July 6, 1980: Willie McCovey takes his final at bat before 46,244 adoring fans, delivering a sac fly off Rick Sutcliffe to cap his Hall of Fame career spanning over 4 decades.
Frank Robinson becomes the first black manager in the National League when he is named to head the Giants.
First Croix handed out: The first Croix de Candlestick pins were handed out to fans that stayed for the entire 10 innings of the Giants 3-2 victory over the Dodgers. The pins featured a snowy Giants' "SF" logo along with the Latin slogan "Veni, vidi, vixi" ("I came, I saw, I survived"). The Croix de Candlestick pins were created as a promotion to reward fans for staying the entire duration of extra-inning night games.
A 96-loss season is brightened somewhat by the 1984 All-Star Game at Candlestick Park, which includes Chili Davis and Bob Brenly as Giants representatives. Crazy Crab makes his one-year appearance as the Giants' "anti-mascot."
The '70s may have brought us bell bottoms and disco, but they also saw the beginnings of the mascot craze in professional baseball. In 1984, the Giants decided to try their hand at the mascot game, but with their own special twist: They created an "anti-mascot."
The creature they unleashed was the now-legendary (and infamous) Crazy Crab. The idea was to poke fun at traditional mascots, and television commercials depicted manager Frank Robinson having to be restrained from attacking the poor crustacean. Fans were encouraged to boo and hiss the phony mascot, who was portrayed by actor Wayne Doba.
The prodding worked all too well. With a 96-loss season soothing no souls, Crazy Crab became the object of hatred and abuse. The crowd would hurl all sorts of things at the beast, both verbally and literally, and even players got into the act, dumping drinks and other things into the suit.
Broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, both players during the year of Crazy Crab, were asked in an online chat if they ever had trouble with him. Their response: "No, we used to drill him with the resin bag daily, so he was scared of us."
Catcher Steve Nicosia once donned the suit while he trashed the volatile Jeffrey Leonard's locker. While playing the Crab, Doba was even tackled by a San Diego Padres player and ended up filing a lawsuit against the team for back injuries.
On the final day of the 1984 season, as he stood on the field in the suit before the game, Doba reportedly told a Giants executive, "I hope there's nobody up there with a gun."
The nightmare for the bug-eyed object of foam derision ended after just one season. The Giants would not attempt another mascot, "anti" or real, until 1997, when Lou Seal made his cautious debut. But no mascot will likely ever again as sharply define the term "love-hate" as the vaunted Crazy Crab.
Bad goes to worst as the Giants falter to the only 100-loss season in their history. Reliever Scott Garrelts leads the staff with a measly nine wins, and the team bats a league-worst .233.
Manager Roger Craig and GM Al Rosen begin a remarkable turnaround with their crew of "You Gotta Like These Kids" players. Rookies Will Clark and Robby Thompson jump over the Triple-A level to earn starting jobs, and Clark cracks a home run off Nolan Ryan in his first big league at-bat. Pitcher Mike Krukow wins 20 games and earns an All-Star bid.
April 8, 1986: Will Clark's first Major League swing results in a home run off Nolan Ryan on Opening Night at the Astrodome
Just two years after a wretched 100-loss season, the Giants win the division thanks to late-season pitching acquistions by Al Rosen.
After an amazing 1986 season, in which manager Roger Craig transformed the Giants from a 100-loss club into the "Humm Baby" crew with an 83-79 record, good things were expected in 1987.
But after leading or being near the top of the division for the first two months of the season, the Giants began to slide. When they fell a season-high 5 1/2 games behind division leader Cincinnati on the Fourth of July, general manager Al Rosen decided to shake things up and engineered a blockbuster trade, acquiring Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts from the Padres.
Two more trades in the next few weeks added pitchers Rick Reuschel and Don Robinson, and San Francisco regained the division lead for good in mid-August. They would win the West by six games with a 90-72 record and head into the National League Championship Series to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
In late July, the Giants had swept the Cardinals in a four-game series, so hopes were high as the teams opened play in St. Louis. But Cardinals pitcher Greg Mathews allowed only four hits and struck out seven in 7 1/3 innings while driving in two runs to lead his club to a 5-3 victory in Game 1.
Game 2 saw Giants slugger Jeffrey Leonard crack his second homer in as many games as part of a 3-for-4 day. Will Clark added a home run of his own, and Dravecky pitched a sparkling two-hit shutout to even the series at a game apiece.
When the series shifted to San Francisco for Game 3, the Giants jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. But the Cards battled back with a two-run Jim Lindeman homer in the sixth off starter Atlee Hammaker, and an inning later, they scored four more off Hammaker and reliever Robinson. San Francisco got within one by adding a run in the bottom of the ninth, but St. Louis held on to capture a 2-1 series lead.
The next two games, both at Candlestick Park, put the Giants on the verge of their first World Series berth in 25 years. Three home runs -- including Leonard's fourth consecutive game with a dinger, an LCS record -- and Mike Krukow's complete-game two-hitter gave the Giants a 4-2 victory in Game 4. In Game 5, Leonard didn't homer but Mitchell did, and Joe Price pitched five innings of one-hit ball in relief of Reuschel to collect the 6-3 win.
But a four-run fourth inning in Game 5 would be the last time the Giants would score in the series. Despite another spectacular pitching performance from Dravecky, who struck out eight while allowing only five hits and a single Cardinals run in six innings, the Giants fell in Game 6, 1-0.
They were blanked again in Game 7 (setting a dubious NLCS record with 22 straight innings of scoreless baseball). The Cards' Danny Cox pitched a complete game, and losing pitcher Hammaker gave up four in the second inning. The Giants emptied the bullpen, using six more pitchers in the game, but without any offense, the cause was hopeless. The Cardinals clinched the pennant with a 6-0 drubbing of the Giants at Busch Stadium.
Leonard, whose "one-flap-down" home trot was the story of the series, received the unusual, but somewhat hollow, honor of being named MVP in the losing cause. The Cardinals would later fall to the Twins in the 1987 World Series in seven games.
August 10, 1989: Dave Dravecky completes a miraculous recovery from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pitching arm and defeats the Reds in front of a teary-eyed Candlestick Park crowd. But in his next start, his arm snaps while delivering a pitch and later breaks again when he bumps into a teammate during the NLCS victory celebration. He retired after the season, and two years later, his arm was amputated.
October 9, 1989: NLCS Game 5 - Will Clark singles to drive in the game winning run in the bottom of the 8th vs the Chicago Cubs, sending the Giants to the World Series
"Twenty-seven years of waiting come to an end" when San Francisco heads for its first World Series in nearly three decades.
October 17, 1989: World Series Game 3 is halted by a 7.1 earthquake at 5:04PM - play resumes 10 days later, and the Giants get swept.