212: Horace Stoneham & the New York Giants - With Steve Treder
Baseball historian Steve Treder ("Forty Years a Giant: The Life of Horace Stoneham") steps up to the plate this week to delve into the oft-overlooked contributions of influential San Francisco (née New York) Giants owner Horace Stoneham - who quietly stewarded the storied National League franchise through four turbulent decades of baseball history (1936-76).
Inheriting the club at the tender age of 32 from his father after his death in 1936, Stoneham actually began his tenure with the Manhattan-based Giants (and its sprawling multi-sport Polo Grounds venue) twelve years earlier as an apprentice - working his way up from lowly ticketing assistant to (legendary field manager) John McGraw confidante by the early 1930s.
Despite winning only four NL pennants (including the famous 1951 "Shot Heard 'Round the World") and just one World Series title (1954) while in New York, Stoneham more significantly impacted the team's legacy and the game's future off the field. In the mid-1940s when the Pacific Coast League was angling to gain Major League status, few except Stoneham and Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey took it seriously; twelve years later, the Giants and Dodgers became the first teams to boldly relocate westward. Stoneham was also an early pioneer in racial integration: he signed Negro League stars Monte Irvin and Hank Thompson in 1949 (enabling the Giants to become the second-ever MLB club to break the color barrier); and he hired the majors' first-ever Spanish-speaking scout to help find and develop Latin American players.