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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Amazing Giants

TRIVIA QUESTION:   While Gaylord Perry won 20 games twice for the Giants, he won 20 or more three other times in his career. Twice with Cleveland. What other team did he win 20 with?  

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: 
Former Philadelphia player Pancho Herrera played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. 

The San Francisco Giants were without a doubt, one of the most successful teams in the 1960's. In the 10 years of the decade they won 902 games or more than 90 wins per season, topping out with 103 in 1962. They lost the World Series to the Yankees in seven games. Despite their aforementioned success, it would be the club's only World Series appearance in the decade.

The team was always known for its sluggers. Willie Mays blasted 350 home runs in the 1960's while Willie McCovey hit 300 more. In the mid-1960's Jim Ray Hart came on the scene and added extra power twice hitting over 30 homers, while during the entire run the club had solid defensive players such as Jim Davenport and Hal Lanier.

Pitching really stood out however, led by the incredible Juan Marichal. Aside from a few social miscues Marichal was as dominant as his Los Angeles counterpart, Sandy Koufax. During the decade of the 1960's three times pitched 300 innings (299.2 in one of them), he won 191 games including 26 in 1968. He won 20 six times and 25 twice. His record in those three best years was 72-24 for an incredible .750 winning percentage.

There was Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry too. He won in double figures multiple times including a 21 win season. He pitched over 300 innings in a season in 1969 and twice tossed more than 290. Bobby Bolin had a career with the Giants. Tom Haller held up the catching duties and was strong behind the plate. 

There were other key players such as the Alou brothers who played in the same outfield for the Giants. Perhaps the Giants were too good and had too many good players. They shipped Felipe Alou off to Milwaukee/Atlanta where he enjoyed an all-star career. They sent Matty to Pittsburgh where he won the batting title in his first year there hitting .342. Jay was eventually moved to Houston.

Orlando Cepeda slugged his way around the bigs but couldn't play the outfield and wasn't going to move McCovey off first base. He was dealt to St. Louis where he won the MVP Award in leading the Cardinals to World Series twice.
 
Still they finished second five straight years to close out the '60's.  In 1962 they put it all together though. Cepeda blasted 34 homers, McCovey had 44 and Mays hit 38 while Felipe Alou added 20. Mays and Cepeda both hit over .300 while utility man Harvey Kuenn whacked .290. Marichal won 25, Jack Sanford 16 and Billy O'Dell 14 while a bullpen by committee shared 30 saves among 10 pitchers. Bolin and Billy Pierce shared the honors for the most with seven each.

 Thank you to those of you who purchased my book after reading this column. It has been appreciated. 

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