Celebrating a Sweet 16 for the champion Giants
The NCAA basketball tournament provides a welcome respite from the on-going monotony that routinely overwhelms players in the final days of Spring Training. Tournament telecasts will again be on more than a few clubhouse televisions and more than a few minds this weekend, and more eyes will be focused on basketball games than on the final dress rehearsals for Opening Day.
As an acknowledgement of Sweet 16 weekend, MLB.com herein presents its sixth Sweet 16 Salute, this one devoted to the defending World Series champions, the Giants. The Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Cubs have been examined through the prism of 16 in other years. What follows are 16 facts or sets of facts, involving the number that Sam Malone wore when he pitched for the Red Sox. Here goes ... Cheers!
1. The Giants have lost 16 games in their last three postseason appearances. But they have won 32 (or 2-times-16).
2. One of the great pitching matchups in history occurred on July 2, 1963. It lasted 16 innings. Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn each pitched shutouts for 15 innings. With one out in the bottom of the 16th, Willie Mays hit a home run off Spahn. (Note: Mays hit more home runs, 18, off Spahn than he hit against any other pitcher. And Spahn surrendered more home runs to Mays than any other batter. Only Stan Musial (15) came close to Mays' total versus against Spahnie.)
3. The Giants' record for most strikeouts in one game is held by -- not Marichal, Tim Lincecum, Christy Mathewson (who led the league in strikeouts five times), Carl Hubbell, Gaylord Perry, Matt Cain or Rube Marquard, but Jason Schmidt. He struck out 16 Marlins in a complete-game victory at AT&T Park on June 6, 2006. Schmidt struck out the final three batters -- Miguel Cabrera, Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida -- with runners on second and third and the Giants leading 2-1.
4. The New York Giants produced a winning streak of 16 games in August 1951, en route to their famous Miracle of Cougan's Bluff pennant. That streak equaled the fifth longest in the history of a franchise that also produced the longest streak in big league history: 26 games in -- when else? -- 1916. Giants teams also produced winning streaks of 18 games in 1904, 17 games in 1906 and 1917, 16 games in 1912 and 15 games in 1936.
The longest winning streak by the San Francisco Giants is 14 games, accomplished in 1964.
The Giants' streak in 1917 was accomplished exclusively on the road, and the 26 straight victories the preceding season was achieved exclusively at home, at the fifth and final incarnation of the Polo Grounds that served as their home from 1911 through 1957, and the Mets' home in 1962-63.
The streak in '51 began Aug. 12 with a sweep of a home doubleheader against the Phillies. It ended Aug. 27, after a second successive doubleheader sweep of the Cubs at the Polo Grounds. The second-place Giants trailed the first-place Brooklyn Dodgers by 13 games before the streak began; they were five games behind the Dodgers after the second sweep of the Cubs. Thirteen of the 16 games were played at home, three against the Dodgers. The three road games were played in Philadelphia.
5. Giants players have won the Most Valuable Player Award or the Cy Young Award 16 times, beginning in 1931, the year the Baseball Writers' Association of America began voting. Barry Bonds won five of his seven MVP Awards with the Giants, Mays and Hubbell won two each. Willie McCovey, Jeff Kent, Kevin Mitchell and Buster Posey won one award each. Lincecum won two Cy Young Awards, and Mike McCormick won one. Marichal never won the award. Indeed, he never received a Cy Young vote.
6. Sixteen men have managed the Giants since 1948, the year Leo Durocher replaced Mel Ott -- Durocher, Bill Rigney, Alvin Dark, Herman Franks, Clyde King, Charlie Fox, Wes Westrum, Joe Altobelli, Dave Bristol, Frank Robinson, Danny Ozark, Jim Davenport, Roger Craig, Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou and Bruce Bochy. Some perspective: The Yankees have had 19 men manage beginning in 1948 with Bucky Harris. But they have changed managers 27 times in that period.
7. Mays led the National League in runs, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS a total of 16 times -- twice in runs, four times in home runs, five times in slugging and five times in OPS.
8. Jim Ray Hart wore No. 16 in 11 seasons, more seasons than any other player in club history.
9. The New York Giants played in 16 World Series, winning in 1954, 1933, 1922, 1921, 1905, 1889 and 1888.
10. Giants Hall of Famer Ott played in 16 World Series games and batted .295 in 61 (16 reversed) at-bats. But he hit four home runs and drove in 10 runs. Extrapolate those figures for 162 games and the yield is just over 40 home runs and 100 RBIs. 11. The famed and fearsome Firpo Mayberry, an active reliever with the Washington Senators in the 1920's, wore No. 16 for the one-third of an inning he pitched for the Giants in 1936. Firpo was not one of the Marx Brothers. Other notable -- or oddly named -- players who wore the Giants' No. 16 included Van Lingle Mungo (1945), Valmy Thomas (1958), Lefty O'Doul (1933-34, but not when he was a Giants in 1928), Cliff Melton (1937-44), Vince DiMaggio in 1946), Marv Grissom (1946), Hank Thompson (eight years, beginning in 1949), Eddie Bressoud (1958-61), Norm Larker (1963), Roger Metzger (1978-80), Henry Spilman (1986-88),Terry Kennedy (1988-91), Edgar Renteria (2009-2010) and Angel Pagan (2012).
12. Beginning May 29, 1928, the day Giants Hall of Famer Bill Terry hit for the cycle, 16 Giants have hit for the cycle. Mays, Orlando Cepeda, McCovey, Bobby and Barry Bonds, Will Clark, Matt Williams and Posey have not. Those who have include Ott, Dave Kingman, Kent and Pablo Sandoval.
13. Without the 16 home runs he hit as a rookie with the Pirates in 1986, Barry Bonds would finished his career with 746 home runs, nine fewer than Henry Aaron. Just saying!
14. Sixteen players wore the Giants' No. 27 before it was assigned to Marichal in 1960. No one has worn it since Marichal retired. Sixteen players in Giants' history wore No. 42 before it was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1997.
15. In a 16-game sequence from May 31-June 17, 2004, Barry Bonds was walked intentionally 16 times.
16. Penitentiary Face, the nickname Giants teammates hung on Jeffrey Leonard, has 16 letters. So do Willie Lee McCovey, Willie Howard Mays. Barry Lamar Bonds comes up short on characters.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.