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SF Giants: Three of the biggest heartbreaks of past 20 years

Nick San Miguel
ANAHEIM, UNITED STATES: San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker signals for a new pitcher as he relieves Russ Ortiz (3rd L) in the seventh inning of Game 6 of the World Series in Anaheim, CA, 26 October, 2002. The Giants are leading the best-of-seven series 3-2. AFP PHOTO/Lucy NICHOLSON (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, UNITED STATES: San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker signals for a new pitcher as he relieves Russ Ortiz (3rd L) in the seventh inning of Game 6 of the World Series in Anaheim, CA, 26 October, 2002. The Giants are leading the best-of-seven series 3-2. AFP PHOTO/Lucy NICHOLSON (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images) /
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SF Giants manager Dusty Baker signals for a new pitcher during the 2002 World Series. (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images) /

SF Giants heartbreaks: 2002 World Series

This has got to be the biggest heartbreak for the Giants in the past 20 years, and it is not even close. This was a series that the Giants had right in the palm of their hand only to see it slip away. It may only rival Willie McCovey’s caught line drive in the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees for biggest heartbreak in the history of the franchise.

We all know the story, but let’s run through it again. Russ Ortiz had shut down the Angels through 6-1/3 innings. After he gave up two consecutive singles, manager Dusty Baker decided to pull him with the Giants up 5-0.  They only needed eight outs to secure the first championship in their time in San Francisco.

Then, just like in 2016, the bullpen folded in on itself and coughed the game up. The next batter hit a three-run home run, then the Angels tacked on another run in the eighth. Baker made the call to bring in closer Robb Nen, who was dealing with shoulder issues and knew he might be jeopardizing his career.

Nen gave up two-run double, and the Angels held on for the 6-5 victory. The following day the Angels closed out the series with a 4-1 victory in Game 7. It was an awful way to lose a World Series, and the ghosts of 2002 did not begin to dissipate until the championship years made up for past heartbreak.

Heartbreak is a part of being a sports fan, and we as Giants fans can only be thankful that we have been on the right side of the heartbreak more often than not in the past 20 years.

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