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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

Before La Russa, there was Johnny Keane

It was reported, correctly, that Tony La Russa became the first manager to retire immediately after winning a World Series. But in 1964, Cardinals manager Johnny Keane quit immediately following St. Louis’ seven-game World Series victory over the Yankees. The Cardinals had been 6½ games behind the first-place Phillies (there were no divisions; only the first-place teams in each league advanced to the World Series) with 13 games left. Cardinals management began openly discussing firing Keane after the season. Then… 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 »

Dick Williams, R.I.P.

Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams died Thursday at 82.  Williams has to hold a special spot in the memories of old-school Oakland A’s fans. When he guided the A’s to the 1972 World Series championship, it was the first major pro sports title in the Bay Area. Then he did it again in 1973. He was the only manager to work for irascible owner Charlie Finley for more than two consecutive seasons. But Williams did something else even more… Read More »

Jose Pagan, R.I.P.

Old-time Giants fans have no trouble recalling Jose Pagan, who died Tuesday at 76. Pagan broke in with the Giants in 1959, the team’s second season in San Francisco.  By 1961, he was the regular shortstop. In the 1962 World Series, a heartbreaking seven-game loss to the Yankees, Pagan batted .368, with a .400 on-base percentage. He was traded to the Pirates in 1965, and in 1971 drove in what would be the deciding run in Pittsburgh’s Game 7 World… Read More »

Bay Bridge World Series in 2011?

We’ve had only one Bay Bridge World Series, in 1989, but four other times both teams made the playoffs and therefore gave us the potential for others. 1971. Giants won the playoff opener against Pittsburgh, but then lost three in a row. The A’s were swept in three games by Baltimore. 2000. Giants again won the playoff opener, this time against the Mets, but again lost three in a row. The A’s lost Game 5 of the five-game playoff series… Read More »

The defending World Series champion Giants

Giants fans should hope history doesn’t repeat itself. The last time the Giants entered a season as the defending World Series champions was 1955, when they were still the New York Giants. They had swept the heavily favored Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series and entered ’55 with essentially the same team. The results weren’t quite the same. The 1955 Giants were never in first place, never really contended for the NL pennant and finished third in an eight-team… Read More »

All-time favorite Giants games

What are your all-time favorite Giants games that you’ve seen in person? Let me know. Here are mine: 1. Oct. 27, 2010. Game 1 of the World Series. Watching a Giants game with KNBR’s Brian Murphy is always an exercise in life-affirming camaraderie, but this was transcendent. Brian, a mad genius of a heckler, told Bengie Molina that he still loved him but he would “inevitably” hit into a rally-killing double play, asked Bad Vlad to identify that strange piece… Read More »

The Giants, the Series and the Detroit Lions

It’s one thing to say the Giants haven’t won the World Series since 1954, when they were the New York Giants. It’s quite another to realize just how long ago 1954 was, and I don’t mean merely the math part of it — 56 years. How long ago was 1954? The Detroit Lions, led by quarterback Bobby Layne, were the two-time defending NFL champions.

The Giants, the Series and Viet Nam

It’s one thing to say the Giants haven’t won the World Series since 1954, when they were the New York Giants. It’s quite another to realize just how long ago 1954 was, and I don’t mean merely the math part of it — 56 years. How long ago was 1954? It was the year in which there was a major turning point in the war in Viet Nam as a major imperial power withdrew. The major imperial power was France.