1951 New York Giants

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1951 New York Giants / Franchise: San Francisco Giants / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 98-59, Finished 1st in National League (1951 NL)

October 3, Pennant: October 3, 1951, vs. Brooklyn Dodgers

Managed by Leo Durocher

Coaches: Freddie Fitzsimmons, Herman Franks and Frank Shellenback

Ballpark: Polo Grounds IV

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1951 New York Giants came back from being 13 1/2 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers on August 11th to finish tied with them after 154 games. A three-game playoff was required to determine the pennant winner, which the Giants won thanks to the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", as Bobby Thomson's game-winning homer off Ralph Branca in the bottom of the 9th in the third game came to be known. That home run has since become a cultural touchstone and is arguably the most famous home run in baseball history.

The Giants are also known for having used a sophisticated mechanism to steal opponent's signals at the [Polo Grounds]] that season. At the urging of manager Leo Durocher, coach Herman Franks took a seat behind the scoreboard and would watch the opposite catcher's signals through a telescope; he would then use a buzzer to relay what he saw through an electrical signal to the dugout, where the Giants' batter would be informed of what pitch was coming. According to the book The Echoing Green (see further reading), which revealed the scheme, the system was installed on July 20th. What is known is that the Giants were nearly unbeatable at home after that date. However, before one jumps to the conclusion that they "stole" the pennant through this devious tactic, it should also be noted that they were also a tremendous team on the road, and that their improvement between the first part of the season was in fact almost entirely based on improved pitching, and not by any better hitting. The pitching staff, which was the second worst in the National League in the first half, was the stingiest over the second half, leading to their tremendous record and ability to catch an excellent Brooklyn team down the stretch.

Awards and Honors[edit]

World Series[edit]

Main article: 1951 World Series

AL New York Yankees (4) vs. NL New York Giants (2)

Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 Giants – 5, Yankees – 1 October 4 Yankee Stadium 65,673
2 Giants – 1, Yankees – 3 October 5 Yankee Stadium 66,018
3 Yankees – 2, Giants – 6 October 6 Polo Grounds 52,035
4 Yankees – 6, Giants – 2 October 8 Polo Grounds 49,010
5 Yankees – 13, Giants – 1 October 9 Polo Grounds 47,530
6 Giants – 3, Yankees – 4 October 10 Yankee Stadium 61,711

Further Reading[edit]

  • 2022 San Francisco Giants Media Guide, pg. 518
  • Don DeLillo: "Pafko at the Wall", Harper's Magazine, October 1992. [1]
  • Roger Kahn: The Era, 1947-1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World, Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2002 (originally published in 1993). ISBN 0803278055
  • Bill Nowlin and C. Paul Rogers III: The Team That Time Won't Forget: The 1951 New York Giants, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015. ISBN 978-1-933599-97-7
  • Joshua Prager: The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World, Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 2006.
  • Bryan Soderholm-Difatte: "Durocher the Spymaster: How Much Did the Giants Prosper from Cheating in 1951?", The Baseball Record Journal, SABR, Volume 41, Number 2 (Fall 2012), pp. 77-86.

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