48: 1976, 74-88, 4th NL West
As the calendar turned from 1975 to 1976, nobody was sure if there ever be another season of San Francisco Giants baseball ever again.
Horace Stoneham ran out of money, and he had to sell the team. He nearly sold the Giants to a group from Toronto that was going to move the team north of the border, but San Francisco businessman Bob Lurie stepped in at the last minute and able to delay the deal to the Toronto group long enough put together a deal of his own to buy the team.
The Giants were going to stay in San Francisco. It was a second chance for everybody involved; the fans, the city of San Francisco and the franchise itself. The Giants only drew oner 500,000 fans in each of the previous two seasons. However, due to a city strike in San Francisco, picket lines kept the attendance on Opening Day to 37,261.
Still, 37,261 was the best crowd the Giants drew in three years, as the Giants welcomed in the new season and their hated rivals from down south. The ancient rivalry was another thing that was saved by Lurie’s purchase of the team, because there would’ve been no rivalry between Los Angeles and Toronto. Anyway, despite the non-ideal attendance, it was still a magical day at Candlestick Park, and the Giants beat the Bums 4-2 to cap it off.
It was obvious by May that the Giants weren’t going anywhere, but 1976 didn’t come without its memorable moments. Of course, there was Opening Day, which celebrated the second chance for the San Francisco Giants. Then, there was John “The Count” Montefusco’s no-hitter on Sept. 29 in Atlanta.
Attendance only improved by just over 100,000, as the Giants drew 626,868 fans for the season. The team went 74-88, so unfortunately, not much changed from the two years prior. However, considering that 1976 was nearly the inaugural season of the Toronto Giants, I have a feeling that most fans were pretty grateful for the 1976 season.