I went camping recently in Northern California with a group of friends. While on the trip, one of the girls told me she was a big San Francisco Giants fan. I smiled. I like women who can drive stick, shoot pool, and watch baseball. I would like nothing more than to find a girl to take to ATT Park and eat peanuts with. The shells would gather at our feet as we took in the game, our bond cementing.
I asked the woman if she was a fan of Will Clark, Matt Williams, Kevin Mitchell. Alas, she had no clue. I think she’d maybe heard of Barry Bonds. Jeff Kent? I’m guessing no. This of course says nothing of the current crop of superstars. I’ll cut the woman some slack, as there were plenty of Angels fans back in 2002 who were unfamiliar with David Eckstein (those Rally Monkeys were cute, granted.)
Still, a true Giants fan knows a little history. The names of Clark, Williams, and Mitchell are only the beginning. The true fan also knows Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, and Bill Terry, who once said of the Dodgers, “Is Brooklyn still in the league?” There’s also John McGraw, the famed manager of the Giants, back when they were in New York, in the early part of the 20th Century. McGraw introduced sign language to the game to communicate with his deaf pitcher, Dummy Taylor. He also once had his team dress in all-black uniforms for a World Series to make them look more intimidating (it worked.) Earlier, following the 1904 season, he refused to face the Philadelphia Athletics of the three-year-old American League and hoisted a banner, declaring his team world champions. They don’t make them like McGraw anymore.
I go as far back as Buck Ewing, who was a catcher for the Giants back in the 1880s and ’90s. Ewing once yelled to a group of fans during a game that it was getting late, time for dinner. He then stole home and won the game.