|First contested||May 3, 1890
Washington Park (I), Brooklyn, NY
|Most recent meeting||June 21, 2015
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
|Next meeting||August 31, 2015
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
|Number of meetings||2,423|
|Regular season series||1,219–1,187–17, Giants|
|Largest victory||18 runs:
26–8, Giants (April 30, 1944)
20–2, Giants (Sept. 10, 1938)
20–2, Giants (May 6, 1903)
|Longest win streak|
|Current win streak||1, Dodgers|
The Dodgers–Giants rivalry is a sports rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants baseball teams of Major League Baseball (MLB). It is regarded as one of the most competitive and longest-standing rivalries in American baseball, with some observers considering it the greatest baseball rivalry of all time.
The rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants began in the late 19th century when both clubs were based in the New York City area. The Dodgers played in Brooklyn (then a separate city, before being incorporated as a borough of Greater New York in 1898) and the Giants played at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan. After the 1957 season, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley decided to move the team to Los Angeles for financial and other reasons. Along the way, he managed to convince Giants owner Horace Stoneham (who was considering moving his team to Minnesota) to preserve the rivalry by bringing his team to California as well. New York baseball fans were stunned and heartbroken by the move. Given that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have long been competitors in the economic, cultural, and political arenas, the teams' new homes in California became fertile ground for the rivalry's transplantation.
Each team's ability to endure for over a century while leaping across an entire continent, as well as the rivalry's growth from a cross-city to a cross-state engagement, have led to the rivalry being considered one of the greatest in sports history.
Unlike many other historic baseball match-ups in which one team remains dominant for most of their history, the Dodgers–Giants rivalry has exhibited a persistent balance in the respective successes of the two teams. While the Dodgers have won the National League West eleven times compared to the Giants' eight since the beginning of the Divisional Era in 1969, the Giants have more total wins, head-to-head wins, largest victory, longest winning streak, more National League pennants, and World Series titles in franchise history. Each team has advanced to the postseason as the wild card twice, the Giants most recently in 2014. The 2010 World Series was the Giants' first championship since moving to California, while the Dodgers' last title came in the 1988 World Series.
Origins and early years
In the 1880s, New York City played host to a number of professional baseball clubs in the National League and the American Association. By 1889, each league had but one representative in New York—the Giants and Dodgers—and the teams met in an early version of the World's Championship Series in which the Giants defeated the Dodgers 6 games to 3. In 1890, the Dodgers switched to the National League and the rivalry was officially underway.
Although the two teams were natural (geographically proximate and National League) rivals anyway, the animus between the two teams runs deeper than mere competitiveness. Giants fans were seen as well to do elitists of Manhattan while Dodger fans tended to be more blue collar and had more newly arrived immigrants as fans due to what was then the working class atmosphere of Brooklyn. In 1900, a year in which the Dodgers won the pennant and the Giants finished last, Giants owner Andrew Freedman attempted to have the National League split all profits equally, irrespective of the teams’ individual success or failure. In the early 1900s, the rivalry was heightened by a long-standing personal feud (originally a business difference) between Charles Ebbets, owner of the Dodgers, and John McGraw, manager of the Giants. The two used their teams as fighting surrogates, which caused incidents between players both on and off the field, and inflamed local fans' passions sometimes to deadly levels. In 1940, umpire George Magerkurth was brutally beaten during a game by an enraged Dodger fan ostensibly for making a pro-Giants call, and the rivalry is said to have been the motive for at least one fan-on-fan homicide, in 1938, and another in 2007 within close proximity to AT&T Park in San Francisco. Future Dodger manager Joe Torre recalled how he felt threatened being a Giants fan growing up in Brooklyn in the series. During the latter years for both teams in New York, players often engaged in purposeful, aggressive, physical altercations. In 1965, Giants pitcher Juan Marichal knocked Dodger catcher John Roseboro in the head with a bat.
A long and balanced history
Since 1901, the Giants and Dodgers have played more head-to-head games than any other two teams in Major League Baseball. In their 2,356 meetings (seasons 1901 through 2012), the Giants have won 1,190 games and the Dodgers have won 1,166. The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cardinals rival Chicago Cubs (in games versus each other) are very close behind in head-to-head tallies from 1901 onwards. In total (1890–2011), they have played 2,346 games against each other.
2010's results continued to reflect the closeness in the rivalry as the Giants won the season series 10 games to 8.
If ranked by the number of all-time MLB wins by franchise, the Giants (10,463 wins) and Dodgers (10,157 wins) are number 1 and 3, respectively, number 2 being the Chicago Cubs (10,261 wins). What is notable about the rivalry is not only the balance between the teams but also how both have often played meaningful games late in the year. Since 1951, the Giants and Dodgers have finished 1-2 11 times, and in 3 other years were within several games of both first place and each other. Just as important is the role one team has played as spoiler to the other in the years when they were not directly competing in a pennant race.
The New York Giants won the 68-year series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, 722–671. But since relocating to the West Coast in 1958, the Dodgers are ahead in the 945 games played between the two teams as of 2011[update], 487–458.
On July 14, 2005, the Giants became the first professional sports team to win 10,000 games with a 4–3 win over the Dodgers.
Two Dodgers benefited from controversial calls against the Giants to keep streaks alive that continue to be Major League Records. In 1968, Don Drysdale set the current record for consecutive complete game shutouts (6) with a call against Dick Dietz for not attempting to avoid a bases loaded hit by pitch. In 1988, Orel Hershiser established the current record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched (59) with the benefit of an interference call against Brett Butler for breaking up a double play.
Pennant race drama
- One of the most famous pennant races in history is that of 1951. The Dodgers held a 13 1⁄2-game lead over the Giants as late as August 11. Led by rookie Willie Mays, however, the Giants charged through August and September to catch and pass the Dodgers. The Dodgers rallied to win the final game of the season, tying the Giants for first place and necessitating a three-game playoff for the pennant. The Giants won the first game, the Dodgers the second, with the Giants taking the tie-breaking third game with a dramatic ninth-inning home run by Bobby Thomson, a play known as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.
- In 1959, the Giants led the Dodgers by three games as late as September 6. However, a late-year three-game sweep of the Giants both eliminated San Francisco from contention and allowed the Dodgers to catch the Milwaukee Braves, whom they defeated two games to none in a three-game playoff en route to winning the World Series. This inaugurated the tight pennant races between the two teams in the 1960s, in which the Giants and Dodgers finished no further than four games apart from each other and first place four times through 1966. In 1965, the Giants went on a 14-game winning streak in early September to take a 4½-game lead, but the Dodgers responded with a 13-game winning streak and won 15 of their final 16 games to beat out the Giants by two games. In 1966, a three-way race between the Dodgers, Giants, and Pirates came down to the last day of the season. The Dodgers went into the second game of a doubleheader with the Phillies ahead of the Giants by one game. Had the Dodgers lost, the Giants would have been ½ game out and would have had to fly to Cincinnati to make up a game that had been rained out earlier in the season. If the Giants won that game, they would then have met the Dodgers in a playoff. But the Dodgers won the second game in Philadelphia to win the pennant by 1 1⁄2 games. In 1971, the Dodgers rallied from a 6½-game September deficit to get within a game of the National League West-leading Giants with one game to play. But while the Dodgers were defeating the Houston Astros, the Giants beat the San Diego Padres to win the division.
- The closest finish came in 1962, when the Dodgers, battling injuries and a hitting slump, blew a late lead, producing a Giants-Dodgers tie atop the National League standings at the end of the regular season, just as in 1951. In the ensuing three-game playoff for the pennant, the Giants again took two out of three, with the deciding blow being four runs by the Giants in the ninth inning (as the visiting team this time) to take the series and the pennant. This would prove to be the last best-of-three tiebreaker, as both leagues now use a single-game tie-breaking format. As with 1951, that playoff win turned out to be the Giants' high-water mark of the season, as they lost the World Series to the New York Yankees on both occasions. During the season, Dodgers fan and Brooklyn native Danny Kaye had released a comic song called "D-O-D-G-E-R-S" which portrayed a fanciful game between the two clubs, featuring a miraculous comeback by the "Flatbush Refugees". In the last line, Kaye asked, "Do you think we'll really win the pennant?" The answer turned out to be "No", although they would win the World Series the following year.
- The Dodgers brutally returned the favor in 2004. After virtually every other reliever in the Giants bullpen had attempted to preserve a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, several walks and an error set the stage for Steve Finley's dramatic grand slam off of Wayne Franklin, which clinched the division title for the Dodgers. Even with the wild card still up for grabs, this proved disastrous for the Giants – despite ace Jason Schmidt's fine performance in a 10-0 rout over the Dodgers the following day, an Astros win during the game eliminated the Giants entirely from playoff contention. Had the Giants maintained their lead in the previous game and Schmidt performed similarly, the Giants would have forced a one-game playoff in San Francisco between the Giants and Dodgers for the division crown. Ironically, Finley would play for the Giants in 2006.
- In 2014, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers shut down the Giants 5-1 late in the season, giving the Dodgers their second straight NL West crown. Of the 19 games played between the two teams that year, Kershaw and fellow starter Zack Greinke had gone a combined 8-0 against the Giants, resulting in a record of 10–9 and the Dodgers' first season series victory over the Giants since 2009. The Giants qualified for the playoffs two days later, earning the NL's second wild card. However, the Dodgers were eventually eliminated by the Cardinals for the second straight year in their NLDS, after which the Giants defeated the Cardinals in the NLCS and ultimately won the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, winning their 10th straight postseason series victory (including the NL wild card game) and third World Series in five years.
When not tied for first during the last few days of the season, both teams have a long and storied history of eliminating their rival from playoff contention.
- Prior to the 1934 season, Giants manager Bill Terry was asked his opinion of various teams for the upcoming campaign, including the Dodgers. His response of "Are they still in the league?" was to prove provocative. While the Dodgers struggled, the Giants found themselves tied with the St. Louis Cardinals atop the National League with two games left to play, and facing the sixth-place Dodgers for a two-game series in Brooklyn. Despite winning 14 of 22 from the Dodgers that year, the Giants lost those last two to the "Flatbush spoilers" and the pennant to the Cardinals, who won their final two games.
- In 1980, the Dodgers blew an eighth-inning lead at San Francisco in the last game of the second-to-last series of the year. This loss dropped the Dodgers three games behind the Astros and cost them the chance to win the National League West division outright when they swept Houston in the final three games of the year. Instead, they were forced to play the Astros in a one game playoff – which they lost.
- In 1982, the Dodgers and Giants were tied for second in the NL West, both one game behind the Atlanta Braves, as they faced each other in the final three games of the year. The Dodgers won the first two games 4-0 and 15-4 to eliminate the Giants, but then the Giants knocked the Dodgers out of the pennant race on the season's last day on an eighth-inning three-run home run by Joe Morgan, winning the game 5-3. Thus, the Braves finished first by one game.
- The Giants did it again in 1991, as the Dodgers finished one game behind the Braves after dropping two of three in San Francisco over the final weekend. Trevor Wilson tossed a complete game shutout on the day in which the Dodgers were eliminated.
- The Dodgers responded in kind in 1993, as two Mike Piazza home runs and a dominant complete-game performance by Kevin Gross resulted in a 12–1 walloping on the final day of the season that kept the 103-win Giants out of the playoffs in what many consider the last true pennant race (before implementation of the wild card). True to the balanced spirit of the rivalry, despite winning the first three games of that four-game series in Los Angeles, the Giants were unable to sweep the Dodgers at their home park in a four-game series for the first time since 1923, and the Braves won the division by one game. Coincidentally, Piazza's 1993 heroics occurred on October 3, a date which until then had featured two pennant-clinching Giant victories over the Dodgers (1951 and 1962) and one dramatic elimination of their arch-foe (1982).
- In 1997, a late September two-game sweep of the Dodgers at Candlestick Park highlighted by Barry Bonds' twirl after a home run in the first game and Brian Johnson's heroic home run in the bottom of the 12th in the second tied the Giants with the Dodgers for first place and eventually propelled them into the playoffs. The impact on both organizations was significant; Fred Claire, who was then general manager of the Dodgers, said "those two days have stayed with me for the last 10 years," and Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke argued that "it led to an organizational upheaval...(from which) (i)t has taken the Dodgers nearly a decade to recover." In contrast, the Giants' run from 1997 through 2003 produced the most playoff appearances in that stretch for the franchise since the 1930s.
- The Dodgers have done their best to return the favor, however. In 2001, the Giants finished two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks as the Dodgers took two of the final three games of the year in San Francisco, despite Barry Bonds' record of 73 home runs in the season. In the first game of the series, Bonds hit his record-breaking 71st home run of the season off Chan Ho Park, but the Dodgers won the game, thereby enabling Arizona to clinch the division title and eventually, the World Series.
- In 2012, the Dodgers and Giants met in the final series of the regular season. The Dodgers took 2 out of 3, but their 4–3 loss in game 2 of the series eliminated them from wild-card contention, giving the lower wild-card seed to St. Louis. The Giants went on to win the World Series.
All of these events and their associated quirks and symbols are relished by the fans of these two teams.
In a unique case of the rivalry playing out "indirectly," some New York Mets fans in their championship season of 1969 who happened to have been Brooklyn fans in years past, took vicarious pleasure in the Mets knocking the Chicago Cubs out of the pennant race after the Cubs had been in first place for much of the summer. The Cubs were managed by Leo Durocher, whose Giants had done likewise to the Dodgers in 1951, while the Mets were managed by old Dodgers favorite Gil Hodges.
Pennants and championships
The Dodgers won the National League pennant 12 times in Brooklyn, and 9 times in Los Angeles. The Giants won the National League pennant 17 times in New York and 6 times in San Francisco.
When the teams were based in New York, the Giants won five world championships, the Dodgers one. After the move to California, the Dodgers have won five, the Giants three. In both New York and in California, all of one team's world championships preceded the other's first one in that region to date. The Giants' five world championships won in New York preceded the Dodgers' only one in Brooklyn, in 1955. The Dodgers' five world championships won in Los Angeles preceded the Giants' first one in San Francisco, in 2010. All six of the Dodgers' world championships are sandwiched by the Giants' final world championship in New York (1954) and their first in San Francisco (2010).
Since 2000, the Giants have advanced to the postseason six times, the Dodgers, five. In that time, the Giants made first-round playoff appearances in 2000 and 2003, won a National League pennant in 2002, and won the 2010 World Series, 2012 World Series and the 2014 World Series. The Dodgers have made first-round playoff appearances in 2004 and 2006, and made NLCS appearances in 2008, 2009, and 2013. However, the Dodgers have failed to win a pennant since their championship season of 1988.
Ardent fans of each club would be likely to consider the other as their "most hated" rival, enjoying the other team's misfortune almost as much as their own team's success. A typical Giants fan may just as soon ask "Did the Dodgers lose?" as they would "Did the Giants win?" and vice versa. This view is supported by the consistently solid attendance figures for Giants-versus-Dodgers games at both home fields, and increased media coverage as well. A good example of this is that during the final 3 game Dodger-vs-Giants series in 1991, the Giants drew over 150,000 fans. The attendance for these 3 games represented almost 1⁄10 of their total fans (1.7 million) for the entire 81 game home schedule, and prompted at least one reporter on ESPN to wonder if the euphoria in the Bay Area following the games reflected a delusion that the Giants had won the World Series rather than simply knocking the Dodgers out. In 2009, Forbes rated the Giants-Dodgers rivalry the most intense rivalry in baseball due to its lasting competitiveness through the 20th century and both fanbases' willingness to be overcharged for Dodgers-Giants game tickets with a ticket markup of 44% for the 2008 season.
During games in Los Angeles, Dodger fans will chant "Giants Suck" when the Giants are in town (and used to chant "Barry Sucks," referring to former Giant outfielder Barry Bonds, often even when Bonds was not at bat or involved in a defensive play). In San Francisco, Giant fans will chant "Beat L.A." and "Dodgers Suck". A recent expression of the these feelings was the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco, where the three Dodger All-Stars (catcher Russell Martin and pitchers Brad Penny and Takashi Saito) were roundly booed by partisan fans throughout the festivities. During the final rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, held at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, Dodger infielder Hanley Ramirez, competing for his home country, the Dominican Republic, was consistently booed at every appearance and whenever his name was mentioned on the public-address system.
The rivalry extends beyond the fans to the players. Jackie Robinson retired rather than report to the Giants after being traded to them by the Dodgers in December of 1956. According to legend and his teammate Tommy Lasorda, he did so because he had come to hate the Giants after ten years in Dodger Blue. This notion has been challenged on the grounds that Robinson would have been 38 years old when the new season began, and simply decided to retire. Nevertheless, in a gesture that transcends this heated rivalry, Robinson's retired blue Dodger numeral '42' hangs in the Giants' home ballpark, AT&T Park, just as it does at all other MLB ballparks in remembrance of Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Like Robinson, Willie Mays refused to sign with the Dodgers after the 1972 season, and was traded to the New York Mets, the National League successor to both the Giants and Dodgers in New York. Cy Young award winners Tim Lincecum of the Giants and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers have helped keep the rivalry alive in recent years, as both have been the anchors of their respective teams' postseason rotations since 2010.
Both teams play in the National League Western Division, and due to the unbalanced schedule, play 19 head-to-head games each year. This is comparable to the 22 games each year that they faced each other in New York and Brooklyn.
Possibly the most notorious incident between these two clubs occurred August 22, 1965. In a game at Candlestick Park, Giants pitcher Juan Marichal hit two Dodgers batters with brushback throws. Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax disliked retaliation and only threw a very high pitch over the head of Willie Mays as a response. When Marichal came up to bat later, Koufax apparently had no interest in retaliation directly against Marichal. However, Marichal felt that Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro was interested, as he claimed Roseboro was returning Koufax's pitches dangerously close to Marichal's head. Subsequently, Roseboro clipped Marichal's ear with a throw after dropping the ball on the ground. Without saying a word, Marichal (#27) hit the Dodgers catcher on the head with his bat. A bench-clearing brawl ensued. Giants infielder Tito Fuentes (#26) also threatened to wield a bat, but did not use it. The fight was broken up by peacemakers Willie Mays of the Giants and Koufax of the Dodgers. Mays helped the badly bleeding (but not severely injured) Roseboro off the San Francisco field. Roseboro and Marichal eventually became close friends up until Roseboro's death in 2002. Marichal spoke at his funeral. Actor and performance artist Roger Guenver Smith performed his one-man show on the incident, "Juan and John," at the Public Theater in Manhattan in December 2009. Roseboro's daughter, Morgan Fouch Roseboro, attended the debut.
In the 1981 season as a member of the Dodgers, Reggie Smith was taunted by Giants fan Michael Dooley, who then threw a batting helmet at him. Smith then jumped into the stands at Candlestick Park and started punching him. He was ejected from the game, and Dooley was arrested. Five months later, Smith joined the Giants as a free agent.
Giants fan Marc Antenorcruz was shot and killed by Dodgers fan Pete Marron on September 19, 2003, in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, following a late-season Dodgers-Giants game. Marron was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison. A second defendant, Manuel Hernandez, pled no contest to voluntary manslaughter and had his 15-year sentence suspended.
There has also been Opening Day violence between the two teams' fans at Dodger Stadium. In 2009, Arthur Alverez, a reputed gang member, went to the Dodgers’ home opener with a couple and another man. After the game, Alverez and the other man, a Dodger fan, began quarreling in the stadium parking lot. Alvarez stabbed the 30-year-old victim several times in the arm, back, and torso. He was arrested in May for suspicion of attempted murder, held on bail for $55,000, and was expected to be tried on May 4, 2009. The trial by jury, held in August of that year, accepted Alvarez's plea of self-defense and acquitted him on the charge of attempted murder.
Bryan Stow beating
On March 31, 2011, a 42-year-old Giants fan, Bryan Stow of Santa Cruz, California, was critically injured when he was attacked by two Dodgers fans in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the Dodgers and Giants opened the 2011 season. The suspects subsequently fled the scene in a vehicle driven by a woman. Stow, a paramedic and father of two, sustained severe injuries to his skull and brain and was placed into a medically induced coma after the incident. An early suspect, a 31-year-old man was arrested in his East Hollywood home by SWAT officers in May 2011 in connection with the crime. The man was never formally charged and was declared innocent in July 2011 when Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, of Rialto, were arrested and charged in the crime. Lawyers for Stow say his medical care is expected to cost more than $50 million. On May 24, 2011, Stow's family filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers for $37.5 million for his lifetime care and compensation of lost earnings.
On September 27, 2011, relatives reported that Stow showed signs of improvement and even went outside for the first time in six months. Stow began an intensive therapy program in the Rehabilitation Trauma Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on October 11, 2011. Doctors have told his family that he will never fully recover. On December 19, 2011, NBC aired the interview with Bryan Stow on the program Rock Center with Brian Williams. On October 25, 2012, he attended Game 2 of the 2012 World Series at AT&T Park against the Detroit Tigers.
In April 2013, Stow's insurance company stopped paying for his full-time care in a residential rehabilitation facility and he moved into his parents' home in Capitola, California. Stow returned home on June 13, 2013 for the first time in two years since the attack.
On February 20, 2014, Sanchez and Norwood pled guilty. Under the plea bargain, Sanchez was sentenced to eight years in prison for felony mayhem and Norwood received four years for felony assault. On July 9, 2014, a jury found the Dodgers organization negligent in Stow's beating. The jury awarded $18 million in damages to Stow; the Dodgers are responsible for one quarter of this total. The remaining amount is to be split between Sanchez and Norwood.
Death of Jonathan Denver
On September 25, 2013 at 11:30 pm, a Dodger fan was stabbed to death in front of his father and brother six blocks from AT&T Park, at Third and Harrison streets. The San Francisco medical examiner's office identified the deceased man as Jonathan Denver, 24, of Fort Bragg, California.
Two people were arrested in connection with Denver's death after the Giants' 6-4 win over Los Angeles, according to San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. Suhr told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier that the victim of the attack was a Dodgers fan and was wearing Dodgers gear.[not in citation given] Michael Montgomery, 21, of Lodi was arrested on suspicion of murder. Montgomery was later released, prosecutors citing insufficient evidence to charge him. His father claimed the stabbing was done in self-defense.
According to the official Dodgers Twitter account, Jonathan Denver was the son of a Dodger Stadium security guard.
On March 12, 2014, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said that his office could not prove that Michael Montgomery did not act in self-defense when he stabbed Denver. According to Gascón, both Denver and his brother collectively weighed about 150 pounds more than Montgomery. According to witnesses, Montgomery had a bottle in his hand for self-defense while Denver was punching him. After Denver's brother grabbed an aluminum chair and hit Montgomery on the head with it, Montgomery dropped the bottle, took out a knife, and stabbed Denver. San Francisco prosecutors ultimately declined to file charges in connection with the case.
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