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Old 06-25-2012, 11:48 PM
 
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Seems like a weird question, but considering that NYC once held 3 teams for 54 years (Yankees, Dodgers, Giants), it seems interesting to ask: who were the Giants fanbase?

The Dodgers seemed to have a hold on mostly blue collar Brooklyn, while the Yankees represented more of the upper class who lived in Westchester, New Jersey, and even parts of the Bronx. However, who made up the Giants fanbase? They seemed like the odd man out, considering they not only played a few miles from Yankee Stadium at the Polo Grounds, but once shared a stadium with each other.

This also leads up to a follow up question: why was there not as much of an outrage when the Giants left NYC as when the Dodgers left the city?

All baseball historians are welcome!
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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As a short answer, I would say people whose fathers were Giants fans. Most sports fandom is hereditary.

At the turn of the century, there were no Yankees, so everyone in NYC was either a Giant or a Dodger fan, and that got passed down from generation to generation. The history of the Yankees then was no loner than the history of the Mets today.

The Giants were the powerhouse of the National League through much of the half century before 1920, and Yankee fans might have arisen largely from a fan base who hated the constant success of the Giants.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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Not a baseball historian by any means, but this coworker of mine who is 70 years old and grew up in Manhattan was a hardcore Giants fan and told me that when he arrived to New York, he was originally from Puerto Rico, his family that lived there told him very clearly, “You do not root for the Yankees as they don’t like Hispanics”. Therefore many of the Puertorricans that lived in NY were Giants fans. He also told me that the Giants fan-base was diverse in regards to social class, and it extended all the way to Long Island (The Mets took advantage of that fan-base) but by the time the Giants left, they were not very good, despite Willie Mays, Polo Grounds was not a desirable venue and many of their fans were already gravitating toward the Yankees.

Now, I have read many times that when the Giants and the Dodgers left NY, baseball was in decline in the city, and attendance was very stagnant. In fact, baseball in the East coast was going through some rough patches during the 50’s since the Philadelphia A’s and the Boston Braves also moved to more attractive and growing markets.
The reason for the Dodgers outcry was that Brooklyn was long considered the bastard borough of NY given its very blue collar background, and the Dodgers were all the borough had to show for itself in regards to “city” pride (Brooklyn was an independent city until the 20th century). There was also the Jackie Robinson factor of the Dodgers, which secured the franchise a chapter in US history.

As for my coworker, he followed the Giants in San Francisco for some time during the Mays/Cepeda/Marichal / McCovey/ Gomez years, until he lost interest and became a Yankees fan also.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:40 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Whatever the fan base, it was the one that was exceedingly squeezed. If the late 40's-late 50's was the true "Golden Age of New York baseball", it was the Giants that were the third wheel. the Yankees and the Dodgers were THE teams, despite the fact that the Giants like the other 2 won WS's during this time.

We tend to look at 1957-58 in terms of the Dodgers' move west from Brooklyn to LA. Forgotten is the fact that it was the Giants that were in far more need of another location than the Dodgers; all the Dodgers really wanted was a public ballpark in Brooklyn, but the city was not going to give one to them or the Giants but managed to build one for the Mets a few short years after the NL abandoned NYC . The Giants had been looking for another home prior to Walter O'Mally's flirtations with Los Angeles. Minneapolis was the most likely candidate.

The Giants went to SF instead because their move was linked with the Dodgers move to LA (even though the Giants announced their move before the Dodgers did). O'Mally had convinced Horace Stoneham, the Giants' owner, that two teams on the west coast made sense in every way imaginable...but mainly economic.

If you follow the news stories of the era, it was the Dodgers' threat to move that was THE story, not the Giants. The Giants had already been deserted by their fans, heavily dependent on the Dodgers trips to the Polo Grounds for attendance.

that said, over the course of baseball during the first half of the 20th century, I think that one could argue that the Giants were more of the "establishment" team than the Yankees. During that time, the whole notion of leagues was huge. The National was the senior circuit and that carried power. (today in contrast, the NL and AL no longer exist as legal entities, having been dissolved into one league that is MLB; the NL and AL today are no different than the NFC and AFC in the NFL). During much of the first half of the 20th century, NY was an NL town. The NL had great pennant races and the whole Giants/Dodgers thing was far greater than the inter-city Yankees/Red Sox rivalry of today.

The Yankees became the establishment when the Giants and Dodgers went west and their relationship with the Mets has always been that: establishment.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huge Foodie 215 View Post
They seemed like the odd man out, considering they not only played a few miles from Yankee Stadium at the Polo Grounds, but once shared a stadium with each other.
Remember that the Giants were in town decades before there was any such thing as the Yankees! Their fans were of much longer standing.

But as someone else pointed out here, fan bases are hereditary. The Giants' fans in the 1950s were the children and grandchildren of the originals--no matter which borough they lived in.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Hometown of Jason Witten
5,985 posts, read 3,640,709 times
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The Giants most assuredly drove away some of their fan base in 1922 when they evicted the Yankees from the Polo Grounds. For about 40 years the Giants had been "Kings of the Hill," at least outside Brooklyn, and were secure enough to share the Polo Grounds with the down-and-out Yankees for 10 seasons. But when the latter became perennial pennant contenders around 1920, the Giants may have felt that they were contributing to the Yankees' growing fan support. But for whatever reasons, Yankee Stadium was built within view of the Polo Grounds. Not long afterward, team owner Jacob Ruppert commented, "Yankee Stadium was a mistake. Not mine, but the Giants'."
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Long Island,New York
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My grandfather was a big Giants fan until he passed but ironically my father has been a Yankee fan from day 1.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post
The Giants most assuredly drove away some of their fan base in 1922 when they evicted the Yankees from the Polo Grounds.
I suppose that's probable, although I doubt that Giant fans cared about the Yanks much. Also, that eviction was inevitable, don't you think? The Giants weren't in the market for co-tenants on into infinity.
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