LA-NoCal’s Best Sports Rivalries – #1 Dodgers v Giants

This spring I did a few blog posts on the top LA-NoCal Rivalries (here and here) covering Numbers 2 through 5.  The rivalries had to be current (which eliminated football) and they were evaluated based on the quality of the teams, the rival being an obstacle to the other’s success and dramatic moments.

They were ranked as follows:

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  • Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Dodgers v Oakland A’s
  • #5: Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors
  • #4: Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings
  • #3: Los Angeles Galaxy v San Jose Earthquakes
  • #2: Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks

With the first place Dodgers heading to San Francisco to face the second place Giants, this is a good time to name the top rivalry – the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.  The two teams  will play each other in 6 of their last 16 games.  Go Dodgers!

206022834#1 Los Angeles Dodgers v. San Francisco Giants

Selecting the Dodgers and Giants as the top LA-NoCal rivalry is a no-brainer.  It is one of the top rivalries in baseball, if not all of sport.  It is a long and bitter rivalry.  Legend has it that greats Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays each refused to play for the other team late in their career. The rivalry, however, has as times spilled off the field and led to tragedy including two deaths.

While I have only lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, this is a rivalry that that goes way back as a kid for me. I grew up in the same neighborhood as Dodger great Davey Lopes but my best friend was named after Giant great Juan Marichal who threw a no-hitter on the day he was born and we always played Dodgers v Giants in various baseball board games.

Are They Good:

Both franchises continued their successful ways upon moving to California and both are in the middle of a resurgence.  One of the two teams has won the division 7 of the last 11 years and it appears to be likely to continue this year.

Dodgers

Giants

Division Titles

 12  8

Pennants

 9  5

World Series

 5  2

Are They an Obstacle:

The two teams are in a tight race for the division title. The Dodgers are 2 games ahead of the Giants whom they will play in 6 of their last 16 games. As Jim Caple explains in Giants-Dodgers best rivalry in Baseball on ESPN

The Giants and Dodgers also crush their rival’s hopes with the remorseless regularity of an IRS audit. Since the 1951 season, the Giants and Dodgers have finished first and second nine times, and within a couple games of each other and first place two other times. Almost as importantly, the Giants and Dodgers have frequently played spoilers to each other. In 1982 and 1991, the Giants beat the Dodgers the final weekend to keep Los Angeles out of the playoffs. The Dodgers returned the favor in 1993 and again last year.  Balkan nations don’t even the score among themselves that often.

Dramatic Moments

There is a lot to choose from here.

2012

The Dodgers and Giants met in the final series of the regular season. The Dodgers took 2 out of 3, but their 4–3 loss in game 2 of the series eliminated them from wild-card contention, giving the lower wild-card seed to St. Louis. The Giants went on to win the World Series

2001
Giants finished 2 games behind Diamondbacks in NL West as Dodgers took 2 of 3 in final series.

1993
Giants won 103 games, 1 back of Atlanta. L.A. knocks out S.F. with 12-1 win on final day.

1991
Dodgers finished 1 back of Braves. Eliminated as Giants take two straight in final series.

1982
Both enter final weekend 1 game behind Atlanta. Dodgers eliminate Giants with two wins, then Giants beat Dodgers on final day (Joe Morgan’s HR).

1971
Giants edge Dodgers by 1 game.

1966
Dodgers beat Giants by 1.5 games.

1965
Giants were 4 up with 12 to play … Dodgers went 11-1, Giants 5-7 and L.A. won pennant by 2 games.

1962
Tied for pennant; Giants won 3-game playoff, 2 to 1 (scored 4 runs in ninth inning of Game 3 to win, 6-4).

1959
Giants led Dodgers by 3 games on Sept. 6, but Dodgers finished 15-5, including 3-game sweep of S.F., to win pennant.

Of course, one of the most dramatic moments comes from their New York days.

Series Notes

Dodgers

Giants

671 (.482) New York Wins 722 (.518)
509 (.512) California Wins 486 (.488)
633-565-8 Home Record 643-547-9
10296
4.28/gm
Runs Scored 10389
4.32/gm
355 1-Run Wins
(30% of Total)
356
301 5+ Run Wins
(25% of Total)
303
100 Extra-Inning Wins*
(7 Ties)
88
180 Shutouts Thrown 171
311 Sept/Oct Wins
(5 Ties)
311
0 Tiebreaker Playoff Wins 2
10
7/12/1953-9/6/53
Longest Winning Streak 12
10/2/1937-7/4/38
21
8/6/1894
Most Runs Scored 26
4/30/1944
6 No-Hitters Thrown 2
Highest Scoring Game: 34 Runs
(Dodgers 19-15, 4/29/1930 & Giants 26-8, 4/30/1944)
Longest Game*: 17 Innings
(Dodgers 4-3, 9/4/1943)
 *Extra-inning game information incomplete; available for:
1894, ’99, 1901-02, ’04, ’09-Present
Season Series Records
1890s Giants 5-3-2 1960s Giants 6-1-3
1900s Giants 7-1-2 1970s Dodgers 6-1-3
1910s Giants 8-2 1980s Dodgers 7-2-1
1920s Giants 6-3-1 1990s Dodgers 4-3-3
1930s Giants 6-3-1 2000s Dodgers 6-3-1
1940s Dodgers 8-1-1 2010s Giants 3-0-1
1950s Dodgers 7-3 Totals Giants 54-51-19
1-2 Finishes
NL 1890-1968 NL West 1969-Present
Wild Card 1994-Present
1920 Dodgers by 7 games 1971 Giants by 1
1924 Giants by 1.5 1994 Dodgers by 3.5
1951 Giants by 1 (Playoff) 1997 Giants by 2
1952 Dodgers by 4.5 2000 Giants by 11
1954 Giants by 5 2002 Giants by 3.5 (WC)
1962 Giants by 1 (Playoff) 2003 Giants by 15.5
1965 Dodgers by 2 2004 Dodgers by 2
1966 Dodgers by 1.5 2012 Giants by 8
Season Finishes
Both teams finished .500 or better in the same season
48 times (39% of 124 seasons)
Both teams finished below .500 in the same season
7 times (6% of 124 seasons)
The Dodgers finished with a better record in 60 seasons
The Giants finished with a better record in 64 seasons
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