by Tricia O'Brien, Arcadia Publishing
Book Review by Craig MacDonald
Exciting Baseball Fever is in the air as we enter World Series Season. For baseball fans, it's "root, root, root" for your team. In the past decade, I was rooting for my home team, the San Francisco Giants, as they won 3 World Series Championships in just 5 years!
Although the Giants have had some disappointing years of late, they have one of the nation's most famous franchises, which first won World Championships in New York before moving to San Francisco in 1958.
Oddly enough, their arch-rivals—the Dodgers—also had moved West (to Los Angeles
from Brooklyn). On April 15, 1958, the two teams played their first game at
Seals Stadium, San Francisco, with the Giants shutting out the Dodgers, 8-0. And
the heated rivalry continues to this day!
Tricia O'Brien's book documents, through photos & text, the Giants story from New York through their first World Championship in San Francisco (2010). The avid fan has rounded up remarkable photos of the stadiums, players, owners and the behind-the-scenes employees, who made the Orange & Black so successful.
You'll see and learn about, such legendary characters as Carl Hubbell, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Bobby & his son, Barry Bonds, Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and so many others.
The book is full of fascinating, "rest of the story"-type tidbits, such as:
The New York Giants played at the Polo Grounds, where the Yankees had previously performed & the Mets, "strutted their stuff" later on.
Sal Maglie pitched for all three New York teams (Giants, Dodgers & Yankees). When the Giants moved to San Francisco, Sal stayed at home & played for the Yankees.
One of the greatest pitchers ever, Cy Young Award-winning Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves, ended his fabled career pitching with the Giants at age 44!
The fabulous Giant, Gaylord Perry, was the first player to win Cy Young Awards (as the best pitcher) in both the National & American Leagues.
In 1963, the Dominican Republic-born brothers, Matty, Felipe and Jesus Alou, became the only all brother starting outfielders in Major League Baseball.
Third Baseman Hank Thompson, who had fought in World War II's Battle of the Bulge, played for the Giants from 1949-56. He was the first black player to perform in both the National & American Leagues.
Alabama not only produced All Star Outfielder Willie Mays & First Baseman Willie McCovey, but Third Baseman Jim Davenport, who went on to Manage the Giants in 1985.
Famed Hitter Will Clark took 500 practice swings every day.
In 1988, Star Pitcher Dave Dravecky had surgery to remove cancer cells in his pitching arm. He returned & pitched the next year, making the All Star Team.
Readers will enjoy seeing photos and reading about such managers as Alvin Dark, Roger Craig, Dusty Baker & the especially popular—with players & fans—Bruce Bochy, who guided the team to 3 World Championships (2010, 2012 & 2014).
Interestingly, even though there's a major rivalry between San Francisco and the Dodgers, Giant's Managers Dusty Baker, who took the team to the World Series in 2002, and Roger Craig were both star players with the Dodgers! And, LA Dodger Manager Dave Roberts, ended his playing career as a San Francisco Giant!
(Editor's Note: The reviewer has rooted for the Giants through "thick & thin," braving the cold winds of Candlestick Park & sometimes hot days at Pacific Bell Park. His grandfather always listened to every Giant's game on the radio; his father met Hall of Fame Pitcher Carl Hubbell on a golf course; his mother enjoyed meeting Jim Davenport, and his sister talked with Barry Bonds. He once was lucky enough to put on a conference for business leaders inside Pacific Bell Park, which became SBC Park, then AT&T Park, and is now called, "Oracle Park."
The stunning park, with memorable breathtaking views and a classic design, opened in 2000 and was later selected as "Sports Facility of the Year" by Sports Business Journal.)