clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The brief history of Giants postseason walk-offs

New, 297 comments

Well, it's not *that* sad. There have been a couple in the new ballpark, at least.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Justin Sullivan

I'm currently working on something for SB Nation about the history of postseason walk-offs, and I was trying to figure out if the Cardinals had more walk-offs per home game than the average team. (Spoiler: no.) While making the list, I found something out: The Giants, for as many postseason games as they've played between New York and San Francisco, have been fairly cruddy at winning in their last at-bat at home.

The Giants have played 175 playoff games, 85 of which were at home. They've walked off in just four of those, or 4.7 percent. The league average over the last 111 seasons is 9.7 percent. We've been cheated about three or four walk-offs.

/starts writing angry letter to the editor

The Giants have played 44 postseason games in San Francisco prior to Game 3, and just two of those were walk-offs (4.5 percent).

/pauses angry letter, wondering if it's really that bad

The Marlins have more walk-off wins over the just the Giants in their 21-year history than the Giants have against anyone in San Francisco postseason history.

/barfs on angry letter

A brief recap of the walk-offs:

1911 World Series, Game 5

The turn-of-the-century Giants were all about boners and muffs, and the biggest bonerer of them all had a hand in this one. In the bottom of the 10th, the Giants led off with a double. Because the ball was made from watermelon rinds and raccoon ears back then, it actually made sense to bunt. Except instead of getting an out, future Hall of Famer Eddie Plank bumgarnered the ball to third and didn't get an out. Fred Merkle then hit a sacrifice fly to win it.

Steven Goldman also gave me some additional context on this:

After the game, home-plate umpire Bill Klem says that Doyle missed the plate when he slid in. The A's didn't notice, didn't appeal, so the run stood up. The A's right fielder Danny Murphy had made a good throw, but Doyle just beat it, I guess, and everyone ran off the field because you know how fans were. It's not just that everyone ran on the field in those days, but that was also how they exited the ballpark. No one remembers that now, but it's a lot easier to open up a gate in the outfield and let everyone walk out the back then have them wandering down ramps.

Connie Mack also didn't want to get murdered. From Glenn Dickey's "The History of the World Series":

I had to consider the moment. I knew that within three minutes, there would be 20,000 shouting fans on the field. The Giants had snatched a victory from us. Had someone then tried to tell the Giants that they had not won the fifth game, I believe they would have torn down the place.

Giants fans: Worst fans in baseball. I'll take it.

1954 World Series, Game 1

The '54 Indians were one of the best regular-season teams ever -- they won 111 games in a 154-game season -- and they were supposed to dominate the Giants. They didn't count on the Polo Grounds being 30 or 40 feet down the right-field line. That's good for home-running, and Dusty Rhodes hit the only walk-off homer in Giants postseason history:


There was also some sort of "catch" in that game, but I didn't watch the whole thing.

2002 NLCS, Game 5


I think I took this one for granted. The Giants were already up 3-1 in the series, and I my inexperienced peabrain figured the Giants would win Game 6 or Game 7, even if they blew Game 5. That's not how it works. It took a decade, but a team actually came back from a 3-1 hole, winning a Game 5 on the road before returning home and winning two more*. The Cardinals totally could have done that. I was stupid to take it for granted.

One thing you rarely hear is Jon Miller's call of that moment, which he nailed, except for an impromptu "The Cardinals are dead!" that he slipped in the middle. It wasn't the best choice of words, even without considering the context, but it was borderline offensive in that situation (unintentionally, of course) considering Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile had passed away earlier that season.

He's probably clear to use the line again this year, though. Only if he wants.

*2012 Giants

2010 NLCS, Game 4


Aubrey Huff got one past a falling Ryan Howard, and Buster Posey sent him to third on a single down the line. Then Juan Uribe was hit on the hand:


If the umpire calls that correctly, maybe Cody Ross hits into a double play in the next at-bat. Maybe the Phillies win in the 11th. Maybe the Phillies don't lose another game. Maybe the Giants panic in the offseason and trade Brandon Belt to the White Sox for John Danks. Maybe the Giants don't win the 2012 World Series, either.

You never know. All we are is dust in the wind. ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND.

That's it. That's the history of postseason walkoffs against the Giants. If you look it up in the other direction, it's a lot uglier.

walkoffs

Sorry. At least Renteria made up for it. And Peckinpaugh directed some pretty cool movies, so that's a wash, too. Benny Agbayani, though, can go

My proposed solution to this inequity: The Giants should have at least one walk-off win over the next three games, possibly two. It's only fair. They've been represented poorly in the grand tradition of postseason walk-offs.

Juan Perez, triple and error. That's my guess. Make it happen, Giants. Twice, if possible. Three times if you're really looking to help us out!

Edit, 10/18: hee hee