25 Years of Giant Success

The Giants 2020 season is over, and there's likely mixed response with the end result. But instead of playing Monday Morning Manager or wallowing in self-pity, I thought it would be helpful to remind fans of how truly blessed we've been over the last 25 years.

Now 25 is an arbitrary number, but it lets us take into account expansion and wild cards, eliminate the last Major League Baseball work stoppage, and corresponds nicely with the start of the Brian Sabean era (hired after the 1996 season). I find it especially helpful when comparing across other MLB franchises.

Without further ado, here are some reminders that few fans have had it better over the past 25 years.

Team Success

The last quarter century has seen several runs of great Giants baseball, with as many World Series championships (three) as last place NL West finishes.

From 1997 through 2004 (eight seasons), the Giants played only 11 games without playoff implications. From 2010 through 2016 (seven seasons), the Giants finished second or better in the division every year but once and won three World Series championships.

Here's how the Giants compare to the winningest franchises of the last 25 years:

Team # Wins # Playoffs # Pennants # WS
Yankees 2,319 21 7 5
Braves 2,176 16 2 0
Red Sox 2,165 12 4 4
Dodgers 2,162 13 2 0
Cardinals 2,161 15 4 2
Indians 2,077 11 2 0
Athletics 2,069 11 0 0
Angels 2,057 7 1 1
Giants 2,038 8 4 3
Astros 2,015 11 3 1

While the Giants don't have the most wins, and haven't done a great job of turning winning seasons into playoff appearances, they have the highest conversion rate of playoff appearances into pennants and championships.*

The Giants stay in contention late and capitalize when making the playoffs, which are two things for fans to be extra thankful for.

*I'm excluding the Marlins and Royals here, who have excelled in their five combined playoff appearances, with four pennants and three championships (and possibly counting).

Player Success

Fans can cheer for more than just wins and losses, and the Giants have had a 25 year run of rooting on great players.

From 1996 through 2006, the Giants had at least one winner of an individual postseason award (Cy Young, Gold Glove, Manager of the Year, MVP, Rolaids Relief, Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger), and not a single one of those winners was drafted by San Francisco. Since then, the Giants have an abundance of player hardware from homegrown players who are likely more revered by the fans.

Every team gets at least one All-Star per season, but the other awards are much more selective. Here's a breakdown of the Giants in player awards versus the other franchises mentioned above.

Team # CY # GG # MOY # MVP # ROY # RR # SS Total
Yankees 1 21 2 2 2 8 30 66
Braves 2 26 3 1 3 3 21 59
Cardinals 1 32 2 3 1 0 17 56
Red Sox 3 14 1 2 2 2 30 54
Giants 2 16 2 6 1 0 18 45
Angels 1 16 2 4 2 2 17 44
Dodgers 4 15 1 2 3 4 13 42
Indians 4 17 3 0 0 0 18 42
Astros 3 14 1 1 2 1 16 38
Athletics 1 11 2 2 4 2 3 25

The Giants not only rank #1 in the most prestigious category (MVPs), but have racked up more individual awards than the Dodgers over the past 25 years.

Since the 2020 awards have yet to be announced, the Giants might drop a few places in these rankings, but averaging nearly two individual awards per year is something for fans to cheer about.

Miscellaneous Success

It's easy to forget in a down year that the Giants play in a stadium ranked one of the best in MLB by any ranking you'll find. Since the new park opened, the Giants have drawn 3 million fans in 17 of 20 seasons where fans were allowed (remember when you could attend sporting events?). In only two of those seasons were the Giants not top 10 in attendance (#11 in both years in question).

Perhaps you were unaware that Lou Seal turned debuted in 1996, so he's been a part of Giants tradition during each of the last 25 years. For what it's worth, USA Today ranked Lou #6 among all MLB mascots, so he must be doing something right.

There's also the blessing of getting to enjoy two Giants legends in the broadcast booth (does any other team have a former player doing play-by-play?) that won back-to-back best local announcer championships by Awful Announcing.

Oh, and the last 25 years included a single season and career home run chase, five Giants no hitters, and the first female announcer and coach in MLB history (ok, the announcer debuted in 1993, but she was still the only one by 1996).

So Giants fans, cheer up about the end of the 2020 season. We didn't just have a great decade; it's been an amazing 25 years and I don't think any fanbase would trade places with us right now.

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