47: 1977, 75-87, 4th NL West
In 1976, the Giants celebrated their second chance in San Francisco. Then in 1977, the Giants celebrated the return of one of their all-time greats, as Willie McCovey signed back with the Giants in baseball’s first off-season of league-wide free agency.
McCovey was back, and the Giants decided to go with a new look for 1977. They replaced the old and traditional lettering on their jerseys, which had gone from black to orange four years prior, with a cursive script, and they joined many other teams in giving into the fad of colored jerseys with pants that had elastic waistbands. The Giants wore white jerseys at home, and they alternated between orange jerseys with “San Francisco” on the front and black jerseys with the cursive Giants script on the road. No matter where they played, they wore the same white pants with elastic waistbands for every game.
On the field, the Giants were coming off three-consecutive losing seasons coming into 1977, and things didn’t get any better when “Sarge,” Gary Matthews left the team in free agency. Fans hoped the return of Willie Mac would help them return to their winning ways of the 1960s, but unfortunately, that was too much to hope for.
The Giants fell out of contention quite early, but they didn’t fall too far under .500 until the middle of the season. Until July 1, the Giants never fell more than eight games under .500. Nevertheless, the season had already been over long before July 1, and the atmosphere at the Stick was no different than it was in the three years prior. Like the previous three years, very few fans showed up to watch a subpar team in frigid weather.
The Giants went 75-87 when all was said and done, but there were bright spots. Willie McCovey hit .280 with 28 home runs in his first year back in San Francisco, and Bill Madlock, who was traded from the Montreal Expos prior to the season, hit .302.