Name of an NFL
) franchise. Also the name of a major league baseball
franchise from 1883 until 1957, when the team moved to San Francisco
. Below are brief histories of both teams.
New York Giants (football)
The New York Giants football team was founded in 1925, when businessman Tim Mara purchased a franchise in the fledgling NFL (which was started five years earlier). At that time, professional football was often looked down upon and not nearly as popular as college football. The struggling league wanted badly for pro football to be successful in a large market.
Two years later, the Giants went 11-1-1 and defeated the Chicago Bears 13-7 to clinch the NFL championship (there were no playoffs or title games until 1933).
The Giants also won the NFL title in 1934 (beating the Bears in the title game) and 1938 (downing the Green Bay Packers).
After a down period, the Giants won their fourth NFL championship in 1956, destroying the Bears 47-7 in the title game. From 1958-1963, the Giants appeared in 5 of 6 NFL title games, losing all 5. Most notably, in 1958 the Colts beat the Giants 23-17 in overtime, in what has been nicknamed "The Greatest Game Ever Played". Key players during the Giants' success in the '50s and '60s included Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, and Y.A. Tittle.
The Giants would go more than 20 years before appearing in the title game again. In Super Bowl XXI (following the 1986 season), the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39-20, to win their first ever Super Bowl, and 5th total NFL title.
Four years later, the Giants nipped the Buffalo Bills 20-19, winning Super Bowl XXV.
The Giants of the late '80s and early '90s were known for their ferocious defense, led by linebacker Lawrence Taylor, and their ball-control possession offense, anchored by quarterback Phil Simms. Coach Bill Parcells gets much credit for engineering the team's success.
After another lean period, the Giants have returned to prominence in the 2000 season, advancing to Super Bowl XXXV. However, they lost badly to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Giants play in the NFC Eastern Division.
Since 1976, their home stadium has been Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This has been the Giants 5th home field, following stints at the Polo Grounds (1925-1955), Yankee Stadium (1956-1973), the Yale Bowl (1973-1974), and Shea Stadium (1975).
New York Giants (baseball)
The New York Giants baseball club was formed in 1882, when the National League wanted to return to New York, instead of smaller markets. When the league formed in 1876, New York had a team (known as the Mutuals), but financial problems doomed the team after one season.
The team played their games in an upper Manhattan stadium known as the Polo Grounds. Over the years, the Giants would play in several incarnations of the Polo Grounds, all in upper Manhattan.
The Giants were one of the more successful teams in the National League (compiling a 6067-4898 mark in their 75 seasons). They won their first National League championship in 1888, and repeated the feat the next year. This was a decade before the American League became a major league, so there was no World Series.
After a lean period, the Giants returned to the top of the league shortly after the turn of the century. John McGraw became manager in 1902, and was largely responsible for their rise from mediocrity. In 1904, the Giants won the National League by 13 games. However, the team did not take part in the World Series (it has been said their owner feared the possibility of facing the crosstown upstart New York Highlanders, with nothing to gain, so he said earlier in the season that the team would not take part in the World Series).
The Giants repeated as NL champions in 1905, and won the World Series 4 games to 1 over the Philadelphia Athletics.
Over the next 20 years, the Giants would win 8 more National League crowns (1911-1913, 1917, 1921-1924), but were mostly unsuccessful against the American League, losing 6 of those 8 World Series. The Giants had numerous Hall of Famers on their team during that period, including pitcher Christy Mathewson (1900-1916), pitcher Bill Terry (1923-1936), and second basemen Frankie Frisch (1919-1926).
McGraw retired in 1932 (and died two years later), and Terry took over as manager. Terry would lead the Giants to three NL titles (1933, 1936, and 1937) and one World Series win (1933). Hall of Famers that played for the Giants in that period included pitcher Carl Hubbell (1928-1943) and Mel Ott (1926-1946).
The New York Giants had their last period of prosperity in the 1950s under manager Leo Durocher, winning the National League in 1951 and 1954, and capturing the World Series in the latter. 1951 was especially noteworthy in that the Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers ended the season tied. In the deciding game of a three-game playoff, the Giants in dramatic fashion when Bobby Thomson hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 9th inning off of Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca. This homer became known as "The Shot Heard 'Round The World".
Future Hall of Famers on the New York Giants in the 1950s included Willie Mays (1951-1957) and Hoyt Wilhelm (1952-1956).
Team owner Horace Stoneham threatened to move the team if they did not get a new ballpark. When this didn't happen, in 1957 the Giants announced they would be moving to San Francisco (with the rival Brooklyn Dodgers moving to Los Angeles). 1957 was the last season for the club in New York.
The club's legacy today can be seen in the San Francisco Giants and also in the orange of the New York Mets uniforms (the Mets adopted blue and orange as their team colors; the blue for the departed Dodgers and the orange for the departed Giants).
Baseball: "The Ball Clubs" by Donald Dewey and Nicholas Acocella, 1996; www.baseball-reference.com; and other websites
Football: Pro Football Hall of Fame website (www.profootballhof.com); New York Giants team website (www.giants.com); and various other websites.