the last great era of pitchers. A six time 20 game winner (plus two more 18 win seasons) he had one of the great wind ups of all time with that high leg kick. And he was just standing there.

He didn't look like an ace pitcher nor a guy who was so intense that he hit the Dodgers Johnny Roseboro with a bat during a game.

I came up to him and said "Mr. Marichal?"
He smiled and said "Yes?"
I said "My dad is the biggest Giants fan I know."
Juan Marichal said "I like your dad."




GAYLORD PERRY

Not a lot of kids are named Gaylord these days.
Odd isn't it?

Perry's name came up a lot during the Bonds home run chase in 2007... mainly by Bonds apologists.

You'd hear them (mainly callers into KNBR) say "How is Bonds using steroids any different from Gaylord Perry throwing a spit ball?"

Um, well one is against the rules of baseball and the other is against THE LAW! Let me put it this way: Perry doesn't have any of his friends sitting in jail because they won't tell the Feds he supplied Perry with Vaseline."





RUBE MARQUARD

When the Giants signed Marquard for $13,000, fans were outraged by the huge sum. Now that doesn't pay for for A-Rod's shoes.

The Giants won the pennant in 1911, 1912 and 1913 and Marquand won at least 23 games each of those years and formed with Christy Matthewson one of those incredible 1-2 punches in the rotation in the history of baseball.

Brooklyn plucked him off of waivers during the 1915 season and he kept on winning and was elected to the Hall of Fame.

He became a Vaudeville performer and met his wife on the circuit. Man I wish more ballplayers today were performers on the road!


SCOTT GARRELTS

I can't believe Garrelts only played 10 seasons... and calling it 10 seasons is padding because it includes 1982 where he appeared in 1 game. He seemed to be a "on the verge of stardom" pitcher for at least a decade. He showed his promise on the 100 loss 1985 team by winning 9 games and saving 13 while compiling a 2.30 ERA over 105 2/3 innings, all in relief.

He bounced between the rotation in 1986 and managed to win 13 and save 10 back when 10 saves meant something. For the 1987 Division Champs he was purely a reliever, winning 11 games and saving 12. For the 1989 NL Champs he was purely a starter and won 14 games and was the game 1 starter for the NLCS and World Series. 2 years later his career was over.

I wonder if bouncing him back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen led to that demise.

What is that I smell? A Joba Chamberlain entry?



TIM LINCECUM

I originally was going to put John Montefusco here based on his solid career and playing for the Giants during an irrelevant period.

And I also thought it might be too early to put Lincecum on an all time list for such a storied franchise.

But then I thought better of it. At age 24 he is the face of the post Bonds Giants. He already has a Cy Young and has been dubbed "The Franchise." And who knows? He's off to a great start and I didn't want to find myself omitting the next great Giants star from this list.

Besides, when was John Montefusco ever called "The Franchise?"




THE BULLPEN



MARV GRISSOM

Grissom was signed by the Giants in the early 40s and then got tossed around to a bunch of organizations before returning to the Polo Grounds in 1953. The next season he made the All Star Team, got some votes for MVP and was one of the best relievers on the 1954 World Champion Giants.







RANDY MOFFITT

A steady if not spectacular reliever from the 1970s, he posted double digit save totals (back when that meant something) for 6 straight seasons.

He's also the brother of Billie Jean King.
You can look it up!





GARY LAVELLE

Between Greg "Moon Man" Minton, Gary Lavelle and Randy Moffitt, the Giants had a lot of depth in their bullpen in the late 1970s.

Lavelle made a pair of All Star teams as a left handed reliever (1977 and 1983) and regularly logged around 100 innings from the bullpen with a sub 3.00 ERA.

When he retired after the 1987 season, he had the 26th most saves in Baseball History. He's now ranked #80. (Think the saves stat is easier to get since LaRussa made the closer throw only one inning?)

And now he is selling something called "The Hitting Disc."



JEFF BRANTLEY

Brantley took over the closer role after the 1989 World Series and posted 19 saved with a 1.56 ERA. He put up nice numbers in 1991 too.

But I also remember sitting in a game at Candlestick in 1992 with my buddy Greg Lee, the second biggest Giants fan I know (after my dad.)

On the Jumbotron between innings they showed a PSA with Jeff Brantley. When Greg saw Brantley's face he provided the narration. "Hi. I'm Jeff Brantley. When I'm not blowing saves for the Giants, I am telling kids to stay in school."

So maybe his solid numbers were deceiving. Maybe not Benitez-esque, but not as good as first glance with make them look.

He saved 44 games for the 1996 Reds. I have absolutely no memory of him doing that.




FRANK LINZY

Linzy, a sinkerball specialist, had a terrific rookie campaign for the 1965 Giants when he went 9-3 with 21 saves and a 1.43 ERA. His best season was 1969, his last full season with San Francisco. He finished 14-9 with 11 saves over 116 1/3 innings, all in relief.

Got zero Hall of Fame votes his only year on the ballot. I'm not saying he belonged, but you'd think that one sympathetic writer would have thrown him a bone.



THE BENCH


RESERVE INFIELDER
TITO FUENTES

One of the last players to come from Cuba before the embargo, Tito was one of the best fielding second basemen of all time. He also had a little bit of pop in his bat, hitting a key homer in game 1 of the 1971 NLCS and batting .313 in the series.

He's now the Spanish voice of the Giants and has a baseball clinic in Arizona.

Let's lift that embargo already and see how many other Tito's there are to play in the bigs!





RESERVE INFIELDER
MATT WILLIAMS

I remember for the first few years I lived in the Bay Area, Matt Williams was lurking in the minor leagues. He was a big prospect out of UNLV with a ton of power but struck out left and right and his average was always hovering around .200 before he was shipped back to the farm. He was batting .130 when the Giants sent him back to AAA in 1989. I thought he was a bust.

Well he found his swing when he came back. He was the starting thirdbaseman the rest of the way and smacked a dramatic home run to win game 4 of the NLCS against the Cubs and drove in 9 runs in the series.

He was an MVP candidate the very next year and was on pace to tie Roger Maris when the 1994 strike happened. He went from a bust to a beloved Giants and fans went nuts when he was dealt after the 1996 season to the Indians. (Little did they know how one of the spare parts in the trade, Jeff Kent, would flourish in San Francisco.)

He won a ring with the 2001 Diamondbacks but alas his name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

Oh well. He had company in the Bay Area!




RESERVE OUTFIELDER
ROSS YOUNGS

Who?

"The greatest outfielder I ever saw" according to no less of an authority than John McGraw. Over the course of 10 seasons with the Giants batted .322 including a career high .351 for the 1920 team. Drove in the winning run of game 1 of the 1922 World Series and was a star on the team that won 4 straight NL pennants plus 2 World Series titles.

His career was cut short after the 1926 season because he had the Kidney ailment Bright's Disease. A year after batting .306 over 95 games for the '26 Giants, he was dead at the age of 30.

He was posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame but his name is not familiar to most Giants fans. We here at Sully Baseball want to put an end to that!





RESERVE OUTFIELDER
WILLIE McCOVEY

I know it is a stretch putting McCovey on the list as an outfielder... but who better to stretch than "Stretch?"

But he did play outfield a lot, especially during Orlando Cepeda's hey day. McCovey started in the outfield in the 1962 World Series and was the left fielder when he lined to Bobby Richardson.

Well it's tough finding room for all of the star homegrown first basemen in Giants history... and I couldn't leave off a Hall of Famer with 521 homers, 1,555 career RBI, an MVP and an entire cove named after him.

So I am sneaking him into the outfield.
Or "stretching" him might be more appropriate.





RESERVE CATCHER
TOM HALLER

A two time All Star with pop, Haller homered off of Whitey Ford in game 4 of the 1962 World Series helping the Giants tie the series at 2 wins a piece.

Later he was dealt to the L. A. Dodgers, their first trade together since moving to California.

Woody Allen referred to Haller in his stand up act when he was talking about prolonging intimacy by thinking about baseball. Not as cool as Willie Mays’ reference by Woody, but not bad!






25 TH MAN
WILL CLARK

I had to find a way to get The Thrill on this list. And any list that includes Cepeda, Terry and McCovey at first base will be tough to crack. But stretching Stretch to the outfield helped me pull this off.

In my years living in the Bay Area I have never seen a Giants player more loved than Will Clark. He wasn’t the best player on his team. Both Kevin Mitchell and Barry Bonds won the MVP with Clark as a teammate. But Clark energized the crowd. He seemed to care as much as they did. He dropped a huge F Bomb screaming into the camera when the Giants celebrated the 1987 Division Title.

And he took his high average and power into the playoffs in a big way. His homer off of John Tudor in game 2 of the 1987 NLCS gave them the lead for good. His 1989 playoff performance had to be seen to be believed.

He batted .650 in the 5 games. That first number was a 6.
For you OPS fans, he had a 1.882 OPS.
For you fans of clutch hits, he drove in 6 runs in 4 innings off of Greg Maddux in game 1, including a grand slam. His 2 out 2 run single in the 8th inning of game 5 drove in the pennant winning runs.

And everyone on the Menlo School baseball team in 1989 seemed to worship him.

Yeah this is emotion checking in here. But if there is a single Giants fan who followed the team in the 1980s who thinks this spot shouldn’t have gone to the Thrill, let me know.



OK, not a bad team.
A bad team with Willie Mays in the line up is suddenly not a bad team.

But I bet some of you are saying "Wait a second! There are a few homegrown Hall of Fame legends that were left off!"
Au contraire!

Read on!!!




ALL TIME ACQUIRED GIANTS TEAM



STARTING CATCHER
ROGER BRESNAHAN

You may never have heard of The Duke of Tralee, but when John McGraw went from the Baltimore Orioles of the upstart American League to the New York Giants of the more stable National League, he brough Bresnahan with him.

The results spoke for themselves. He batted in the top ten of the league three times, topping out with a .350 average. He was a leadoff hitter as a catcher and was quicker than you'd think. His stolen bases were consistently in the double digits, including a 34 steal season in 1908.

He caught most of Christy Mathewson's games and had a tremendous 1905 World Series. He batted .313 in the series and called Mathewson and Joe McGinnity's masterful performances.

He also was, like his manager, a tough Irish brawler who mixed it up with everyone.
Today they'd call him a clubhouse distraction.
But his hard playing style earned him a plaque in the Hall of Fame.

His hard playing style needed a little bit of protection, however.
Bresnahan's longest lasting contribution to the game was his invention of the shin guard.




STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
JOHNNY MIZE

Cardinals GM Branch Rickey loved to trade players just before their skills declined. I guess he felt when Mize's home run and RBI totals dropped during the 1941 season it was time to unload him. Whoops!

The Hall of Fame slugger had some of his best seasons with the Giants. An All Star all 5 years, he won 2 home run titles and was consistently among the slugging leaders. And for you Money Ball lovers who preach power and cutting down on strike outs... Mize is the only person ever to hit 50 homers while striking out fewer than 50 times. He did that for the 1947 Giants.

You can wipe the drool off of the computer now.







STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
JEFF KENT

I admit, I thought the Matt Williams for 3 guys from Cleveland trade stunk when I saw it too. Mainly because I was living in New York at the time and had seen Jeff Kent play up close when he was with the Mets.

He never impressed me with the Mets. He was considered an a-hole on a team filled with them and was nicknamed “Jeff Can’t.” When he was sent off to Cleveland in the Carlos Baerga trade, it was considered a steal for the Mets.

If you told me that Kent would come to San Francisco, win an MVP and put together a career that very well might land him in the Hall of Fame, I’d say “Yeah right. Next thing you’ll tell me is the new Star Wars movies will all suck. Nice try!”

But here we are. Yeah he seems like a prick. But why do I care? We’re never going to hang out!





STARTING SHORTSTOP
ALVIN DARK

When the Giants got Eddie Stanky and Alvin Dark in the same trade for the Braves, they instantly had an MVP quality middle infield. Dark may have won his Rookie of the Year in Boston but his best years were with the Giants where was the team captain.

He was 5th in the MVP voting for the 1954 World Champs and got a hit in each game of the World Series.

Later he managed the Giants to the 1962 World Series and would have won it all if McCovey’s drive was 3 feet higher.

The Giants fired Dark after the owner learned he was having an affair. Future Giants management wouldn’t dig so deep into the personal lives of their players and managers.




STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
HANK THOMPSON

Hank Thompson was a lot of firsts in baseball. He was the first black player to play for the St. Louis Browns (now the Orioles.) With his teammate Willard Brown marked the first time two black players were in a starting line up together. Later on the Giants, he formed the first All Black outfield with Monte Irvin and Willie Mays.

But enough about that. He was a third baseman with 20 home run power. He batted .364 with a 1.066 OPS in the 1954 World Series.

My dad referred to him as Hammering Hank Thompson. With all due respect to my dad and Thompson, there’s only one Hammering Hank.






STARTING LEFT FIELDER
BARRY BONDS

I’ve written way too much about Bonds and to the surprise of many I keep coming to his defense. So let me make 3 very simple points about Barry Bonds.

1) If not for Bonds and his success in San Francisco, the Giants would be playing in Tampa Bay. You’d have Willie Mays showing up to ceremonies in the Trop while China Basin would still be just a place to park your boat. How is that good for baseball?

2) He was a Hall of Famer, arguably the best in the game, before he… um… bulked up.

3) In the age of artificially bulked up guys, he was STILL the best. Yes that is twisted logic, but it is also undeniable.

Love him, hate him or grind your teeth when you see his name, he’s one of the greatest players to ever wear a Giants uniform.

And clearly that has given him a swollen head.




STARTING CENTER FIELDER
BRETT BUTLER

Not the comedienne.
Butler came over from Cleveland to replace Chili Davis in centerfield and the Giants didn’t miss a beat.

He gave them a true leadoff hitter, allowing Robbie Thompson to hit lower in the order. He gave the Giants speed at the top of the order and found himself among the league leaders in stolen bases.

He left the Giants to have some more solid years with the Dodgers where he made the All Star team and beat cancer.

He wasn’t booed when he came back to Candlestick.
That is quite a tribute.





STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
RED MURRAY

In the dead ball era, hitting 7 home runs was quite an impressive total. So I guess Murray was a 7 homer, 48 stolen base man his first season with the Giants.

Considered to be one of the best defensive outfielders of his day, Murray started in 3 straight World Series, often batting clean up. He scored the run in the last game of the 1912 World Series that appeared to have won the World Series for the Giants before they let up 2 in the bottom of the 12th.

Feel free to share these facts about Red Murray with your loved ones.






TOP PINCH HITTER OFF OF THE BENCH
JEFFREY LEONARD

The Hac Man has gotten some flack over the years for his taunting "One Arm Down" home run trot. Some people thought his running around the bases with one arm down lit a fire under the Cardinals. I think that sort of stuff is overrated. If you need added motivation in a playoff game then what are you doing playing in October?

I think the Cardinals pitching staff had more to do with the Giants loss than Jeffrey Leonard running around the bases with an arm down.

Either way, his .417 average, 1.417 OPS and home runs in each of the 4 games of the series was good enough to win MVP even though the Giants didn't win the series.

He never lost his fire either. When the Giants played the Cardinals again in the 2002 NLCS, Hac Man told the SF Gate he wanted the Giants to "Kick the Cardinals ass."




THE STARTING ROTATION


CHRISTY MATHEWSON

Wait is Matty doing in the Acquired team? Well I originally had him on the Home Grown Team, but an Anonymous reader pointed out that he was originally part of the Reds organization. The Giants traded Amos Rusie (a future Hall of Famer himself) for one of the great arms in baseball history.

I realize Mattewson pitched in a different era. I know he pitched in an era where the pitchers got all of the breaks. They could scuff the ball, dirty it up, throw the spit ball and the ball was not wound tight. I know examining his stats next to todays pitchers isn't exactly apples to apples.

But HOLY COW! A lot of these stats are just beyond the point of comprehension.

According to baseball reference (the greatest website in the world) an average season for Matthewson would be 21 wins, 10 losses, 36 games and 31 starts, 274 innings with only 48 walks and a 2.13 ERA.

Keep in mind that includes a season where he went 3-4 over 6 starts and 0-3 in 6 games. In other words a season in his prime he'd win 30-33 games. He went 37-11 and threw 390 2/3 innings with a 1.43 ERA in 1908.

Safe to say there were no pitch counts of The Christian Gentleman.

As I wrote with Whitey Ford, the thing that blows me away more than the 30 some odd complete games he'd have a year is he'd get a few saves as well. That's just not fair! A team is rallying late, building their confidence and they see a pitcher come out of the pen.

"Who is it? Mattewson? Oh what the f---?"


CARL HUBBELL

Now what the hell is Carl Hubbell doing on the acquired team?
He spent his entire amazing Major League career in a Giants uniform.

Well according to baseball-reference.com, the single greatest site on the internet, the first major league organization to sign him was the Detroit Tigers prior to the 1926 season. His Tigers contract was purchased by the Beaumont team in the Texas league who in turn sold it to the Giants... be he was in the Tigers organization for at least a season... which
disqualifies him from being a Home Grown players according to my rigid rules.

Well, that's the Acquired Team's good fortune. They got a Hall of Famer good for 20 wins and 300 IP each season... one that struck out 5 straight future Hall of Famers in an All Star game.





SAL MAGLIE

First Hubbell, now Sal "The Barber" Maglie?
Well Sal's is more of a cut and dry argument for the acquired team. In fact, Sal was originally signed by Cleveland and then was acquired by the Tigers before the Giants plucked him as a Rule 5 selection.

I know what Rule 5 means but God Help you if YOU do. It's complicated but it boils down to the Tigers didn't put him on the major league roster and the Giants were eligible to put him on theirs.

Don't ask how.

But they did a good job finding a horse for the rotation. Sal won 23 games for the 1951 pennant winners and started game 1 of the 1954 World Series... the Willie Mays catch game.





RICK REUSCHEL

One of the reasons that baseball is such a loved sport is that sometimes a player shows up who is so out of shape and looks like a regular Joe, but is still an All Star.

A prime example is Rick Reuschel... Big Daddy.
He looks like your fat uncle.

He had a big ole belly, kind of a hang dog face and resembled a middle aged man going to fantasy camp rather than someone who could write "athlete" under occupation on his tax return.

But there he was... a former 20 game winner with the Cubs and an All Star with the Pirates, he was a 38 year old Tub-a-goo when the Giants traded for him at the August trading deadline and he quickly went 5-1 in his first 6 games, leading the Giants into the playoffs.

He was a 19 game winner for the Giants in 1988 and started the 1989 All Star Game, finishing 17-8 for the eventual N.L. Champs.

His success didn't extend into the post season, but the Giants would never have won those Divisions without that chubby guy who looks like any ole shlub at the hardware store.

Again, baseball is the best game of all.




DAVE DRAVECKY

When people say about a pitcher “He’d pitch his arm off for the team” usually it is a metaphor.

Not with Dravecky.
He only made 27 starts with the Giants and played most of his career with the Padres. But he was a star in the 1987 NLCS. His complete game shut out in game 2 gave the Giants their first win. He threw 6 innings of 1 run ball in a potential pennant clinching game 6… only to get no run support and a tough loss.

The Giants thought they had an Ace.
Instead they found an inspirational figure.
They discovered cancer in his arm after the 1987 playoffs.
He tried to pitch in 1988 and 1989. He won 2 games in 1989 but his arm broke when he threw his last pitch.

The official scorer in Montreal called the last pitch a wild pitch.

And in a strange and frustrating twist, his arm broke again during the Giants celebration of the 1989 National League Pennant.

His left arm was amputated and safe to say after that, there was no comeback for a left handed pitcher.

He is still beloved in San Francisco and is a motivational speaker.
Oh man if they could have scored him 2 runs in that game in 1987 he might have a ring on his finger.

Apologies to Amos Rusie and Joe McGinnity. It's hard to compare pitching stats to eras when the starter would throw 60 games a year.

And neither of them gave their arm to the team.




THE BULLPEN



HOYT WILHELM

Another pitcher stolen by the Giants as a minor leaguer. Drafted from the Braves organization, Wilhelm burst onto the scene as a dominating knuckle ball reliever.

He won 15 games in 1952 and throwing 159 1/3 innings... all in relief. He was the bullpen ace of the 1954 World Champs and became later piled up the saves as a member of the White Sox.

Man, the Giants were good are plucking Hall of Fame pitchers from other organizations.



ROBB NEN

Well he didn't sacrifice his arm the way Dave Dravecky did, but Robb Nen risked his career for the Giants to win the World Series... and came soooo close!

Nen came over from the Marlins after winning a ring (and shutting down the Giants in the Division Series) and settled into the role of closer nicely. In the 2002 World Series he was dealing with rotator cuff issues, yet still answered the bell each time. He recorded 7 saves in that post season and was brought on in the 8th inning with the tying and go ahead runs in scoring position... but 6 outs from winning it all.

It didn't happen. The Angels scored the two runs and the damage to his arm cost him his career.

But hats off to anyone willing to put his career (and millions of dollars) for that World Series title.



JOHNNY ANTONELLI

Prior to the 1954 season, the Giants dealt "Shot Heard 'Round The World" hero Bobby Thomson to the Braves for Antonelli and Don Liddle.

The Giants reaped the benefits from that trade in the 1954 World Series.

Liddle served up the pitch that Vic Wertz famously hit to Willie Mays (then turned to Marv Grissom and said "Well I got my man!")

Liddle was then the winning pitcher in the clinching game 4.

But Antonelli was the real pitching star. He threw a complete game in the Giants 3-1 win over the Indians in game 2.

Then in the clinching game 4, Antonelli came in with runners at the corners and the Giants up by 3 in the 8th inning.

He struck out Wertz and Westlake to get out of the jam and then worked around a walk in the 9th for the save.

And Johnny Antonelli, as of this writing, is the last pitcher to clinch a World Series for the Giants.



ROD BECK

Every closer should look like the late Rod Beck.

He was heavy, he had the bad ass facial hair, the wild expression after a win...
a great pitcher who very well might be insane.

He saved 48 games in the magical near miss season of 1993 and clinched the elusive NL West title in 1997.



STU MILLER

Stu Miller will always be mentioned in San Francisco Giants lore, yet most people don't remember his name. As a pitcher he was the bullpen ace for their first five seasons in the Bay Area. He won the ERA title in 1958 despite pitching most of the year in the pen. He was the closer for the 1962 NL Champs and went 14-5 with 17 saves for the 1961 Giants earning a spot on the All Star team.

It was that spot that earned him some fame... or infamy. Miller was literally blown off of his feet in mind windup from the exaggerated winds around Candlestick Park during the All Star game... and was called for a balk.

No one image better captured what a mistake it was building a ballpark on Candlestick Point.





THE BENCH


RESERVE INFIELDER
ROGERS HORNSBY

The Rajah played only one season for the Giants. But in that 1927 season, he hit .361, with 26 homers, 125 RBI and an OPS of 1.034. He finished 3rd in the MVP balloting to Paul Waner and Frankie Frisch (the guy he was traded for.) He was then sent to the Braves for one season before landing with the Cubs.

Wait a second!

I thought superstars stayed with only one team before free agency kicked in!






RESERVE INFIELDER
JOE MORGAN

Morgan only spent a pair of seasons in San Francisco, but he delivered one of the great schadenfreude moments in baseball history for the fans at Candlestick. The Giants, Braves and Dodgers went into the last week of the season each with a shot to win the 1982 West Division. But the Dodgers beat the Giants the first two games and had a lead in the last game of the season to force a one game playoff with the Braves.

With the score tied in the 7th inning, Joe Morgan hit a three run home run to give the Giants the lead for good and knocked the Dodgers out of the postseason.

Giants fans still cheer when that clip is shown on the Jumbotron.
Sometimes it feels better to see your enemies fail than it is to win yourself.

Joe Morgan went on to be a broadcaster loved by everyone.





RESERVE OUTFIELDER
KEVIN MITCHELL

I saw the two biggest highlights of Kevin Mitchell's career as they happened on TV.
One was his scoring on Bob Stanley's wild pitch that tied game of the 1986 World Series. (The play nobody remember when they bring up Bill Buckner and his overblown error.)

The other was his one handed gloveless catch he made off of Ozzie Smith in 1989. I remember watching that game and I couldn't believe that I saw a guy catch a fly ball with his bare hand.

And I found out according to The Urban Dictionary he is part of common slang.

Evidently you can refer Mitchell when talking about unprotected sex.
Their example was "I am dying to Kevin Mitchell that girl, I can't feel anything with a condom on."

Folks, that might be a better legacy than winning the 1989 NL MVP!






RESERVE OUTFIELDER
MIKE IVIE

I am putting Mike Ivie as the acquired outfielder for a couple of reasons:

1) The Giants have a wonderful tradition of home grown outfielders (Don Meuller, Chili Davis, Jack Clark and Bobby Bonds didn't make the cut) but their acquired outfielders aren't as overwhelming the acquired outfielders. (The son of Bobby Bonds not withstanding.

2) The former #1 overall pick for the Padres had a pair of solid seasons with the Giants in the late 1970s.

3) I just couldn't include Candy Maldonado on the list. Yes I know he had a few nice seasons... but I can't forget my friend Greg Lee dubbing him "Candy I'll-Do-Nada."

Ivie crushed a memorable pinch hit grandslam off of Don Sutton in May of 1978 which helped propel the Giants into the playoff chase.

He looked like he was going to be the next great Giants first baseman before a hunting knife accident damaged his hand and slowed his career down.

Just another reason to NOT hunt!





RESERVE CATCHER
SHANTY HOGAN

Hogan was a solid .300 hitting catcher and a native of Massachusetts who was dealt to the Giants in the trade involving Rogers Hornsby. Being traded for one of the great players of all time must mean you have SOME value! And he who finished 8th in the 1928 MVP voting, his first year with the Giants.

But he clashed with his manager because he was too fat. His teammate Andy Cohen said "he ate himself out of the big leagues." Hogan and Cohen formed a Vaudeville Duo that traveled the country performing.

Man I would love to see a film of that if it exists!









25 TH MAN
LEFTY O'DOUL

I am putting O'Doul on the list as the 25th Man for a few reasons.

He had success with his two stints with the Giants. He was a reliever who made the big leagues as a pitcher but worked his way back after an injury as an outfielder. He batted .319 as a part time player in 1928 for the Giants. After becoming an MVP candidate for the Phillies and Dodgers, he was traded back to the Giants where he made the All Star team in 1933.

In his lone at bat in the 1933 World Series, he hit a come from behind 2 run single to give the Giants the lead for good in game 2. He would earn a World Series ring when the Giants won the series in 5 games.

Later he became a legendary manager of the San Francisco Seals where he managed Joe DiMaggio. He has the best sports bar in San Francisco named after him. (Have the turkey leg and thank me later!)

Also the bridge next to AT&T Park is called Lefty O'Doul Bridge.

Someone who means that much to San Francisco sports and also has a Giants World Series ring needs to be on this list!

SO WHO WOULD WIN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES?

This would be a tough one.
Marichal and Perry are a formidable 1-2 punch.
But Hubbell has shown his ability to strikeout Hall of Famers and Mathewson has no pitch count.

The acquired team has Bonds at the heart of the line up, but I am guessing Mays makes a back to the plate over the shoulder catch on his own Godson!

VERDICT: THE HOME GROWN TEAM WINS! IT WOULD GO SEVEN GAMES... BUT McCOVEY'S DRIVE WOULD GO INTO RIGHT FIELD THIS TIME

CLICK HERE TO GO TO HOME PAGE

Hopefully my dad approves of the list or doesn't just shake his head muttering "Paul... Paul... Paul..." like he was looking at my report card.

(Actually my dad once flushed my report card down the toilet... but that's a story for another post!)

That's the Giants
And the Rockies
And the Mets
And the Rangers
And the Marlins
And the Yankees
And the Red Sox

23 to go.

NEXT ALL TIME HOME GROWN VS. ACQUIRED TEAM:
THE HOUSTON ASTROS

13 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see Will Clark made your list as the 25th man! He was definitely my childhood hero growing up in the 80's and 90's. How can anyone not like the Thrill? His first MLB hit was a homer off the great HOF pitcher Nolan Ryan!

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  2. Sensational. The inclusion of Moon Man Minton made my day.

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  3. For me, Chris Speier. Good job spreading your list across history. I'd flip Cepeda and McCovey, and I still can't get over the beauty of watching Omar Vizquel play (so I'd take him over Dark), but what a great list!

    Too bad there's no space for Dirty Al, Jack the Ripper, and Sarge. But that's how it goes.

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  4. Anonymous3:38 PM

    Great List! I am a lifelong Giants fan, and I really love this list. Although I think Ellis Burks could have probably been picked over Mike Ivie. Giants are one of the tough ones to pick. Too many stars throughout the years.

    I think the Giants throughout the 100+ history of Major League baseball have proven that the team with the most talent doesn't always win most of the World Series Rings ... that and the fact that they have not had great pitching throughout the years.

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  5. Not sure if you got your answer on Bill Terry, but The Sporting News agreed with you in 1930. According to the Baseball Almanac:

    With no Most Valuable Player Award for the second year in a row (due to financial strains), the Associated Press polled its members and named Joe Cronin as it's unofficial American League MVP for 1930. The Baseball Writers Association named Hack Wilson the MVP of the Nationals and his team (the Chicago Cubs) presented him with the $1000 bonus. The Sporting News, also acting to fill the MVP void, announced its own selection of Bill Terry as the Most Valuable Player for the National League, and Joe Cronin for the American League.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Chris Speier might not be playing, but his son Justin is.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous12:10 PM

    JT Snow??

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  8. Anonymous10:02 AM

    this is a slam dunk.mathewson is the best pitcher that ever lived. terry is a bench player. nuff said

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  9. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Good list, but

    Amos Rusie and Joe McGinity should be on the acquired team

    matty is acquired from the reds (traded for amos rusie when rusie hurt his arm)

    I think this might tilt the scales toward the acquired team

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  10. You are right! Matty WAS acquired!

    I missed that.

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  11. Anonymous12:25 PM

    McGinnitty would have pitched his arm off for the team, but his easy motion meant he could have pitched every day.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous11:23 AM

    What about buck ewing

    ReplyDelete
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