Mel Ott, who would spend his entire 22-year playing career with the Giants, takes over the managerial reins during the difficult war years.
The acquisition of "The Big Cat," Johnny Mize, didn't help Mel Ott succeed in his rookie managerial campaign. The two racked up impressive offensive stats, with Mize batting .305 and leading the league with 110 RBIs and Ott tallying an NL-best 30 home runs and 118 runs scored.
Ott also drove in his 1,583rd run, establishing what was then a National League record. But 1942 was only the beginning of the lean war years for the Giants, who seemed to be hit harder by the loss of players to military service than other NL clubs. Mize, Harry Danning, Babe Young and Willard Marshall all were called to duty in 1943, and the Giants lost 98 games that year and 87 in 1944.
Despite the on-field struggles, the team did its part to support the war effort, wearing red, white and blue uniforms and staging victory rallies at the Polo Grounds, as well as giving up night games in observance of the wartime curfew and raising millions of dollars selling war bonds.
After holding Spring Training in New Jersey to help conserve resources for the war effort, the Giants finish a miserable 49 1/2 games out. Carl Hubbell wraps up his Hall of Fame career with 253 wins.
The first post-war season should be bright for the Giants, but the rogue Mexican League lures away many of the top New York players. The exodus hits the Giants harder than most NL squads, and they lose 93 games. Mel Ott hits his 511th and final home run.
In a stunning July development, hated Dodgers manager Leo Durocher replaces Mel Ott as manager of the Giants and starts the rebuilding process.
In 1946, Dodgers manager Leo Durocher had declared that "nice guys" -- like Giants skipper Mel Ott -- "finish last." But when Durocher's own squad fell into last place in July 1948 and Ott was dismissed by Horace Stoneham, one of the most stunning developments in baseball history took place: Leo the Lip was hired to manage the Giants.
Although the Giants were a home run machine, with seven regulars smacking at least 10 in '48, Durocher felt wholesale changes were necessary. Over the next few years, he would shape a team built on speed and aggressive hitting instead of power.
July 8, 1949: Monte Irvin and Hank Thompson become the first black players to play for the Giants.