posted on May, 4 2006 @ 12:48 AM
I've been watching a lot of AL games this year, i've seen two D-Rays/BoSox games both of which were very good(the D-Rays won both). This is going to
be an interesting division to watch, very competitive, if only they'd get rid of the DH.
Dear aegis fang and others,
As I've said many times on here, I've been a Giants fan since I was five years old, which, by a happy coincidence, was the year they became the San
Francisco Giants. The years 1958, 1959 and 1960 were quite a trio of years for them. In 1958, they got a rookie who would later become a
well-deserved Hall of Famer... guy named Cepeda. In 1959, they got an even better rookie... guy named McCovey. Then in 1960, they got a pretty fair
right-handed pitcher... guy named Marichal, whose major-league debut was a one-hitter (shoulda been a 2-hitter, but for a sensational diving catch by
Mays, to end the game), and who posted a string of awesome won-loss records throughout the decade... much better than Gibson's.
As most baseball fans know, the Giants had a real Murderer's Row at the plate for a time, and came in second place like clockwork, back in those days
of 10 teams, only one division, and no "playoffs" except the World Series. The Dodgers nosed them out in 1963, 1965 and 1966, despite having terrible
In 1961, they were 89-65, but 3rd place and 8 games out;
In 1962, they went to the Series and lost in 7 games, on McCovey's do-or-die line drive... right at Bobby Richardson;
In 1963, they were 14 games over .500, but 11 out of first;
In 1964, they were 90-72, and finished in 4th place, but only 3 games out of first (the year of the Phillies legenday collapse)!!
In 1965, they were 95-67, in 2nd place, 2 games out of 1st;
In 1966, they were 93-68, in 2nd place, 1.5 games out of 1st;
In 1967, they were 91-71, in 2nd place, but 10.5 games out of 1st;
In 1968, they were 88-74, in 2nd place, 9 games out of 1st; AND
In 1969, they were 90-72, in 2nd place (in the first year of divisional play), 3 games out of 1st.
OK. That was not just for the hell of it. The Giants of the 1960's were a team as profoundly affected by the lack of a DH as any team ever.
For a period of time, they decided to pretend McCovey was a left fielder. The "thinking," I guess, was that Mays was so great he could cover
everything to McCovey's left, and they could put McCovey near the line. And remember, a lot of the ancient ballparks were still standing, like Forbes
Field, where it was 408 to LF and 457 to deepest LCF.
McCovey, as huge and powerful as he was, with a 6'4" height and the wing span of a condor (nobody would believe he was legit, today), couldn't even
play 1B adequately. He was ATROCIOUS in left field, and no matter what kind of superhuman things you've heard about Mays in CF, and about how he was
so fast he made Tris Speaker and Richie Ashburn look slow, he could not play CF and LF.
Then they tried to pretend Cepeda was a LF. That worked no better. (The Giants got into a pattern of this. Years later, they pretended Dave Kingman
was a LF--a uniquely absurd fantasy--and then pretended Jack Clark was a RF, which was good for two or three laughs or screams per game.)
Eventually, the Giants found themselves compelled to make one of the absolute worst trades in baseball history: Orlando Cepeda for a pitcher named Ray
Sadecki, whose greatest asset probably was that he was a much better hitter than the average pitcher. He was not, however, anywhere near the hitter
So there you have it. This 1960's Giant team came SO close to making repeated trips to the Series. Instead, they made one which ended in defeat by
the narrowest margin of any Series ever--i.e., the direction of a hard-hit line drive, with the tying run on 3rd and the winning run on 2nd (Mays, no
less). Other than that, it was a steady string of 2nd's and 3rd's that drove all of us fans insane.
Suppose we'd had the D.H. Rule back then. If the Giants had had not just Mays and McCovey at 3 & 4, but Mays, McCovey and Cepeda at 3, 4 & 5, is
there any doubt some of those pennant races would have come out differently, with the Giants' murderers' row taking them to SEVERAL World Series,
instead of one Series and all of those frustrating near misses? Hint: NO.
Now, obviously that doesn't mean the rule is a good one. But ya gotta admit that if you were a Giants' fan, and you saw the rule come in when it did,
you would have said, "Why $*#@ing now?!?!"