Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#771 San Francisco Giants

*  author's note this one is going to be tricky the first team card...

 Depicted are the 1971 San Francisco Giants who made the divisional playoffs with a 90-72 record beating the Dodgers by one game. They were the first losing team to win a game since the start of divisional series taking the first game 5-4 over the eventual champs Pittsburg Pirates.  The nucleus of the team was a holdover from the teams of 1960’s that was often in a playoff hunt only to fall short (finishing 2nd five times from ’65 to ‘69).  This aging team was in its last hurrah, for in 1972 the Giant would revert to a 69-86 record, 26.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds (the season was 7 games shorter because of a labor dispute).  Attendance almost dropped in half from 71 to 72.  This is was team that needed an overhaul.

About the team card:  This is my first team card, so I have a lot to say.  Here goes…I don’t hate team cards but they are…wasteful.  The picture is too small to discriminate players (although the size of McCovey and distinctive look of Willie Mays can be made out here).  That stats on back have no bearing on the 1971 season (even making the divisional playoffs is not indicated) and this is the case for most of the team cards. 
Then and now… Hitting: Eclipsed batting records are Double (4x’s), total bases, home runs (Barry Bonds 2001)  

Here's a look at 1972 team records compared to Baseball reference.  A key difference is that baseball reference includes records from 1883 on, whereas Topps excludes all records from the 19th century or have a different minimum.
Batting Record in 1972
2013 status on Baseball Reference
Now M Tierman with 147 (1889)
Eclipsed 4 times Jeff Kent is now the leader.
1893 George Davis with 27.
Home Runs
Barry Bonds..insert comment here. Mays 52 hrs is now second.
Total Bases
Now Barry Bonds with 411
Run Batted In
Batting Average
2013 Status
The record is elipsed many times over Wilhelm’s mark.
Complete Games
Whihelm’s .833 is now beat by Felix Rodriquez based on 9-1 record in 2001.

Pitching:  This is a difficult analysis; The Giants have 120 plus years of seasonal records, the nature of pitching has changed massively.  Some statistics have gone a massive change out (games appearances  some not at all (wins, losses, ERA), some records have changed by what Topps or MLB considered criteria at the time.   


  1. Douglas,

    In the 1960s, the backs of the team cards had statistics for the just-completed season. This included a breakdown of each pitcher's won-lost record against each opponent. (Somewhat more relevant than the stats on the team cards of the 1970s.)

  2. In retrospect the card records of expansion teams are informative. I pulled out my 1970 Royals card and the team record at the time was 14, Instead of pennants, the league standing, team batting statistics, and pitching statistics.

  3. Correction: team record at the time was 14 home runs. I need to be more awake when I respond.