MAY 6, 1937
Dodgers and Giants fans attending afternoon ball games at both the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field are thrilled to have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Hindenberg when it appears over New York nearing the end of its maiden voyage of the season from Germany. A few hours later, the majestic German zeppelin will explode on a landing strip in Lakehurst, N.J. killing 36 of its passengers.
MAY 2, 1928
With the bases loaded and two out in the ninth inning, Giants’ manager John McGraw orders that Dodger rookie Del Bissonette be intentionally walked with the bases loaded by Larry Benton, forcing home a run. The strategy works when Harry Riconda strikes out giving New York a 2-1 victory in the Polo Grounds contest.
MAY 2, 1956
During a game in which 48 players see action, Chicago’s third baseman Don Hoak strikes out a record six times against six different New York pitchers. The Giants outlast the Cubs in the 17-inning Wrigley Field marathon, 6-5.
APRIL 30, 1944
In the first game of a doubleheader split, first baseman Phil Weintraub gets 11 RBIs, and player-manager Mel Ott scores six runs drawing five walks in the Giants’ 26-8 rout of the Dodgers.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 29, 1922
The Giants hit four inside-the-park home runs at Braves Field in their 15-4 rout of Boston. George Kelly hits a pair with Ross Youngs and Dave Bancroft accounting for the other two 360-foot dashes around the bases. (Nationalpastime.com)
JERSEY CITY’S HORACE STONEHAM BELONGS IN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME by Ed Lucas
In a tranquil, sunny corner of Jersey City’s Holy Name Cemetery, on West Side Avenue, you’ll find a memorial with the name “Stoneham.” Not many visitors stop by these days, but for local baseball fans, it’s a name that should ring out through the decades.
Charles Stoneham, who grew up in Newark and served as an altar boy at several Hudson County parishes, owned the New York Giants baseball club from 1919 until his death in 1936. He is buried in his family’s Jersey City plot. Under Stoneham’s watch, the NY Giants became a premiere team in the National League, winning the World Series in 1921, 1922 and 1933.
After Charles Stoneham’s death, his son, Horace, inherited the club. At just 32 years old in 1937, Horace became the youngest owner of a Major League baseball team.
One of the first things he did was to establish a successful minor league Giants franchise in Jersey City, at Roosevelt Stadium, keeping the family’s connections to Hudson County strong. This also ensured generations of Giants fans in Jersey City, many of whom still root for them.
Both versions of the Giants were winners under Horace, who worked in several capacities, including as de facto general manager. He kept them at or near the top of the league.
Unfortunately, attendance at the Polo Grounds and in Jersey City was declining by the 1950s. Fans just stopped showing up, even though both clubs actually won titles in the 40’s and 50’s.
For other owners, this wouldn’t be a major crisis, but for Stoneham it was a disaster. The Giants were his primary business. They were the sole income stream for his family. Fewer tickets sold meant a dip in personal fortunes.
In 1951, the Jersey City club relocated to Ottawa, Canada. The city of New York wasn’t offering assistance in updating the Polo Grounds, either, so Stoneham began looking for a new home for the big club.
Realizing the potential for western expansion in baseball, Horace first explored a move to Minnesota. When that fell through, he was courted by the mayor of San Francisco. He signed the deal to move the Giants to California in 1957, even before the Dodgers signed theirs. Continue reading
APRIL 25, 1937
Cliff Melton becomes to first rookie to fan at least 10 batters in his major league debut, finishing with 13 strikeouts in a complete-game loss to the Braves at the Polo Grounds. The 25-year old southpaw, who loses the contest due to the Giants poor defense in the ninth inning, will hold the rookie record for K’s in his debut until Dodger freshman Karl Spooner whiffs 15 batters in his first major league start in 1954.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 24, 1947
Johnny Mize homers three times against Johnny Sain in the Giants’ 6-2 victory over the Braves at the Polo Grounds. The ‘Big Cat’ becomes the first major leaguer to hit three home runs in one game five different times. (Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 23, 1952
Giant hurler Hoyt Wilhelm homers in his first major league at-bat. In his second big league appearance at the plate two days later he will hit a three-bagger, but during the next 21 years, covering a span 1070 games, the knuckle-balling hurler will never triple or homer again.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 18, 1952
On Opening Day in Brooklyn, Willie Mays is knocked unconscious when he smashes into the Ebbets Field wall after chasing pinch hitter Bob Morgan’s seventh-inning, two-out base-loaded line drive into the gap in left field. All three Dodgers base runners cross the plate, but do not score when the motionless Giants center fielder comes to his feet and jogs into the dugout, apparently unhurt, having held onto the ball after making an amazing catch for the third out to end the inning.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 18, 1955
In his first major league appearance, 25-year old Pirates reliever Al Grunwald, getting just one batter out, gives up a single to Don Mueller‚ a double to Monte Irvin‚ a triple to Willie Mays‚ and a homer to Whitey Lockman. The Giants fourth- inning ‘cycle’ contributes to an eight-run frame in the eventual 12-3 victory over Pittsburgh at the Polo Grounds.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 17, 1912
In front of a larger than usual crowd at the Polo Grounds of over 14,000 patrons that includes Broadway legend George M. Cohan, the Giants beat the new-look Yankees, now sporting pinstripes, in an unscheduled exhibition game, 11-2, to raise money for the survivors of the HMS Titanic. The charity contest, the first Sunday game ever played between major league teams at the Coogan’s Bluff ballpark, raises over $9,000 when each individual fan donates the price of an admission ticket to purchase a special program for the event.