Apr 26, 2021
Baseball historian Steve Treder ("Forty
Years a Giant: The Life of Horace Stoneham") steps up to
the plate this week to delve into the oft-overlooked contributions
of influential San Francisco (née New York) Giants owner Horace
Stoneham - who quietly stewarded the storied National League
franchise through four turbulent decades of baseball history
Inheriting the club at the tender age of 32 from his father
after his death in 1936, Stoneham actually began his tenure with
the Manhattan-based Giants (and its sprawling multi-sport Polo
Grounds venue) twelve years earlier as an apprentice - working his
way up from lowly ticketing assistant to (legendary field manager)
John McGraw confidante by the early 1930s.
Despite winning only four NL
pennants (including the famous 1951 "Shot Heard 'Round the World")
and just one World Series title (1954) while in New York, Stoneham
more significantly impacted the team's legacy and the game's future
off the field.
In the mid-1940s when the
Pacific Coast League was angling to gain Major League status, few
except Stoneham and Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey took it
seriously; twelve years later, the Giants and Dodgers became the
first teams to boldly relocate westward.
Stoneham was also an early
pioneer in racial integration: he signed Negro League stars Monte
Irvin and Hank Thompson in 1949 (enabling the Giants to become the
second-ever MLB club to break the color barrier); and he hired the
majors' first-ever Spanish-speaking scout to help find and develop
Latin American players.