July 15, 1901: Christy Mathewson tosses a no-hitter, one of two in his Hall of Fame career, against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Suffering the most miserable finish in the team's 20-year history (48-88, 53 1/2 games back), New York still makes a move that would prove to be one of the most significant ever: signing John McGraw as player-manager.
In 1902, New York quickly churned through two managers, both of whom considered shifting emerging star pitcher Christy Mathewson to another position. Owner Andrew Freedman managed to snag the aggressive John McGraw away from the fledging American League's Baltimore Orioles and signed him as player-manager of the Giants in mid-season.
Later in the season, John Brush assumed controlling interest of the team and gave McGraw the freedom and money to run the team as he wished. He lured many top players to the club and nurtured the Hall of Fame career of Mathewson, and two years later, the Giants would be back on top of the National League. McGraw would lead the Giants for the next 29 years, winning 10 pennants and three world titles and recording 21 finishes of second or better.
Upon assuming the reins of the Giants, McGraw came up with an innovative solution for the problem of what to do with Luther "Dummy" Taylor, the only deaf-mute person to play in the Majors in the 20th century. McGraw made his entire team learn sign language so they could communicate with him, and when they started using the skill in games, it became the earliest form of "signs" in baseball. Taylor won 21 games for the 1904 pennant-winning club.
After crushing the rest of the league with a franchise-best 106 victories to capture the National League title, the Giants decline to participate in the newly created World Series because manager John McGraw and owner John Brush consider the American League a minor league.
Satisfied with the adoption of certain postseason rules, the Giants agree to play in the World Series after successfully defending their NL championship. Christy Mathewson authors one of the greatest pitching performances in history, tallying three shutout victories in New York's four-games-to-one triumph over the Philadelphia Athletics for the Giants' first World Series title.
The Fall Classic returned after a year's hiatus and Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson made it his showcase, leading the Giants to their first world championship with three shutout victories
The 25-year-old right-hander, who had 32 wins in 1905 to register his third straight 30-win season, shut down the Philadelphia Athletics in New York's five-game victory. In the space of six days, he pitched three shutouts and permitted just 14 hits overall.
New York skipper John McGraw didn't have to rely solely on Mathewson to get him the title. He also had Red Ames and Joe McGinnity, who won 22 and 21 games, respectively, during the regular season, in his rotation.
Those two hurlers worked in Game 2, but McGinnity was ticketed with the defeat after surrendering three unearned runs in a 3-0 loss.
Mathewson was staked to a 2-0, first-inning lead in Game 3 and responded by blanking Philadelphia on four hits. First baseman Dan McGann was the Giants' big gun in the 9-0 romp, collecting two singles and a double while driving in four runs.
McGinnity rebounded from his Game 2 defeat to shut out Eddie Plank and Philadelphia in a classic 1-0 pitchers' duel.
But it was Mathewson who got to finish off the job he started when he blanked the Athletics, 2-0, in the fifth and deciding game.
A monumental error ends up costing the Giants the pennant, as the "Merkle Boner" is the lowlight of a late-season faltering that forces a one-game playoff with the Chicago Cubs.
The New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs finished the regular season with identical 98-55-1 records and needed to play a decisive makeup game to determine the National League championship for 1908 due to a play that has been termed Merkle's Boner.
In a Sept. 23 Cubs-Giants game with runners on first and third and two out in the bottom of the ninth, New York's Al Bridwell delivered an apparent game-winning hit. When fans stormed the field, Fred Merkle, who was on first, retreated to the dugout and failed to touch second base. The Cubs eventually retrieved the ball and doubled up Merkle at second. Since order could not be restored, the game was declared a 1-1 tie.
The "Merkle Game" was replayed Oct. 8 with Chicago posting a 4-2 victory. The Cubs advanced to the World Series and defeated Detroit to become the first team to ever win consecutive world championships.