The Five Greatest Giants Managers
1. John McGraw
When John McGraw arrived in New York for his first day as a player/manager, the Giants were the joke of the National League, having finished in the league's cellar the past four years. Since arrived in the middle of the year, he really couldn't do anything constructive as the team went on losing, finishing dead last in 1902. But the 29-year-old dubbed "Little Napolean" for his diminutive 5'7" 155 lb stature refused to go down quietly. After more than a decade in professional baseball, John McGraw knew his life's calling.
The fiery field general commanded his troops with a voice and stature that defied reality. He was a brilliant strategist, using a platoon system that baffled opposing managers and inspired future managerial greats such as Casey Stengel, a decent enough player who would go on to help define those great Yankees teams of the 1950s. In fact, Stengel used the platoon system to great effect across the East River, winning the World Series seven times in a decade, four more than his mentor won in 30 years.
But Mcgraw was so much more than just a brilliant strategist ahead of his time. He also lucked into some good fortune, such as having the privilege of managing Christy Mathewson, arguably the greatest pitcher of his era. In 1905, Matthewson led the Giants to a World Series title by completing three shutouts over six days. It's absolutely unthinkable today in an era of setups and relievers. But, in those days it was common to test the strength and fortitude of the ace of the pitching staff.
2. Bruce Bochy
Let's get one thing straight, Bruce Bochy only led the Giants to the postseason four times in his 13 years at the helm. However, it's what he did in those years that truly made him a walking legend in San Francisco. However, despite his less-than-stellar regular season record, each of his three World Series titles will weigh heavily in his favor when he is eventually eligible for Cooperstown.
Still, the man knew his pitchers. In the preceding two years before he won his first ring, ace Tim Lincecum won consecutive Cy Young Awards. When the Giants won the World Series in 2010, they were led by an army of arms, Lincecum, Matt Cain and rookie Madison Bumgarner. Two years later, Bochy had the presence of mind to keep Matt Cain on the mound when he was in the midst of the franchise's first perfect game. Later that year, Bochy found a way to motivate his troops to win six straight elimination games in the playoffs on their way to a second World Series title. And finally, two years after that, it was Bochy's gut as well as Bumgarner's inner strength that led the Giants to their third World Series title in five years.
3. Leo Durocher
After a failed but successful run in Brooklyn, Leo Durocher led the Giants through the legendary 1950s. It was during that era, New York owned the major leagues with each club boasting some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Durocher had two of them in Monte Irvin and Willy Mays. Durocher was a part of some incredible moments with the Giants, including Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951. His teams won the National League twice and won the World Series in 1954.
4. Bill Terry
Having been around the Giants and the legendary John McGraw since 1923, first baseman Bill Terry was promoted to player/manager in the middle of 1932, succeeding his old boss. He proved to be a natural, winning the World Series in 1933, his first full year at the helm, and even made his first All-Star Game. He would make two more All-Star Games in the next two years as the Giants' player/manager.
The Giants didn't make the World Series the next two years, but they did something that Bruce Bochy's teams failed to do, they consistently won more than 90 games. They returned to the Fall Classic in both 1936 and 1937 but lost to the surging Yankees.
5. Dusty Baker
Dusty Baker saw a lot are the Giants manager, from the club's final days at Candlestick Park to the opening of what is now known as Oracle Park and the majority of Barry Bonds' illustrious career. Over the years, he became a fan favorite partly because his teams featured Bonds in his prime but also for his quest for his first World Series title as a manager.
Having already won one as a player with the Dodgers decades earlier, Giants fans everywhere shared his pain as his team lost the 2002 World Series after blowing a five-run lead in the eighth inning of Game Six. It would be his last year with the team as he moved on to the Cubs the following year, losing in memorable fashion to the Marlins in the NLCS. It. wouldn't be for another 19 years before he finally won his first ring as a manager. When he won it all with the Astros in 2022, Giants fans everywhere rejoiced for their beloved manager.