1952 in a Box

Giants Checking In:  Marc Hill, Elsberry, MO

                                    Al Holland, Roanoke, VA

                                    Mike Ivie, Atlanta, GA

                                    Mike Krukow, Long Beach, CA

                                    Butch Metzger, Lafayette, IN


Giants Checking Out:  Red Dooin, Rochester, NY

                                    Arlie Latham, Garden City, NY

                                    Fred Tenney, Boston, MA

                                    Zeke Wrigley, Philadelphia, PA



Record:  92-62, 2nd in the National League, 4.5 games behind Brooklyn

Pythagorean Record:  86-68, (722 runs scored, 639 runs allowed) 3rd in the National League

General Manager:  Charles “Chub” Feeney

Manager:  Leo Durocher (5th season, 390-308, .559, through 1952)

Ballpark:  Polo Grounds V    Attendance:  984,940 (3rd in the National League)

Full House:  Friday, July 4, vs. Brooklyn, 49,443

Friends & Family:  Thursday, September 25, vs. Boston, 1,269

Park Factors:  Batting – 101, Pitching – 99  (Over 100 favors batters, under 100 favors pitchers)


Days in First Place:  15, last on May 30

Best Month:  May, 20-6, .769

Worst Month:  August, 16-16, .500

Largest Margin of Victory:  beat Chicago, 17-4, June 3 at Wrigley Field

Largest Margin of Defeat:  lost to St. Louis, 14-4, September 14 at the Polo Grounds

Longest Winning Streak:  7, April 29 to May 5 and May 21 to May 28

Longest Losing Streak:  6, August 7 to August 13

Longest Game:  15 innings, August 5, beat Brooklyn, 7-6, at the Polo Grounds

Loved to Face:  Cincinnati, 16-6, .727

Hated to Face:  Philadelphia, 10-12, .455


Most Home Runs:  Bobby Thomson, 24

Highest OBP:  Wes Westrum, .374

Highest OPS+:  Bobby Thomson, 122

Most Stolen Bases:  Al Dark, 6

Highest Position Player WAR:  Al Dark, 5.8

Different Batting Orders:  78


Most Innings Pitched:  Jim Hearn, 223.2

Most Strikeouts by a Pitcher:  Sal Maglie, 112

Best Starter ERA+:  Sal Maglie, 127

Best Reliever ERA+:  Hoyt Wilhelm, 152

Highest Pitcher WAR:  Sal Maglie, 4.3

Complete Games:  49

Shutouts:  11


Career Best Seasons:  George Bamberger, Al Corwin, Davey Williams

Career Worst Seasons:  Bob Elliott, Ray Noble, Mario Picone, George Spencer


All-Stars:  Al Dark, Jim Hearn, Monte Irvin, Whitey Lockman, Sal Maglie, Bobby Thomson, Wes Westrum

Received MVP Votes:  Hoyt Wilhelm (4th), Al Dark (12th), Whitey Lockman (14th), Bobby Thomson (16th), Sal Maglie (23rd), Monte Irvin (31st)

Received Rookie-of-the-Year Votes: Hoyt Wilhelm (2nd)


Rookies: Jack Harshman, Ray Katt, Dusty Rhodes, Daryl Spencer, Hoyt Wilhelm

Say Hello To: Bill Connelly, Chuck Diering, Bob Elliott, Hal Gregg, Jack Harshman, Bill Howerton, Ray Katt, Dusty Rhodes, Daryl Spencer, Dick Wakefield, Hoyt Wilhelm, George Wilson

Say Goodbye To: George Bamberger, Roger Bowman, Chuck Diering, Bob Elliott, Hal Gregg, Jack Harshman, Clint Hartung, Bill Howerton, Dick Wakefield


Playing Time:

Youngsters (25 or under):  2,217 PAs (37.6%);  146 IP (10.6%)  CF Willie Mays, 21, is youngest

Prime (26-29):  2,075 PAs (35.2%);   195 IP (14.2%)

Past-Prime (30-33):  1,050 PAs (17.8%)   677 IP (49.4%)

Old Timers (34+):  551 PAs (9.4%)   353 IP (25.7%)   P Max Lanier, 36, is oldest



Specs (Bill Rigney)

The Flying Scot (Bobby Thomson)

Whitey (Carroll Lockman)

Blackie (Al Dark)

Mr. Team (Bob Elliott)

Mandrake the Magician (Don Mueller)

Dusty (James Rhodes)

Say Hey Kid (Willie Mays)

Mr. Murder (Monte Irvin)

Floppy (Clint Hartung)

Hopalong (Bill Howerton)

Big Dee (Daryl Spencer)

The Barber (Sal Maglie)

Old Sarge (Hoyt Wilhelm)

Wild Bill (Connelly)

Skeets (Hal Gregg)




Key Transaction:  On April 8, 1952, traded Sheldon Jones and $50,000 to the Boston Braves for Bob Elliott.

Top Prospect:  Daryl Spencer, SS, Minneapolis Millers, .294/.366/.524, 27 HR




Minor League Affiliates:


Minneapolis Millers (AA)



Nashville Volunteers (SOUA)



Jacksonville Tars (SALL)

Sioux City Soos (WL)


Knoxville Smokies (TRIS)

Sunbury Giants (ISLG)



Muskogee Giants (WA)

St. Cloud Rox (NORL)



Big Stone Gap Rebels (MTSS)

Kingsport Cherokees (APPY)

Moultrie Giants (GAFL)

Oshkosh Giants (WISL)

Pauls Valley Raiders (SOSL)

Statesville Owls (NCSL)



Memorable Quotation:  “In all my years in baseball, I’ve never questioned the integrity of the umpires.” — Giant manager Leo Durocher, lying, in a public apology forced upon him by National League President Warren Giles as the alternative to a multi-game suspension.


What Went Right:  The club generally played well, although their record was better than one would have expected from their run differential. Two important rookies arrived. Twenty-nine-year-old Hoyt Wilhelm would hit a home run in his first plate appearance (the only one of a 21-year career). Then he would use his knuckleball to become the Giants’ best reliever. Dusty Rhodes, a cheerful, muscular Alabaman with the fielding ability of a fire hydrant, would become Leo Durocher’s favorite pinch hitter.


What Went Wrong:  No miracle was to follow that of 1951, perhaps because fate and Uncle Sam conspired to mess things up. First, Monte Irvin broke his ankle in Denver in April during an exhibition game against Cleveland and missed most of the season. Then the United States Army hurt the Giants a second time by drafting Willie Mays on May 29. Upon Mays’s departure, the Giants lost eight of ten and fell out of first place to stay, creating the myth that many of his teammates would come to fervently believe: with Willie in the lineup, we win; without him, we lose.



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