With the victory, Wednesday night, by the San Francisco Giants over the Kansas City Royals, in the 2014 World Series, it is time to say what has been on many baseball fans’ minds recently: This current version of the San Francisco Giants, the core of which has been in place since 2010, is one of the greatest teams in the history of Major League Baseball.
Non-Giants fans may roll their eyes, in unison, at the claim, but it is well-founded based on one fact alone: No other National League team has ever won three World Series Championships in the span of five years, going back to 1901, except for the St. Louis Cardinals, back in 1942, ’44, and ’46, during the World War II Era. There’s been a lot of baseball since then.
No one is suggesting that the New York Yankees teams that reeled off championship season streaks in double digits, are being displaced by the Giants. For purposes of this conversation, only those teams who meet the criteria, including the Yankees, the Oakland A’s team of the early 1970’s, the Philadelphia Athletics from 1910-1913, and the Boston red Sox between 1912 and 1916, have won three championships in five years.
There are no statistics involved except the number three, and that refers to the number of rings. No one is going to stack up the lineup from the Big Red Machine, and compare it, position by position, to the current Giants’ lineup. The Cincinnati Reds were good enough to go to the World Series four times in the 1970‘s, winning the title twice, and those two rings are the only criteria being examined.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series three times between 1959 and 1965, a span of seven years. They also went to the Series four times between 1947 and 1953, losing all four series to the Yankees. There are other examples of success, but none that extends to that of the Giants’ success.
Others who employ statistics more enthusiastically may argue that this team had more power, or that team’s pitching was more dominant, but all of those points, whereas valid to a certain degree, still do not measure up to the rate of three championships in any span of five years.
Jul 30, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) looks on during the fourth inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
The success rate is especially revealing when one considers the fact that the expanded playoff format makes it so much more challenging to be able to persevere. The current Giants team, under the management of Bruce Bochy, has won ten consecutive postseason series, counting the one-game Wild-Card tryst with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Their overall postseason record in the World Series speaks for itself, a 12-3 win/loss record, with a .750 win/loss percentage.
Six consecutive victories in elimination games in 2012: Great success.
Their indomitable spirit, winning six consecutive elimination games in 2012, to be able to advance to the World Series, speaks for itself. Finally, the Giants’ unwillingness to give up on one another, which has allowed a roster comprised mostly of homegrown products, to hoist the banner of “team” and “chemistry”, and use it as an explanation for why they are so successful, speaks volumes for itself, in explaining why the Giants must be listed as one of the best teams ever to play the game.
One may argue that one team or another also belongs on the list of greatest teams ever to play, but one may never argue that the San Francisco Giants do not belong.
There’s a big difference you know.