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Greatest Giants Sluggers of All-Time
Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard 'Round The World"
The San Francisco Giants have been in California since 1957, and before that were the New York Giants. The franchise has a deep slugging history with players like Willie Mays and Barry Bonds topping their all-time home run list. Here is a list of the Top 10 in Giants' history in that category:
Willie Mays (646)-Willie Mays probably ranks in the top three or top five greatest players of all-time, and he had a long, bright career, mostly with the Giants in New York and San Francisco (1951-1972). Mays ranks fourth in baseball history with 660 homers, 646 of those in a Giants' uniform. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1951 and two MVP Awards (1954 and 1965). Mays hit a career high 52 homers in 1965 but his best overall season was 1955 in New York, when he batted .319 with 51 home runs and 127 runs batted in.
Barry Bonds (586)-You can say all you want about an asterisk here, but Barry Bonds remains one of the greatest, most electrifying players ever. He is the home run king in baseball with 762, and 586 of those homers were hit in a Giants' uniform. Bonds won the NL MVP five times with the Giants and his best season there was 2001, when he hit an MLB record 73 homers with 137 RBI (career high) and a .328 batting average.
Mel Ott (511)-Mel Ott played his entire career with the New York Giants, from 1926 to 1947. Ott had eight straight seasons with 103 RBI or more, and overall hit 511 career homers. His best season was 1929 when Ott hit .328 with 42 homers and 151 RBI.
Willie McCovey (469)-First baseman Willie McCovey played most of his career with the Giants, from 1959 to 1973 and again from 1977 to 1980. McCovey hit 469 career homers with San Francisco and 521 overall. His best season was 1969, when Big Willie won the NL MVP Award with career highs in batting average (.320), home runs (45) and RBI (126).
Matt Williams (247)-Third baseman Matt Williams played for the Giants from 1987 to 1996, and while his best overall season was as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Williams still ranks fifth in Giants' history with 247 homers. His best season with the team was the strike-shortened 1994 season, when he batted .267 with 43 homers and 96 RBI in just 112 games.
Orlando Cepeda (226)-Orlando Cepeda played for a few different teams in his career but had some of his best seasons early on with the Giants, who he played for from 1958 to 1966. Cepeda ranks sixth all-time on the franchise list with 226 home runs, and his best season by far was 1961, when he batted .311 with 46 homers and 142 runs batted in.
Cepeda also won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1958 (25-96-.312).
Bobby Thompson (189)-Outfielder Bobby Thompson hit 189 career homers for the New York Giants, who he played for from 1946 to 1953 and again in 1957. Thompson might be best known, though, for hitting "The Shot Heard ‘Round the World" in 1951 in a playoff game against the Brooklyn Dodgers that won the pennant for New York. His best season with the Giants was that '51 season when Thompson batted .293 with 32 home runs (career high) and 101 RBI.
Bobby Bonds (186)-Most people think of Barry when they hear the name Bonds. But Barry's dad Bobby had a very nice career too, and still ranks eighth all-time on the Giants' home run list with 186. Bonds played for San Francisco from 1968 to 1974, and his best season there was 1973 when he batted .283 with 39 homers and 96 RBI, finishing third in the NL MVP voting. Sadly, the elder Bonds passed away in 2003 from complications related to lung cancer as well as a brain tumor at the age of 57.
Will Clark (176)-First baseman Will Clark played a little more than half of his career with the Giants, from 1986 to 1993, and helped them reach the World Series in 1989.
Clark was always a steady hitter, but he may have had his best years in San Francisco. In 1987, Clark hit a career best of 35 homers, but his best season as a whole was 1991, when he batted .301 with 29 home runs and 116 runs batted in.
Jeff Kent (175)-Jeff Kent came over to the Giants in 1997 in the trade that sent Matt Williams to Cleveland. Before Kent played in San Francisco, he was an average hitter, but something happened in California. Kent played for the Giants from 1997 to 2002 and averaged 29 homers and 115 RBI over that time. His best season as a Giant was 2000, when he won the NL MVP by batting .334 with 33 homers and 125 RBI. Kent currently (in 2008) plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the age of 40.