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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

49ers-Giants playoff history column

If Sunday’s game is anything like the last time the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers squared off in the postseason, hold on to your chin straps. It’s going to be a wild ride. Sunday marks the seventh time the Giants and 49ers have met in the playoffs. The previous six games have included classic thrillers, nail-biting defensive squeakers and a couple of kick-butt routs. They’ve spanned 30 seasons and included several future Hall of Famers and big-name coaches.… Read More »

Matty Alou, R.I.P.

Two things Giants fans will always remember about Matty Alou, who died Thursday, a month before he would have turned 73: 1. His leadoff pinch-hit single in the top of the ninth inning in the third and decisive 1962 playoff game against the Dodgers started a four-run rally that gave the Giants a 6-4 victory and their first San Francisco NL pennant.   2. His leadoff pinch-hit drag-bunt single in the top of the ninth inning in Game 7 of… Read More »

Giants’ history of World Series hangovers

Since the Giants miraculous entrance into the 1951 World Series via Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning homer, the Giants have had their problems the season after. In 1952, the Giants finished second in the NL to the Dodgers. In 1955, a year after winning the World Series with a four-game sweep over heavily favored Cleveland, the Giants finished third behind the Dodgers and Braves. In 1963, a year after pushing the Yankees to a nail-biting Game 7 in the World Series, the… Read More »

Selective wild-card memory

Giants GM Brian Sabean was briefly in the KNBR broadcast booth during Thursday’s season finale. There was talk about how the Giants, despite their September woes, weren’t going to finish all that far back in the wild-card race. Sabean recalled how in 1998 the Giants were some five games back in the wild-card race with about 10 to go, and then there was talk of the high drama of the one-game playoff for the wild card between the Giants and… Read More »

Pennant-race math

Giants fans who are ready to give up on the 2011 season may want to brush up on their math. Sure, the Giants are now a long, long long shot to win the NL West. But here is a brief history lesson. In 1951, the Giants were six games out of first place with 12 left. They ended up forcing (and winning) a three-game playoff against the Dodgers and earning a trip to the World Series. In 1962, the Giants… Read More »

Soriano is no Big Cat

The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano hit a monster homer — estimated at 445 feet — against the Giants on Tuesday night, one of the longest homers to left field in the 12-years history of AT&T Park. The longest homer to left in the ballpark’s history is believed to be the one hit by the Giants’ Andres Galarraga off Houston’s Roy Oswalt, estimated at 475 feet, on Sept. 18, 2001 — the first day major-league baseball resumed after the Sept. 11 terrorist… Read More »

Giants’ hitting: Echoes of 1985

Just how bad is the Giants’ hitting? It’s the worst. Dead last. El stinko. No matter the description, the numbers don’t lie. The Giants are ranked No. 30 out of 30 major-league teams in runs scored. Considering cellar-dwellers Florida (ranked 22nd), Houston (24th), San Diego (27th), Baltimore (15th), Kansas City (12th) and Seattle (29th) rank higher than San Francisco, it’s amazing the Giants are still, technically, in a pennant race — although the real race may be with the Mariners,… Read More »

Lincecum, Halladay and Nolan Ryan

No question about it, Tim Lincecum has been pitching in rotten luck. He’s 11-10 but his 2.53 ERA should reflect a won-loss record more like Roy Halladay’s 15-5, no? After all, Philadelphia’s Halladay also has a 2.53 ERA. But when it comes to tough luck, when it comes to a stellar ERA not being rewarded with an impressive won-loss record, look at Nolan Ryan in 1987 for the Houston Astros. Ryan’s 2.76 ERA led the National League in ’87. His… Read More »

Ex-SF Giant makes Pro Football Hall of Fame

Spring this trivia question on an unsuspecting friend. What former San Francisco Giant is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? That would be Deion Sanders, of course, inducted in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday. Sanders played parts of nine seasons of major-league baseball, including 52 games for the Giants in 1995 as a center fielder. With the Giants, Sanders batted .285 in 235 plate appearances, with five homers and 18 RBIs, a .346 on-base percentage,… Read More »

Rate the Beltran trade

Of course there is no way to know how the trade for Carlos Beltran will work out for the Giants. The intent is clear: make consecutive postseason appearances for only the second time in the team’s San Francisco history; better yet — become the first NL team to win back-to-back World Series since the 1976 Reds. But fans can still have fun speculating on its potential impact compared to blockbuster deals in the team’s past. How do you think the… Read More »