The final National League team we look at in our Best Seasons series is the San Francisco Giants. Like the Dodgers, the Giants are a team with a long and storied history. The franchise dates back to 1883 and has played 138 seasons of Major League Baseball.
In that time, the Giants have won eight World Series and 23 pennants. That amount of success again makes it difficult to determine which season will go down as the best in franchise history. There are seven seasons in Giants' history in which the team won 100 or more games. Only one of those seasons saw the team win the World Series - 1905.
But the season that I'm going with is 1962, and for one reason: Willie Mays. The 1905 team won 105 games and the World Series while the 1962 team won 103 games and lost the World Series. But when you think of the Giants, you think of Willie Mays.
Given the marginal difference in terms of wins and the fact that the playoff success is random and doesn't always reflect the better team, I've decided to go with the 1962 team as the best in Giants' history.
A 103-win season is pretty impressive, and when you have a player of Mays' caliber on your team, it's hard not to have a good season. Mays finished the year batting .304/.384/.615 with 49 home runs and 141 RBIs. Somehow he finished second in the MVP voting to a guy that hit .299 with just six home runs and 48 RBIs. I don't get it.
Anyway, Mays' season was fantastic. It was the third-most home runs and most RBIs he ever had in a season during his 22-year career.
That year of course earned him an All-Star selection, along with Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Jim Davenport and Felipe Alou. Three of those players - Mays, Cepeda and Marichal - are now Hall of Famers. Not to mention fellow Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who played in 91 games that year. Mays and Cepeda each started for the National League in the All-Star Game.
As a team, the Giants led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and RBIs while finishing second in home runs.
The Giants led the entire league in wins in 1962, finishing with seven more wins than the New York Yankees. The Yankees would go on the win a seven-game World Series, but no one can deny the talent that the Giants put on the field in '62.
With a combination of Mays and the four other All-Stars around him, there was no stopping the Giants in the 1962 regular season. In my opinion, they will go down as the best team to take the field for San Francisco.