Home Team: The Turbulent History of the San Francisco Giants

Home Team: The Turbulent History of the San Francisco Giants

Home Team: The Turbulent History of the San Francisco Giants

Home Team: The Turbulent History of the San Francisco Giants


In 1957 Horace Stoneham took his Giants of New York baseball team and headed west, starting a gold rush with bats and balls rather than pans and mines. But San Francisco already had a team, the Seals of the Pacific Coast League, and West Coast fans did not immediately embrace the newcomers.

Starting with the franchise's earliest days and following the team up to recent World Series glory, Home Team chronicles the story of the Giants and their often topsy-turvy relationship with the city of San Francisco. Robert F. Garratt shines light on those who worked behind the scenes in the story of West Coast baseball: the politicians, businessmen, and owners who were instrumental in the club's history.

Home Team presents Stoneham, often left in the shadow of Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, as a true baseball pioneer in his willingness to sign black and Latino players and his recruitment of the first Japanese player in the Major Leagues, making the Giants one of the most integrated teams in baseball in the early 1960s. Garratt also records the turbulent times, poor results, declining attendance, two near-moves away from California, and the role of post-Stoneham owners Bob Lurie and Peter Magowan in the Giants' eventual reemergence as a baseball powerhouse. Garratt's superb history of this great ball club makes the Giants' story one of the most compelling of all Major League franchises.


The Giants’ move from New York to San Francisco has been long overshadowed by an emphasis on the Dodgers and their colorful owner, Walter O’Malley, who masterminded his team’s move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles the same year that the Giants came west. This book widens the focus on West Coast baseball to treat the story of the Giants’ move in its own right, rather than as a footnote to the Dodgers’ story. It also looks at the development of the Giants as a San Francisco team, forging its own history.

The Giants coming to San Francisco involved more than a change in location and an assumption of a new name; it also involved the cultivation of another identity, an important theme in their California story. For all the joy at the beginning of the move, this transition for the Giants was far from easy. Once they settled into their new home and the initial enthusiasm of the relocation had worn off, difficulties arose. After early successes with near misses at league pennants and a World Series championship, there were troubled times, both on the field and at the box office, when attendance slumped so badly that the team almost left town, not once but twice. These periods of ups and downs over the years were indicative of a team struggling with its connection to the city. the story concludes happily, however. the ball club’s fortunes improved dramatically with a move to a new baseball park at the turn of the century; the Giants grew into a stable franchise and became an integral part of the city’s cultural life.

This version of the Giants’ story develops in the form of a biography, not of a human subject but of a team, following a traditional biographical pattern with emphases on the phases of a life: begin-

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