The San Francisco Giants are one of the oldest teams in the history of American sports. Winners of 21 National League pennants, the Giants have appeared in the World Series 18 times. Both of those totals are National League records. The team won the championship only six times, however, placing them in second place in the National League behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
Due to their overwhelming success, or perhaps vice versa, the Giants have the most Hall of Fame players in baseball history. The team has 66 representatives in the Hall of Fame, well ahead of the second place Dodgers' 54. Many of these players played in New York as either a New York Giant or a New York Gotham. The organization began as the latter all the way back in 1883. The team name changed fairly quickly when the manager of the team, Jim Mutrie, exclaimed the team a bunch of "giants" after a big team win.
The Giant's original home stadium is one of the most famous in baseball history. The Polo Grounds, as it was called, was located originally north of Central Park, then throughout Harlem. The team played at the Polo Grounds until 1957. It was at the Polo Grounds that some of the most significant events in team history happened, including the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" and "The Catch." The former memory was a walk-off home run hit by Bobby Thompson to clinch the National League pennant. The latter was a sensational over-the-shoulder catch by centerfielder Willie Mays, one of the best players in team history.
In 1957, the Giants packed up and moved west to San Francisco. The Brooklyn Dodgers, the Giant's biggest rival, also moved to California during that year. Now known as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the teams still have one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports. The rivalry is one of the few that has seen a large amount of success from both teams, with the Giants and Dodgers both winning the same number of National League pennants and World Series championships.
Lately, one of the biggest storylines for the team has been outfielder Barry Bonds. Bonds is widely considered one of the best players in baseball history, but there is some evidence he used steroids to achieve some of his later success in the 2000s. Bonds broke the record for single-season home runs and career home runs during this time. Despite the controversy, many analysts considered Bonds perhaps the best player to ever live before he was even accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
The Giants have still experienced success without Bonds. In 2010, they won their most recent World Series, beating the Rangers in five games.