Anyhow, the San Francisco Giants probably wish that division play had been in place in 1964. It's tough to win 90 games and finish fourth, as manager Alvin Dark's charges did. They spent 53 days in first place but were not on top from late July onward. The glow was still on the club seven years after their move west from New York, as 1,504,364 rooters helped them finish third in the National League in attendance.
The Giants were a patient and powerful team on offense, leading the N.L. in home runs and walks. Having MVP Willie Mays helped, as he clubbed 47 home runs, drove in 111, and reached base at a .383 clip. Other heavy hitters included corner infielders Orlando Cepeda and Jim Ray Hart, who each went deep 31 times; Cepeda also hit a team-best .304. Mays and Cepeda were All-Stars.
Pitching-wise, San Francisco finished third in ERA at 3.19. Juan Marichal was the ace, with a 21-8, 2.48 ERA, 22 complete game season. Oddly enough, Gaylord Perry was the only other pitcher to start more than ten games and post a winning record (12-11, 2.75). Marichal was the lone Giant pitcher in the Midsummer Classic.
The Giants would be in contention for the rest of the decade with negligible results, notching five consecutive second-place finishes from 1965-1969. They won the N.L. West in 1971, but bowed to the Pirates in the NLCS in four games. They wouldn't reach the World Series again until 1989, and still haven't won it all since 1954.
1964/65 was the height of my 'Giants as my second favorite team' period (preceded by the Phils and succeeded by the Astros). My best friend and his Dad were huge fans of theirs we we saw almost every game they played at Shea and some in Philly.ReplyDelete
They were quite a team. Don't know how they finished 4th in '64.
Looking at the teams they had, it's hard to understand how the Giants weren't able to get over the hump in the 1960s.ReplyDelete
I love the color on this card! The red, black and yellow really looks cool...The Giants in the 60's were like the White Sox of the 60's in that they seemed to be missing that one key piece to turn them into champions...I remember one writer describing Marichals' wind-up as looking like a dangerous piece of farm equipment...if you saw him pitch, you would understandReplyDelete
Bob - 1964 was a tough year to be a contender...just ask the White Sox, Orioles, Phillies, Reds, Giants...ReplyDelete
Matt - No kidding. Three Hall of Famers in the lineup and Marichal at the top of the rotation.
Brox - That's a great description of Marichal, very vivid. The comparison to the Al Lopez White Sox teams is spot-on as well!