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The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team based in San Francisco, California who currently play in the National League West Division. One of the oldest baseball teams, the Giants hold the honor of having won the most games of any team in the history of baseball.[1] The Giants played in New York City through the 1957 season, after which they moved west to California to become the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants began life as the second baseball club founded by millionaire tobacconist John B. Day and veteran amateur baseball player Jim Mutrie. The Gothams (as the Giants were originally known) were their entry to the National League in 1883, while their other club, the Metropolitans (the original Mets) played in the American Association. Nearly half of the original Gotham players were members of the disbanded Troy Trojans, whose place in the National League the Gothams inherited. While the Metropolitans were initially the more successful club, Day and Mutrie began moving star players to the Gothams and the team won its first National League pennant in 1888, as well as a victory over the St. Louis Browns in an early incarnation of the World Series. They repeated as champions the next year with a pennant and World Series victory over the Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

It is said that after one particularly satisfying victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, Mutrie (who was also the team's manager) stormed into the dressing room and exclaimed, "My big fellows! My giants!" From then on, the club was known as the Giants.

The Giants' original home stadium, the Polo Grounds, also dates from this early era. The first of the Polo Grounds was located north of Central Park adjacent to Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 110th and 112th Streets in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Upon eviction from the Polo Grounds after the 1888 season, the Giants moved uptown and renamed various fields the Polo Grounds which were located between 155th and 159th Streets in the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Washington Heights. The Giants played at the Polo Grounds until the end of the 1957 season, when they moved to San Francisco.

1908–16, 1919–22, 1928–29
1923–27, 1930–31
1948–57The Giants remained a powerhouse during the last half of the 1880s, culminating in their first league pennant in 1888 and another in 1889. However, in 1890, nearly all of the Giants' stars jumped to the upstart Players' League, whose New York franchise was also named the Giants. The new team even built its park next door to the National League Giants' Polo Grounds. With a decimated roster, the Giants finished a distant sixth. Attendance took a nosedive, and the financial strain affected Day's tobacco business as well. The Players' League dissolved after the season, and Day sold a minority interest to the PL Giants' principal backer, Edward Talcott. As a condition of the sale, Day had to fire Mutrie as manager. Although the Giants rebounded to third in 1891, Day was forced to sell controlling interest to Talcott at the end of the season.

Four years later, Talcott sold the Giants to Andrew Freedman, a real estate developer with ties to Tammany Hall. Freedman was one of the most detested owners in baseball history, getting into heated disputes with other owners, writers and his own players. The most famous one was with star pitcher Amos Rusie. When Freedman only offered Rusie $2,500 for 1896, Rusie sat out the entire season. Attendance fell off throughout the league due to the loss of Rusie, prompting the other owners to chip in $50,000 to get him to return for 1897. Freedman hired former owner Day as manager for part of 1899.

In 1902, after a series of disastrous moves that left the Giants 53½ games behind, Freedman signed John McGraw as a player-manager, convincing him to jump in mid-season from the Baltimore Orioles of the American League and to bring with him several Orioles' players. McGraw would go on and manage the Giants for three decades, one of the longest and most successful tenures in professional sports. McGraw's hiring was one of Freedman's last significant moves as owner of the Giants; after the season he was forced to sell his interest to John T. Brush. Under McGraw the Giants won ten National League pennants and three World Series championships.

The Giants already had their share of stars during its brief history at this point, such as Smiling Mickey Welch, Roger Connor, Tim Keefe, Jim O'Rourke and John Montgomery Ward, the player-lawyer who formed the renegade Players League in 1890 to protest unfair player contracts. McGraw would also cultivate his own crop of baseball heroes during his time with the Giants. Names such as Christy Mathewson, Iron Man Joe McGinnity, Bill Terry, Jim Thorpe, Mel Ott, Casey Stengel, and Red Ames are just a sample of the many players who honed their skills under McGraw.

The Giants under McGraw famously snubbed their first ever modern World Series chance in 1904—an encounter with the reigning world champion Boston Americans (now known as the "Red Sox")—because McGraw considered the new American League as little more than a minor league. His original reluctance was because the intra-city rival New York Highlanders looked like they would win the AL pennant. The Highlanders lost to Boston on the last day, but the Giants stuck by their refusal. McGraw had also managed the Highlanders in their first two seasons, when they were known as the Baltimore Orioles.

The ensuing criticism resulted in Brush leading an effort to formalize the rules and format of the World Series. The Giants won the 1905 World Series over the Philadelphia Athletics, with Christy Mathewson nearly winning the series single-handedly.

The Giants then had several frustrating years. In 1908, they finished in a tie with the Chicago Cubs and had a one-game playoff at the Polo Grounds. The game was a replay of a tied game that resulted from the Merkle Boner. They lost the rematch to the Cubs, who would go on to win their second World Series. That post-season game was further darkened by a story that someone on the Giants had attempted to bribe umpire Bill Klem. This could have been a disastrous scandal for baseball, but because Klem was honest and the Giants lost, it faded over time.

The Giants experienced some hard luck in the early 1910s, losing three straight World Series to the A's, the Red Sox, then the A's again (the Giants and the A's both won pennants in 1913; two seasons later, both teams finished in eighth [last] place). After losing the 1917 Series to the Chicago White Sox (the White Sox's last World Series win until 2005), the Giants played in four straight World Series in the early 1920s, winning the first two over their tenants, the Yankees, then losing to the Yankees in 1923 when Yankee Stadium opened. They also lost in 1924, when the Washington Senators won their only World Series in their history (prior to their move to Minnesota).

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Giants) www.sfgiants.com