1900 – 1957
A New York team under the ownership of factory owner John B. Day and local sports figure Jim Mutrie replaced the Troy, NY team in the NL in 1883. The two also entered a team called the Metropolitans in the American Association that same year. Mutrie managed the Mets and John Clapp was the first manager of the NL team, then called the Gothams or Green Stockings. The NL team’s original stars were Buck Ewing, Roger Connor, and Mickey Welch, who’d been with Troy, and former Providence pitcher-turned-shortstop John Montgomery Ward. At first, the Mets, with former Troy pitcher Tim Keefe, were more successful, winning the AA pennant in 1884. The following year, Mutrie moved over to manage the NL team, bringing Keefe and several other Mets with him. The team, which included a number of six-footers, received its name from Mutrie’s habit of referring to his charges as “My boys, my giants!” Mutrie’s Giants won NL pennants in 1888 and 1889. Under unpopular owner Andrew Freedman, the Giants experienced mediocre seasons through the 1890s despite the excellent power pitching of righthander Amos Rusie. Freedman changed managers 12 times in eight years before he hired John McGraw to lead his team in 1902. The next year he sold the team to John T. Brush, who let McGraw control the on-field operation.
The Giants dominated the National League for 30 years under McGraw, winning ten pennants and finishing second 11 times. The 1905, 1921, and 1922 teams won World Championships. During the first quarter of the 20th century, the Giants were baseball’s most successful franchise both on the field and at the box office. Among the great players under McGraw were Christy Mathewson, Roger Bresnahan, Joe McGinnity, Frankie Frisch, Mel Ott, Travis Jackson, and Bill Terry. Brush died in 1912 and his son-in-law, Harry Hempstead, took over the team. In 1919, the Giants were purchased by a syndicate headed by New York stockbroker Charles Stoneham, the beginning of a powerful baseball family. After Stoneham’s death in 1936, his son Horace replaced him as team president.McGraw retired in 1932. Spearheaded by first baseman-manager Terry, home run champ Ott, and lefthander Carl Hubbell, the Giants won three pennants and one World Championship in the 1930s, then slipped into the doldrums through the 1940s. Manager Leo Durocher and star centerfielder Willie Mays brought a pennant in 1951 and a WS victory in 1954, but sharply declining attendance and the growing inadequacy of the Polo Grounds threatened the team’s survival. After the 1957 season, Stoneham moved the team to San Francisco.