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01/20/11 5:30 PM EST
Giants head East with World Series ware
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are embracing the opportunity to share their present success with their rich past. A coterie of club officials, including managing general partner Bill Neukom and president Larry Baer, departed Thursday for New York, where the franchise sprang to life in 1883 as the Gothams. On Friday and Saturday, the Giants' contingent will display the World Series trophy -- symbolizing the franchise's first championship since it moved to San Francisco in 1958 -- at various public and private functions. "We think it's pretty unique to return to our roots," Baer said. "The New York Giants carry a tremendous signature still in New York." Honoring their heritage has been a perpetual and proud activity for the Giants. The design of their home jerseys is virtually identical to the ones worn by Bobby Thomson when he hit his "Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951 and by Willie Mays when he ran down Vic Wertz's drive to center field in 1954 -- the year of the Giants' last World Series triumph until they ousted the Texas Rangers in five games to end the 2010 season. Last June, they retired Monte Irvin's No. 20, though the former outfielder never played a day for San Francisco. It's fitting that Mays, the Giants' most iconic player whose greatness spanned both coasts, will participate in the New York trophy display. In what Baer called an instance of "nice symmetry," Mays is expected to appear Friday at the Arthur Tappan School (PS 46) at Eighth Avenue and 155th Street -- near the site of the fifth version of Polo Grounds, where the Giants played from 1911-57. Students at the middle school will watch a brief video of the history of the Giants at the Polo Grounds and of Mays, followed by a question-and-answer session with the Hall of Fame center fielder and middle school students. Having brought the trophy to thousands of fans at numerous towns and cities outside San Francisco this month, the Giants will do the same for their New York-area faithful. By the way, New Yorkers will see a well-rested trophy. It occupied its own first-class seat as the Giants party flew East. Saturday, the trophy will be on display for fans to observe and pose for pictures with at the Hilton New York (Rendezvous Trianon Room, third floor, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and at Finnerty's tavern (221 2nd Ave. between 13th and 14th streets, 3-5 p.m.). Large crowds are expected at each site. A multitude of Giants fans remain in New York, including many who inherited their allegiance from parents and grandparents who rooted for the team when it inhabited the Polo Grounds. One such follower is Michael Weinberg, 54, who saw his first ballgame with his father, Morris, in 1963 at the Polo Grounds -- a Giants-Mets clash. "To quote Mike Krukow, I learned early on what the Good Book San Francisco Giants were all about," Weinberg said. Two organizations of fans devoted to celebrating Giants past and present, the New York Giants Baseball Club and the New York Baseball Giants Nostalgia Society, will view the trophy at a private reception. "This is the culminating event in my sports life," said Gary Mintz of Long Island, a Giants fan since 1969 who's a Baseball Club member. A particularly enthusiastic crowd is expected at Finnerty's, where throngs gathered to watch each Giants postseason game. Co-owner Dieter Seelig explained that his establishment became an unofficial haven for Giants fans through word of mouth, which was amplified by social networking outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Fans of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers began convening in 2009 at the pub, encouraged by a bartender with ties to the team. As the Giants surged to the postseason, transplanted San Franciscans and 49ers supporters doubling as baseball fans gravitated toward Finnerty's. "It's really hysterical," said Seelig, who compared the scene at his bar for each postseason game to a St. Patrick's Day crowd. "We weren't expecting this type of response. But we couldn't have been more overjoyed." After the Giants concluded their Series triumph, several of Seelig's customers told him that they intended to fly to San Francisco to join the citywide revelry, which culminated in a Nov. 3 parade. "'Dedication' doesn't describe what you guys are," an impressed Seelig said. The weekend's San Francisco flavor will continue Saturday night at the annual dinner of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association back at the Hilton New York, where the trophy again will be on display. Fans can view it and pose for photos with it during the cocktail hour, which begins at 6 p.m. Giants catcher Buster Posey will be on hand to receive his National League Rookie of the Year award, and right-hander Tim Lincecum will be named winner of the Babe Ruth Award as the Most Valuable Player of the postseason.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.