Twice is Nice for NY Giants PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Rackow   
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 18:29
The celebration in New York got kicked off for another 12 months with the World Champion Giants enjoying a ticker-tape parade through the Big Apple for a second straight year. The storybook ending to the season was far from a certainty, though.
The 1946 campaign seemed destined for mediocrity for the Giants when starter Monty Stratton went down with a season-ending injury towards the end of a sub-.500 three month period from May through July.  With their ace gone for the stretch run for the second straight year, and trailing the Boston Braves six games at the end of July, the Giant's faithful had to hope that the potent lineup could cover for a sub-par staff and pen.
Boy, did they ever rise to the challenge, finishing at or near the top of most offensive categories. They managed to overtake the Braves when they stumbled in August and September, but still had to sweat out a season-closing series against their division rival. They won the division, but the doubters would remain. How would the Giants, winners of a mere 83 games (7 MLB teams finished the 1946 season with more wins, 4 of them watching the playoffs from their living rooms) fare against a balanced Cincinnati Red team that bested both the 89-win Cubs and 86-win Pirates in an NL Central dogfight that went down to the wire?
They would struggle, returning to Crosley Field in Cincinnati after a 16-2 drubbing in Game 5, down 3 games to 2. But pitching, of all things, would provide the salvation they needed: Wilmer Fields posting a complete-game victory in Game 6, and Warren Spahn combining with several relievers for a dramatic, extra-inning, Game 7 shutout against the Red's rookie-of-the-year winner, starter Russ Meyer.
The ALCS featured the Giant's AL counterparts, the hated Yankees, a 96-win juggernaut who led wire-to-wire in the East (but still found themselves fending off the noble, upstart Washington Nationals (no bias here!) as the season wound down) and the defending AL pennant winners, the Detroit Tigers, who had to hold off the St. Louis Browns' furious 12-5 finish that saw them pull to within a single game in the standings. With the Tigers dispatching the Yankees in 5 games, a rematch of last year's Series was set.
With neither team's pitching staff very well regarded, most observers anticipated a slugfest...and that's what they got. Almost 15 runs-per-game were scored in the Giant's 4 games to 2 victory, and none of the many hitting stars in either lineup came up as big as Series MVP Danny Gardella. Danny torched the Tigers for a .619 batting average, blasting 7 homers, scoring 9 runs, and driving in 15!
There was some concern that in the time owner/GM Zach Deuel spent away from the game from 1939 to 1942, the game may have passed him by. But raising a moribund Giants franchise (they lost 200 games from 1941-1942) to consecutive championships in 5 short years seems to show that, on the contrary, it's the game that has some catching up to do with Zach. The Giants payroll may ultimately provide the next challenge for him, though that doesn't look to be a major concern until 1948. And what of the Tigers? Three straight World Series appearances, but missing out on the ultimate prize the last two years means they will return even more hungry next season.
As always, we will have to wait to see which team will have that necessary combination of strategy, talent, and luck that results in the ultimate prize: the 1947 World Series Championship. Congrats to the New York Giants, and good luck to all the teams in 1947!