One of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports is the Giants and Dodgers. These two proud franchises have been going at it for well over 100 years. First it was New York vs. Brooklyn. Now it’s San Francisco vs. Los Angeles. There’s no love lost between them. Victories over each other are sweeter than those over any other team. Even when they’re not going head-to-head it feels good when their arch-rival loses. If you’re a Giants’ fan, hating the Dodgers is a way of life (and vice versa).
I grew up a Giants’ fan. In the 1960s it was Mays, McCovey, and Marichal, with a few other Hall of Famer caliber players thrown in. I discovered early in life that the Dodgers were a special opponent. For one thing I knew that the two teams had transplanted to the West Coast at the same time. They always seemed to be battling for the pennant every season both before and after they left New York. It didn’t hurt that the only games televised in the Bay Area were when the Giants played in LA.
The teams were different in their first decade on the West Coast. It was the Giants’ offense against the Dodgers’ defense. The Giants had power hitters throughout their lineup. The Dodgers relied on speed and pitching. San Francisco’s Willie Mays and Willie McCovey were home run hitters extraordinaire while Los Angeles maintained the awesome 1-2 pitching punch of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, and speed demons Maury Wills and Willie Davis.
The other difference, galling to Giants’ fans, is that the Dodgers won pennants and World Series while the Giants didn’t. The Dodgers took home world championships in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1988, and were in four other World Series. In their first 52 seasons in San Francisco the Giants had three World Series appearances and exactly zero world titles. Dodger fans were never hesitant to rub it in.