Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Long Suffering Giants

I don't feel well today, so I'll write about not feeling well about the Giants' lack of championships. Now that the Red Sox and White Sox have their rings, there are still three of the original 16 teams that have suffered long and haven't won a championship since before the big leagues first expanded. These three teams are the Cubs (1908), Indians (1948) and Giants (1954). Of the expansion teams that are long suffering, the Angels took care of their poverty - at the expense of the Giants - in 2002. The Astros (1962) still haven't won and the combination Senators/Rangers (1961/1972) are fruitless too. Skipping ahead to the next waves of expansions, the Padres (1969), Pilots/Brewers(1969/1970) and Expos/Nationals (1969/2005) are dry, as are the Mariners (1977), Rockies (1993) and Devil Rays (1998).

The most discouraging thing about this list is the company that the Giants have kept. The Giants are one of the greatest teams of all time; all the rest of these teams completely suck. Even though the Cubs and Indians can claim longer suffering, those teams have rarely ever put themselves in the position to win. Since the Cubs' '45 pennant, they have had, what, 1969, '84, '89, '98 and '03? Five seasons that have meant anything at all? The Indians aren't much better, although they had the late 90's and early 2000's of winning teams. Both of these teams have been annual doormats of their respective leagues and have had long spans without anything as much as back-to-back winning seasons.

The Giants, on the other hand, are the winningest NL team ever, and by a big margin. They're second only to the Yankees in winning percentage. If you include the 1800's, they're the winningest team ever. They've had the most hall of fame players ever (even more than the Yankees) and have had quite a few great teams and even eras since 1954.

They were the winningest team in baseball in the decade of the 60's and the only team to win over 900 games. That's an average of over 90 games per year for 10 years. They had five hall of famers on one team, three in successive spots in the batting order (Mays, McCovey, Cepeda) and two in the rotation (Marichal, Perry). Yet it took a miracle to merely tie for only one pennant, and another miracle to win the playoff. They also won a division in '71, had a good year in '78 and took the pennant race in '82 to the last weekend. Their teams in the late 80's were very good and produced two divisions and a pennant, and won 103 games in '93. Still no ring. In the eight years between '97 and '04, they were the most competitive team in all of baseball, playing only 11 games that had no bearing on their post-season. In 2002 they were 8 outs away from a ring in game 6 of the World Series, with a 5-0 lead and their ace tossing a 2-hit shutout. Yes, the Braves have won 14 consecutive divisions, but they did win a Series.

So, the Giants are the most discouraging of all these. Even in Bay Area sports, they are joined only by the expansion Sharks. The 49ers (5), A's (4), Raiders (3) have all won championships, as have Stanford and Cal in various sports. Even the lowly Warriors have one ('75).

C'mon guys, get your butts in gear and win just one. Just one.

No comments:

Post a Comment