The Giants and the Dodgers, it is that easy. This is arguably the greatest rivalry in baseball. These teams have a long history of playing against each other, dating back to 1890, and that fire still burns bright today.
After last night’s game, the Giants hold an 1183-1160-17 advantage over the rival Dodgers. Over the more than 120 years of history between the two ball clubs, there have been a lot of memorable moments. These moments include phenomenal pitching performances, key clutch hits and critical late season wins.
It is a very difficult task to encapsulate the key moments into the very best 10 of all time. Here are those top 10 memories from a completely Giant perspective.
The first San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers game was played on April 15, 1958. The Giants rang in their new home at Seals Stadium in San Francisco with an 8-0 shutout victory. The game was a sellout with 23,448 fans packed into the small house.
Amos “The Hoosier Thunderbolt” Rusie no-hit the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (their name before becoming the Dodgers) in 1891. The Giants won the ballgame 6-0 behind Rusie’s effort.
The Giants put an end to “Fernandomania” and the Dodgers' pennant hopes in 1990 when they swept the Dodgers during the final week of the season.
On December 13, 1956, Jackie Robinson was traded to the Giants. He refused to report and decided to retire than become a San Francisco Giant. This is the only item on this list that is not game-specific, but says a lot about the fierce rivalry.
The Giants and Dodgers tied for first place again at the end of the 1962 regular season, setting up another three-game playoff for the division crown. With less fanfare than the “Shot Heard ‘Round The World”, the Giants made another remarkable comeback in the ninth inning with an identical 4-2 deficit.
This time, the leading run crossed the plate via a bases-loaded walk to Jim Davenport.
Barry Bonds broke the controversial single-season home run record, then held by Mark McGwire, against the Dodgers and the same guy he did his famous pirouette against four years earlier, Chan Ho Park.
Bonds connected for No. 71 in the first inning and followed up with No. 72 in the third inning.
This moment shows how intense this rivalry is between the two teams, especially in the 1960s. On August 22, 1965, Giants pitcher Juan Marichal faced Sandy Koufax in a dream pitching matchup.
Marichal had knocked down two Dodgers batters during the game with inside pitches. As a result, Dodger catcher John Roseboro tried to get Sandy Koufax to retaliate, but Koufax wouldn’t budge. Roseboro then tossed a couple of return throws a little too close to Marichal’s ear.
Marichal then talked back to Roseboro. When Roseboro stood up, Marichal clubbed him over the head with the bat, which started a bench clearing brawl. This was by far the nastiest moment in the history of the rivalry.
In 1982, the Giants, Dodgers and Braves were in a three-team division race. The Dodgers pummeled the Giants 15-4 with only two games left to eliminate them.
However, the Giants got the last laugh as Joe Morgan belted a three-run homer over the right field fence to put them ahead for good on October 3. The game ended with a 5-3 score and was the only time that both teams eliminated each other in the same season.
On September 18, 1997, catcher Brian Johnson hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning to beat the Dodgers and tie up the NL West. The Giants had taken a 5-1 lead at Candlestick Park that day, only for the Dodgers to claw back with two runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh inning.
The late Rod “Shooter” Beck pitched three innings of relief before the Stanford product Brian Johnson led off the bottom of the inning with his famous drive to deep left center.
A side note here is that the previous game involved the famous Bonds pirouette after he hit a first inning home run off Chan Ho Park.
The all-time Giant moment is one that happened before I was born, but has to be the most famous of all time.
The year was 1951 and the Dodgers held a 13.5-game lead over the Giants on August 11th. Brooklyn manager Chuck Dressen dug into the Giants when he said “The Giants is dead!" Led by Willie Mays, the Giants chipped away at that lead and wound up tied at the end of the regular season.
A three-game playoff ensued with the teams splitting the first two games. In the third game, the teams were tied at 1-1 when the Dodgers scored three in the top of the eighth inning. The Giants had already plated one run that inning before Bobby Thomson walked up with two runners on.
He then made history.
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There were some other exciting games that just missed the list. Here is what came close but didn't have muscle to make it:
1) The Giants beat the Dodgers 8-0 in the very first game they played on April 18, 1884.
2) The Giants beat the Dodgers six games to three in one of the first World Series in 1889.
3) The Giants beat the Dodgers on the next-to-last day of the season in 1991 to knock them out of the playoffs.