1951 New York Giants (MLB) season

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1951 New York Giants
National League Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) Horace Stoneham
Manager(s) Leo Durocher
Local television WPIX
(Russ Hodges, Ernie Harwell)
Local radio WMCA
(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.

Offseason[edit]

Spring training[edit]

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.[1]

Notable transactions[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Center fielder Willie Mays made his major league debut in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25.[5] He went on to win the 1951 National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Outfielder Monte Irvin led the league in RBI with 121. Five players on the 1951 Giants team went on to become major league managers.[6] Eddie Stanky (1952), Bill Rigney (1956), Alvin Dark (1961), Wes Westrum (1965) and Whitey Lockman (1972).[6]

In June, future NFL Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli was offered a tryout with the New York Giants. The Giants offered Robustelli a $400 contract to play with Class AA Knoxville.[7]

Opening Day lineup[edit]

Season standings[edit]

National League W L GB Pct.
New York Giants 98 59 -- .624
Brooklyn Dodgers 97 60 1 .618
St. Louis Cardinals 81 73 15.5 .526
Boston Braves 76 78 20.5 .494
Philadelphia Phillies 73 81 23.5 .474
Cincinnati Reds 68 86 28.5 .442
Pittsburgh Pirates 64 90 32.5 .416
Chicago Cubs 62 92 34.5 .403

The comeback[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.

The playoff[edit]

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.

Game 1[edit]

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.[8]

Game 2[edit]

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.[9]

Game 3[edit]

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.[10]

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.[10]

The "shot heard 'round the world"[edit]

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.[10] 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.

Line score[edit]

Polo Grounds

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 4 8 0
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 8 0
WP: Larry Jansen (23-11)   LP: Ralph Branca (13-12)

Roster[edit]

1951 New York Giants
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats[edit]

Batting[edit]

Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
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

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Thomson, BobbyBobby Thomson 148 518 152 .293 32 101
Rigney, BillBill Rigney 44 69 16 .232 4 9

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Jansen, LarryLarry Jansen 39 278.2 23 11 3.04 145

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Corwin, AlAl Corwin 15 59 5 1 3.66 30
Bowman, RogerRoger Bowman 9 26.1 2 4 6.15 24

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Bamberger, GeorgeGeorge Bamberger 2 0 0 0 18.00 1

1951 World Series[edit]

Main article: 1951 World Series

Game 1[edit]

October 4, 1951 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
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: NYGAlvin Dark (1)

Game 2[edit]

October 5, 1951 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
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: NYYJoe Collins (1)

Game 3[edit]

October 6, 1951 at the Polo Grounds in, New York, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
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: NYYGene Woodling (1)   NYGWhitey Lockman (1)

Game 4[edit]

October 8, 1951 at the Polo Grounds in, New York, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
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: NYYJoe DiMaggio (1)

Game 5[edit]

October 9, 1951 at the Polo Grounds in New York, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
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: NYYGil McDougald (1),  Phil Rizzuto (1)

Game 6[edit]

October 10, 1951 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
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[edit]

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Minneapolis Millers American Association Tommy Heath
AAA Ottawa Giants International League Hugh Poland
A Jacksonville Tars Sally League Ben Geraghty
A Sioux City Soos Western League Frank Genovese
B Sunbury Giants Interstate League Charlie Fox
B Knoxville Smokies Tri-State League Jack Aragón
C St. Cloud Rox Northern League Harold Kollar
C Idaho Falls Russets Pioneer League Red Jessen
C Muskogee Giants Western Association Hal Bamberger
D Bristol Twins Appalachian League Russ Wein
D Sanford Giants Florida State League Richie Klaus
D Springfield Giants Ohio-Indiana League Andy Gilbert
D Lawton Giants Sooner State League Ray Baker
D Lenoir Red Sox Western Carolina League Claude Jonnard, Okey Flowers and John Olsen
D Oshkosh Giants Wisconsin State League Dave Garcia

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Sioux City[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Major Leaguers to Start Spring Training Feb. 20". The Evening Independent. January 19, 1951. p. 14. Retrieved September 22, 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ Tom Acker page at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ Dom Zanni page at Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Don Taussig page at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ Willie Mays page at Baseball Reference
  6. ^ a b Peterson, Armand. "The Baseball Biography Project: Wes Westrum". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  7. ^ Giants Among Men, Jack Cavanaugh, p.7, 2008, Random House, ISBN 978-1-4000-6717-6
  8. ^ Game 1 box score from Baseball-Reference
  9. ^ Game 2 box score from Baseball-Reference
  10. ^ a b c Game 3 Box score from Baseball-Reference
  11. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007

External links[edit]