Most people probably wouldn’t expect an 80-81 season to be ranked as the seventh-worst season for the San Francisco Giants, but most people may not remember that like 1992, 1975 was almost the last year for the Giants in San Francisco.
After 14-straight winning seasons to kick off their time in San Francisco from 1958 to 1971, the San Francisco Giants, and especially owner Horace Stoneham, fell on hard times in the early 1970s.
Candlestick Park was renovated and enclosed to accommodate the 49ers, and Stoneham unloaded the three faces of the franchise in Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal. In 1974, the Giants drew their worse attendance since World War II, as they only drew more than 20,000 fans twice the entire season.
Like 1974, the Giants got off to a .500 start, but unlike 1974, the Giants were a .500 team the entire season. However, despite the better play on the field, the season was pretty much dead when the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati pulled away at the end of June.
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The Giants ended up going 80-85, and 1975 season had its moments. The season was really highlighted when Ed Halicki threw a no-hitter against the Mets on Aug. 24 at The Stick. However, that Sunday was one of only three times the entire season that the Giants would draw a crowd over 20,000.
Attendance barely improved, as the team drew just 522,919 fans for the season, which was only 2,932 more than 1974, which saw a triple-digit crowd for a game in September. 1975 included two three-digit crowds.
I know what you’re thinking; 80-81 isn’t that bad. Well, Stoneham was pretty much out of dough at that point, and he needed to sell the team. Behind the scenes Stoneham was working to sell them to a group in Toronto that would move the team north of the border.
This was not as memorable as when the Giants nearly moved to the Tampa Bay Area at the end of 1992, but this came much closer to happening than the move to St. Petersburg. It literally came down to the eleventh hour in January 1976, but San Francisco’s new mayor, George Moscone intervened and threatened to sue the National League if it approved the sale.
Moscone got an injunction, and he got businessman Bob Lurie, who had been a part of the Giants’ ownership group, to put together his own group and buy the team.
1975 wasn’t the worst season for the Giants in San Francisco, but it was nearly the last, and that’s good enough (or bad enough) to rank it as the seventh-worst season of San Francisco Giants baseball.