The "Year of the Fox" produces the Giants' first division title despite having neither a .300 hitter nor a 20-game winner.
Bobby Bonds hit 33 home runs and committed only two errors in 1971.
1971 was the "Year of the Fox." That was the year manager Charlie Fox, who had replaced the fired Clyde King 1 1/2 months into the 1970 season, led a team made up of aging stars and rising youngsters to a Western Division title.
Bobby Bonds, who misses becoming baseball's first 40-40 man by one home run, is named The Sporting News' Player of the Year.
The Giants got off to a fast start, winning 18 of their first 23 games. The energy and raw talents of youngsters like outfielder Bobby Bonds and shortstop Chris Speier melded nicely with the experience and wisdom of veterans Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays. Bonds smashed 33 home runs and 102 RBIs. Speier played solid defense, creating a formidable double-play duo with second baseman Tito Fuentes. Meanwhile, pitching ace Marichal continued his domination over batters, notching 18 wins. At age 40 and showing no signs of age, Mays slugged four home runs in his first four games. His production didn't let up as he went on to set a National League career record for runs scored in June.
Southpaw Ron "Bear" Bryant is named Pitcher of the Year after winning 24 games, the most ever by a San Francisco lefty.
Outfielder Gary Matthews wins Rookie of the Year honors as one of three Giants to hit .300 or better.
This winning combination kept the team in first place for almost the entire season; the Giants spent only three days in second place. Despite such steady play, the team began to wear down near the end of the season. They saw their nine-game lead on Sept. 4 dwindle to one game by Sept. 25. It wasn't until the final game of the season that the Giants clinched the NL West title on Marichal's 5-1 gem over the San Diego Padres.
The Giants salivated at the chance to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the best-of-five championship series. They had beaten the Pirates nine times out of 12 and seemed likely candidates to win the pennant.
"We were happy we were going to play them," McCovey said. "They were fearing us."
The Giants jumped out of the gate full steam ahead. In the series opener at the 'Stick, the home team beat the Pirates, 5-4, in front of 40,977 fans. McCovey and Fuentes fueled the attack, ripping two-run homers in the fifth inning.
But the team wouldn't fare so well in the next three games. In the second game, Pirates first baseman Bob Robertson hit three home runs, leading Pittsburgh to a 9-4 win. The Bucs' win snapped a six-game losing streak at Candlestick Park.
Despite a beautifully pitched four-hitter by Marichal in Game 3, the Pirates won again, 2-1, at Three Rivers Stadium.
Pittsburgh earned their ticket to the World Series by taking Game 4, 9-5, and eliminating the Giants. McCovey's three-run homer and four RBIs weren't enough to pull out a victory.
"It just goes to show you that anything can happen in the playoffs," McCovey said.
Although the team finishes 11 games out of first place, three players win major honors. Bobby Bonds, who misses becoming baseball's first 40-40 man by one home run, is named The Sporting News' Player of the Year, while southpaw Ron "Bear" Bryant is named Pitcher of the Year after winning 24 games, the most ever by a San Francisco lefty. Outfielder Gary Matthews wins Rookie of the Year honors as one of three Giants to hit .300 or better.
After bidding farewell to stars Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal and mired in a string of sub-.500 seasons, the Giants enjoy two refreshing pitching performances, John Montefusco's colorful Rookie of the Year performance and Ed Halicki's no-hitter.
Only three times did Giants fans watch the home team's pitcher throw a no-hitter at Candlestick Park. After two in the '60s, the third -- and most recent -- home no-hitter was spun by Ed Halicki in 1975.
On Aug. 24, the Giants squared off against the New York Mets in a doubleheader. After the Mets nabbed the opener by the score of 9-5 on the strength of a Dave Kingman grand slam off "Gentleman" Jim Barr, Halicki took the mound for Game 2 of the twin bill.
Willie Montanez, obtained earlier in the season from the Phillies for Garry Maddox, got the Giants on the board in the first inning with a two-run single. It would be all the 6-foot-7 Halicki would need.
In his first full season in the Majors, the right-hander dominated the New Yorkers in front of 24,132 fans, striking out 10 on his way to the 6-0 victory. It was the first no-hitter thrown in the National League in over two years.
Halicki ended the '75 season with a 9-13 record and a 3.49 ERA. He pitched in 24 games, striking out 153 batters. His no-hitter stood out in an otherwise ordinary season, in which the Giants finished at 80-81, 27 1/2 games out of first place, good for third in the NL West.
Bob Lurie saves the Giants from a possible move to Toronto by heading a group that buys the team and keeps it in San Francisco.
September 29, 1976: John Montefusco came within one pitch of a perfect game, hurling a 9‐0 no‐hitter against the Atlanta Braves
Willie McCovey returns to the Giants and wins the Comeback Player of the Year Award with a team-best 28 home runs at the age of 39.
May 8, 1977: Karl Wallenda walks a high wire across Candlestick Park.