Over a century ago the greatest rivalry in the game of baseball was born. May 3, 1890 was the first game between baseball’s most hated rivals. No, this rivalry did not take place between teams from the Bronx or from Boston. Contrary to my friends at ESPN whose east coast myopia causes most baseball fans to be conned into thinking that the Red Sox and Yankees are baseball’s civil war, baseball’s greatest rivalry is truly played between the Glorious Giants and the Despicable Dodgers.
Think I am kidding baseball fans. Ask any real Giants fan how they feel about the Dodgers and their players. Do you remember Wade Boggs riding around Yankee Stadium on the back of the NYPD horse? Do you recall the reaction of the Yankee fans gleefully cheering the former Red Sox great as one of their own? What kind of reaction would any real San Francisco fan have given lets say Ron Cey if he would have brought a World Championship to Candlestick. Giants’ fans would have gleefully tossed things at the Penguin. Things like vulgar insults, cups of beer, half eaten hot dogs and of course back in the day, D cell batteries from the boom box you brought to hear the game on the radio. Now there have been a few to cross over but none were ever accepted as one of ours. The only exception to this of course is good baseball men that were run off by the Dodgers for no good reason, and those baseball expatriates pledged their allegiance to the Orange and Black. (We will have to talk some time about Dodgers running off their own like Dusty and Scioscia).
So let me share a few reasons why this is a real rivalry.
Giants and Dodgers are competitive and play meaningful games in their rivalry. The Giants are .538 team since play began back in 1883 while the Dodgers are 524 since then. The Red Sox are a .517 team since 1901 and the Yankees a whopping .568 team since 1901. How can this be a rivalry of any merit when the Yankees have dominated so much in their series?
The Giants and Dodgers are almost identical when it comes to postseason success. The Giants and Dodgers have six World Series wins the Giants owning 21 NL pennants to the Dodgers 22 NL flags. The So Called greatest Rivalry in baseball, the Yankees 27 World Series winners and 40 AL Championships while the Red Sox have won the World Championship seven times with 12 pennants to show for their efforts. The numbers don’t lie the Giants and Dodgers go back and forth, while the Yankees have clearly showed themselves to be head and shoulders about the
To be a good rival you must play spoiler to your rival over and over again. Giants fans have cheered players like Joe Morgan for knocking the Dodgers out of the playoffs in the 80’s or Rod Beck getting the 1-2-3 DP to win the NL West in 1997 from the Dodgers. And yes Giants fans have seen heartbreak at the hands of the Dodgers as well. History shows over and over again the Yankees knocking out the Red Sox over the years with Boone and Brosius homers coming to mind. And the Red Sox can claim over coming a 3-0 deficit in 2004. So let’s take the biggest moments in the two rivalries. Both were winner take all games. Both were game winning home runs. Now you tell me which was a greater moment in the history of the game, which brings an ear-to-ear smile to the victor and can still cause tears to well up in the eyes of the loser. You tell me what is a bigger moment, Bucky Dent’s corked bat homer that just got over the Green Monster or Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Round the World”
Case closed … Sorry ESPN … The greatest rivalry in baseball is the Giants and the Dodgers.
Michael Tucker vs. Eric Gagne