1951 New York Giants (MLB) season
|1951 New York Giants|
|National League Champions|
|Major League affiliations|
(Russ Hodges, Ernie Harwell)
(Russ Hodges, Ernie Harwell)
|Previous season Next season|
The 1951 New York Giants season saw the Giants finish the regular season in a tie for first place in the National League with a record of 96 wins and 58 losses. This prompted a three-game playoff against the Brooklyn Dodgers, which the Giants won in three games, clinched by Bobby Thomson's walk-off home run, a moment immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World. The Giants, however, lost the 1951 World Series to the New York Yankees in six games.
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Regular season
- 3 Player stats
- 4 1951 World Series
- 5 Awards and honors
- 6 Farm system
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Giants had trained in Phoenix since 1947 In 1951, the team swapped spring training sites with the New York Yankees, with the Yankees moving to Phoenix and the Giants training at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was a one-year arrangement and the Giants would return to Phoenix in 1952.
- December 4, 1950: Tom Acker was drafted from the Giants by the Buffalo Bisons in the 1950 minor league draft.
- Prior to 1951 season (exact date unknown)
Outfielder Monte Irvin led the league in RBI with 121. Five players on the 1951 Giants team went on to become major league managers. Eddie Stanky (1952), Bill Rigney (1956), Alvin Dark (1961), Wes Westrum (1965) and Whitey Lockman (1972).
Opening Day lineup
|New York Giants||98||59||--||.624|
|St. Louis Cardinals||81||73||15.5||.526|
After a slow start, the team went 50-12 over their final 62 games to complete one of the biggest comebacks in major league history. In 2001, journalist Joshua Prager revealed that the Giants frequently stole pitch signals from the bleachers over the last few months of the regular season. Bobby Thomson, who would figure prominently in the upcoming playoff, was one of the hitters who chose to receive the signs. At the time, there was no rule in baseball prohibiting sign-stealing.
Dodger pitcher, Preacher Roe, who went 22-3 in 1951, admitted later to Sports Illustrated, that he threw the illegal spitball the entire time he was with the Dodgers.
At the end of the season, they were tied with their arch-rivals, the Dodgers, for first place in the League, prompting a three-game playoff for the pennant. The Giants had home field advantage for the series.
The first game of the series was played at Ebbets Field. Jim Hearn started for the Giants against Ralph Branca for the Dodgers. Monte Irvin and Bobby Thomson homered for the Giants, powering them to a 3-1 win. Andy Pafko hit a home run for the only Dodgers run.
The series moved to the Polo Grounds for game two. Sheldon Jones took the mound for the Giants against the Dodgers' Clem Labine. Jones was pulled in the third inning despite giving up just two runs, one of which was a Jackie Robinson homer. However, the game went downhill from there, as the Dodgers abused relievers George Spencer and Al Corwin for eight more runs, while Labine pitched a six-hit shutout for a 10-0 shellacking. Pafko hit his second homer of the series, while Gil Hodges and Rube Walker added home runs of their own.
Game three was also held at the Polo Grounds. Sal "The Barber" Maglie was on the mound for New York, while Brooklyn called on Don Newcombe. After Maglie walked two batters in the top of the first, Jackie Robinson singled home the game's first run. The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the seventh. In that inning, Monte Irvin led off with a double for the Giants. He was bunted over to third, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Thomson.
In the top of the eighth, the Dodgers came roaring back with three runs off Maglie. A pair of singles, a wild pitch, and two more singles made the score 4-1 Dodgers. Newcombe set down the Giants in order in the bottom of the eighth, while Larry Jansen did the same in relief of Maglie.
The "shot heard 'round the world"
In the bottom of the ninth, Alvin Dark led off with a single, and Don Mueller followed with another. After Monte Irvin popped out to first base, Whitey Lockman lined a double to left-center field, scoring Dark and putting Mueller on third. Dodger manager Chuck Dressen summoned game 1 starter Ralph Branca in to relieve Newcombe, despite having only had one day's rest. On his second pitch, Bobby Thomson drove a pitch to deep left field for a walk-off home run to clinch the pennant for the Giants. This home run, hit at 3:58 p.m. EST on October 3, 1951, came to be known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World".
The phrase shot heard 'round the world is from a classic poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, originally used to refer to the first clash of the American Revolutionary War and since used to apply to other dramatic moments, military and otherwise. In the case of Thomson's home run, it was particularly apt as U.S. servicemen fighting in the Korean War listened to the radio broadcast of the game.
Thomson's homer, and the Giants' victory, are also sometimes known as the Miracle of Coogan's Bluff.
|WP: Larry Jansen (23-11) LP: Ralph Branca (13-12)|
|1951 New York Giants|
Starters by position
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|C||Westrum, WesWes Westrum||124||361||79||.219||20||70|
|1B||Lockman, WhiteyWhitey Lockman||153||614||173||.282||12||73|
|2B||Stanky, EddieEddie Stanky||145||515||127||.247||14||43|
|3B||Thompson, HankHank Thompson||87||264||62||.235||8||33|
|SS||Dark, AlvinAlvin Dark||156||646||196||.303||14||69|
|OF||Irvin, MonteMonte Irvin||151||558||174||.312||24||121|
|OF||Mays, WillieWillie Mays||121||464||127||.274||20||68|
|OF||Mueller, DonDon Mueller||122||469||130||.277||16||69|
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|Thomson, BobbyBobby Thomson||148||518||152||.293||32||101|
|Rigney, BillBill Rigney||44||69||16||.232||4||9|
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
|Jansen, LarryLarry Jansen||39||278.2||23||11||3.04||145|
|Corwin, AlAl Corwin||15||59||5||1||3.66||30|
|Bowman, RogerRoger Bowman||9||26.1||2||4||6.15||24|
Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
|Bamberger, GeorgeGeorge Bamberger||2||0||0||0||18.00||1|
1951 World Series
|New York (N)||2||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||5||10||1|
|New York (A)||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||7||1|
|W: Dave Koslo (1-0) L: Allie Reynolds (0-1)|
|HR: NYG – Alvin Dark (1)|
|New York (N)||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||5||1|
|New York (A)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||x||3||6||0|
|W: Ed Lopat (1-0) L: Larry Jansen (0-1)|
|HR: NYY – Joe Collins (1)|
|New York (A)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||2||5||2|
|New York (N)||0||1||0||0||5||0||0||0||x||6||7||2|
|W: Jim Hearn (1-0) L: Vic Raschi (0-1)|
|HR: NYY – Gene Woodling (1) NYG – Whitey Lockman (1)|
|New York (A)||0||1||0||1||2||0||2||0||0||6||12||0|
|New York (N)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||8||2|
|W: Allie Reynolds (1-1) L: Sal Maglie (0-1)|
|HR: NYY – Joe DiMaggio (1)|
|New York (A)||0||0||5||2||0||2||4||0||0||13||12||1|
|New York (N)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||5||3|
|W: Ed Lopat (2-0) L: Larry Jansen (0-2)|
|HR: NYY – Gil McDougald (1), Phil Rizzuto (1)|
|New York (N)||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||3||11||1|
|New York (A)||1||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||x||4||7||0|
|W: Vic Raschi (1-1) L: Dave Koslo (0-1) S: Bob Kuzava (1)|
Awards and honors
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Sioux City
- "Major Leaguers to Start Spring Training Feb. 20". The Evening Independent. January 19, 1951. p. 14. Retrieved September 22, 2009.[dead link]
- Tom Acker page at Baseball Reference
- Dom Zanni page at Baseball Reference
- Don Taussig page at Baseball Reference
- Willie Mays page at Baseball Reference
- Peterson, Armand. "The Baseball Biography Project: Wes Westrum". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
- Giants Among Men, Jack Cavanaugh, p.7, 2008, Random House, ISBN 978-1-4000-6717-6
- Game 1 box score from Baseball-Reference
- Game 2 box score from Baseball-Reference
- Game 3 Box score from Baseball-Reference
- Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007
- 1951 New York Giants team page at Baseball Reference
- 1951 New York Giants team page at Baseball Almanac