The San Francisco Giants’ all-time team is complete with baseball history. Their moments have forever been etched in New York and the Bay area. With eight World Series titles and 23 NL pennants, a handful of talent is filled with numerous Hall of Famers. As we continue our All-Time Team tournament, the Giants arguably have the deepest outfield of all of baseball. It features three left-handed batters who hit a combined .306 during their tenures with the club. Plus, add in the best pitcher of the Deadball Era, and we have ourselves one dangerous lineup.
Giants All-Time Team
Catcher: Buster Posey (2009-2019, 2021)
1,500 H, 663 R, 158 HR, 729 RBI, 23 SB, .302/.372/.460, 129 OPS+, 44.9 WAR
Buster Posey was the catcher of the 2010s. In addition to being a six-time All-Star, Posey was a three-time World Series Champion who won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2010 and NL MVP two seasons later. Furthermore, his 961 starts behind the plate are the most in Giants history. He ranks in the top 10 in numerous offensive categories from the San Francisco era. He is one of three players to catch three no-hitters and win three World Series titles, joining Bill Carrigan and Yogi Berra as the only catchers. Now that he’s hung up the cleats, Posey has a strong case to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
First Base: Willie McCovey (1959-1973, 1977-1980)
1,974 H, 1,113 R, 469 HR, 1,388 RBI, 24 SB, .274/.377/.524, 150 OPS+, 59.4 WAR
In 1959, Willie McCovey burst into the major league scene, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award along the way. By the end of the sixties, McCovey emerged as one of the dominant power hitters in the NL. During that span, he led the league in home runs and RBI in 1968 and 1969. His most iconic moment came in the 1962 World Series. With the Giants down 1-0 in the decisive Game Seven, McCovey was up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. McCovey hit what could have been the series-winning hit with runners on second and third, only to have Yankees Bobby Richardson catch the ball to end the series.
The Hall of Famer hit 521 home runs in his legendary career. After all, “McCovey Cove” does pay homage to the lefty Hall of Famer.
Second Base: Jeff Kent (1997-2002)
1,021 H, 570 R, 175 HR, 689 RBI, 57 SB, .297/.368/.535, 136 OPS+, 31.6 WAR
Jeff Kent gets the edge here. Over his 17-year career, Kent played for six teams but enjoyed his prime during his tenure with the Giants. After a trade from Cleveland to San Francisco, Kent earned three consecutive All-Star nods while edging teammate Barry Bonds for the 2000 NL MVP award. Suddenly, he became the fifth NL second baseman to earn the award as he hit .334/.424/.596 with 33 home runs, 125 RBI, and 7.2 WAR. Kent hit 351 of his 377 home runs as a second baseman, a major league record for the position.
Third Base: Matt Williams (1987-1996)
1,092 H, 594 R, 247 RBI, 732 RBI, 29 SB, .264/.312/.498, 122 OPS+, 34.1 WAR
The Giants selected Matt Williams third overall of the 1986 MLB Draft. Soon after, he struggled to establish himself over his first three big league seasons. He finally broke out in 1992, hitting an NL-high 122 RBI while hitting .277 with 33 home runs. From there on, Williams never looked back, topping 30+ home runs four times with the Giants. Over his ten-year tenure in San Francisco, he earned four All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves, and placed in the top five for NL MVP voting twice. His 247 home runs with the Giants are fourth in San Francisco history behind Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Barry Bonds.
Shortstop: Travis Jackson (1922-1936)
1,768 H, 833 R, 135 HR, 929 RBI, 71 SB, .291/.337/.433, 102 OPS+, 44 WAR
Travis Jackson spent his entire 15-year career with the New York Giants. Subsequently, Jackson played on five NL pennant-winning teams while winning World Series in 1933. In addition to this, he batted .300-or-more six times, including a career-high 21 home runs in 1929. Additionally, he drove in a career-best 101 runs in 1934. In fact, his 1,326 games were the most played by a shortstop in Giants history until Brandon Crawford broke the record in 2021.
Left Field: Barry Bonds (1993-2007)
1,951 H, 1,555 R, 586 HR, 1,440 RBI, 263 SB, .312/.477/.666, 199 OPS+, 112.5 WAR
After seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Barry Bonds signed with the Giants before 1993. Bonds spent the final 15 seasons with the Giants, batting .336/.458/.677 with 46 home runs and 123 RBI in his first season. He won five NL MVPs, winning four consecutive from 2001-to-2004. Additionally, He set the single-record for home runs with 73 in 2001, 120 intentional walks in 2004, .609 on-base percentage in 2004, and .863 slugging percentage in 2001. Bonds is the only player to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases.
Center Field: Willie Mays (1951-1972)
3,187 H, 2,011 R, 646 HR, 1,859 RBI, 24 SB, .304/.385/.564, 157 OPS+, 154.5 WAR
Willie Mays is a name baseball fans know all too well. What’s great about Mays is that he’s known as the best all-around player in baseball. The “Say Hey Kid” spent 21 of his 22 seasons with the Giants during the New York and San Francisco era. Mays won two NL MVP awards with 24 All-Stars Games and 12 Gold Gloves to his name.
Right Field: Mel Ott (1926-1947)
2,876 H, 1,859 R, 511 HR, 1,860 RBI, 89 SB, .304/.414/.533, 155 OPS+, 110.9 WAR
Longtime New York Giant outfielder Mel Ott was one of the most feared but famous players in his day. Ott was 16-years old when he signed with the Giants and remained with the team for his entire career. “Master Melvin” was a six-time league leader in home runs, hitting 30 or more eight times. Ott led the Giants to the 1933 World Series, hitting .389 with two home runs and four RBI en route to the championship. Not only that, but Ott became the first NL player to score at least 1,800 runs, 1,800 RBI, and 1,700 walks. He is one of only four players in history to accomplish the feat.
Designated Hitter: Orlando Cepeda (1958-1966)
639 H, 322 R, 84 HR, 393 RBI, 27 SB, .296/.389/.477, 127 OPS+, 18.8 WAR
At 20-years old, Orlando Cepeda debuted with the Giants in 1958. He unanimously won the NL Rookie of the Year Award thanks to hitting 25 home runs, 96 RBI, and batting .312 in 148 games. In nine seasons, “Baby Bull” earned six All-Star nods and finished second in NL MVP voting in 1961, leading the league with 46 home runs and 142 RBI.
Starter: Christy Mathewson (1900-1916)
372-188 (.664%), 2.12 ERA, 4779 2/3 IP, 2504 K, 137 ERA+, 100.6 WAR
Christy Mathewson was the first excellent pitching star of his era. In 1908, he set the modern-day record with 37 wins, the most by any NL pitcher. He completed 34 of 44 of his starts the following season in more than 385 innings pitched. From 1903 to 1914, Mathewson led the NL in ERA five times, winning more than 25 games nine times. He was one of the first five players inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.
Relievers: Robb Nen, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal
Robb Nen came from the Flordia Marlins via trade, becoming one of the best acquistions franchise history. Nen was lethal over five seasons in San Francisco, recording a 2.43 ERA while saving at least 40 games four times. On the other hand, Gaylord Perry was known for his constant use of the spitball. However, he spent the first decade of his career with the Giants. The Hall of Famer had a breakout season in 1966, going 21-8 with a 2.99 ERA, earning his first All-Star selection.
Next, Juan Marichal became one of the best international players after signing with the Giants in 1957. Marichal’s coming-out party happened in 1963, where he went 25-8 while leading the NL in innings with 321 1/3. He posted six of his 20-win seasons in a pitching-fueled 1960s. Furthermore, the Dominican native led the league twice in complete games, shutouts, innings, and WHIP. He led the NL with a 2.10 ERA in 1969
Manager: John McGraw (1902-1932)
John McGraw is second on the all-time managerial wins list, just behind Connie Mack. After playing third base for over a decade, McGraw joined the Giants as a player-manager during the 1902 season. At 29-years old, he became one of baseball’s recognizable figures of the era, turning the Giants into contenders winning three World Series titles. Under McGraw’s management, the Giants finished in first or second place 21 times in McGraw’s 29 full seasons at the helm.
Madison Bumgarner, Monte Irvin, Carl Hubbell, Bill Terry
With the all-time team established, here are the honorable mentions. Madison Bumgarner spent the first 11 years of his career in San Francisco. “MadBaum” often saved his best work for October, establishing himself as one of the best postseason pitchers of all time. His 0.25 ERA in the World Series is the lowest by any pitcher. As a result, he logged a 0.43 ERA in over 21 innings in the 2014 World Series, making him the obvious choice for World Series MVP.
Monte Irvin was a Negro League star with the Newark Eagles in the 1940s. He was a strong candidate to break baseball’s color barrier until Jackie Robinson in 1947. But, Irvin signed with the Giants two years later. After that, Irvin was a key player in 1951 as he hit an NL-high 121 RBIs with 24 home runs to help the Giants overtake the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL pennant. Over seven seasons with the Giants, Irvin batted .296 with an All-Star nod and a World Series ring in 1954.
Carl Hubbell was a standout for many reasons. First, in the 1934 All-Star Game, Hubbell did the unthinkable by striking out the final three batters of the first and the first two of the second. The southpaw got Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin to strike out. But, in his career, the “Meat Ticket” racked in 253 career wins with a 2.98 ERA. From 1933 to 1937, Hubbell had five consecutive 20-win campaigns. He helped the Giants reach three pennants while winning the 1933 World Series.
Once Bill Terry got his chance to play in the majors, he became one of the best first basemen in the NL. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, Terry never batted under .320 in the nine seasons where he had more than 475 at-bats. He won the batting title once after hitting .401 in 1930. Terry remains the last NL player to hit .400 in a season. Terry succeeded McGraw as the Giants manager during his career in the middle of the 1932 season. The following season, Terry managed the Giants to the World Series title.
Players/Managers Mentioned: Buster Posey, Willie McCovey, Jeff Kent, Matt Williams, Travis Jackson, Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Mel Ott, Monte Irvin, Christy Mathewson, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Bill Terry, Carl Hubbell John McGraw