On June 15, 1940, New York Giants catcher Harry Danning hit for the cycle in a game against Pittsburgh. His home run was an inside-the-park home run that landed 460 feet on the fly in front of the Giants’ clubhouse, wedged behind the Eddie Grant memorial at the Polo Grounds. Pittsburgh center fielder Vince DiMaggio was not able to free it in time to catch Danning rounding the bases.
Having shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants since 1913, the Yankees began construction on their ballpark in the Bronx on May 22, 1922. The stadium would become known as the ‘House that Ruth Built,’ due to Babe Ruth’s popularity and influence.
If I was traded to the Giants, I’d quit baseball.
William DeWolf Hopper was an American actor, singer, comedian, and theatrical producer during the late-19th and into the early-20th centuries. Born in New York Citty, DeWolf Hopper grew to become a star of vaudeville and musical theater, but he became best known for performing the popular baseball poem “Casey at the Bat.”
A lifelong baseball enthusiast and New York Giants fan, Hopper first performed Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s then-unknown poem “Casey at the Bat” to the Giants and Chicago Cubs on August 14, 1888. Co-performer Digby Bell called Hopper “the biggest baseball crank that ever lived. Physically, of course, he is a corker, but when I say big I mean big morally and intellectually. Why, he goes up to the baseball [Polo] grounds at One Hundred and Fifty-fifth street after the matinees on Saturday, and he travels this six miles simply to see, perhaps, the two final innings, and any one can imagine the rapidity with which he must scrape off the makeup and get into his street clothes in order to secure even this much. But he says the Garrison finishes are worth it, and he is perfectly right. Hopper always was a baseball crank, long before the public knew anything about it.”
Hopper helped make Thayer’s poem famous and was often called upon to give his colorful, melodramatic recitation, which he did about 10,000 times over the course of his career.
You know we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.
~Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams
On October 23, 1951, Associated Press named New York Giants skipper Leo Durocher as the Manager of the Year. Under Durocher’s leadership, the Giants rallied from a 13 1/2-game deficit in mid-August to win the National League pennant. New York’s comeback was capped off against the Dodgers, in a three-game playoff series best remembered for Bobby Thomson’s fabled home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the deciding game at the Polo Grounds.
On September 24, 1922, Cardinals outfielder Rogers Hornsby hit two home runs off Giant hurlers — one each off brothers Jesse Barnes and Virgil Barnes. The blasts enabled Hornsby to set what was, at the time, the National League record for round-trippers in a season with 42.
On September 16, 1922 (some sources have the year down as 1923), Cincinnati Reds pitcher Adolfo Luque became so angry over the bench jockeying coming from the Giants bench that he set the ball and his glove down on the mound, then charged straight into the New York dugout. Luque punched Casey Stengel, believing Stengel to be the primary instigator behind the taunting. Luque was ordered to return to his bench by the police, who were attempting to subdue the reaction of the Polo Grounds crowd.
In the ninth inning of a game played on June 20, 1912, the New York Giants and Boston Braves scored a whopping 17 runs combined. New York scored seven runs in the top of the frame, and the Braves scored ten runs in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately for Boston, this wasn’t enough to rally back as they lost the contest, 21-12.
Christy Mathewson threw the second no-hitter of his career on June 13, 1905 to defeat the Chicago Orphans, 1-0. The Giants pitcher threw the no-no at West Side Ground in Chicago, where he and Mordecai Brown actually both had no-hitters going up until the ninth inning. In the top of the ninth, New York finally tapped Brown for two hits, thus stopping his bid for the feat.