The San Francisco Giants are one of the most storied franchises in the history of Major League Baseball. From their days dominating baseball in New York as the Gothams to their transition to the Gold Coast, the team has provided priceless memories for baseball fans since 1883. Throughout those years, the team has won the National League pennant 23 times and won eight World Series titles (five in New York and three in San Francisco). When a team has been around for over a century, there’s a fair share of stars and sluggers.
Here are the 5 greatest San Francisco Giants sluggers of all time
#5 Buster Posey
While his 158 home runs don’t scream slugger, Posey’s accomplishments at the catching position en-route to leading the San Francisco Giants to three World Series titles deserves recognition. No catcher was as offensively dominant in the 2010s, and due to the rigors of the position, Posey belongs on this list.
#4 Matt Williams
A third baseman who is likely best known by younger fans for his heroics as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks club that won the World Series in 2001, Williams had his best seasons with the Giants. Williams hit 247 of his 378 career home runs in San Francisco and would have likely had a career that was more legendary had it not been for the Major League Baseball player’s strike in 1994. That season, Williams was crushing the ball at a prolific and historic rate, as he was on pace to compete with New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris’s then-record 61 home runs as he had 43 home runs and 110 runs batted in through 115 games. Williams would go on to have an unsuccessful career as a manager in his post-playing days. However, he will always be remembered by the San Francisco Giants for his ability to crush the ball.
#3 Willie McCovey
McCovey’s career is littered with accomplishments and accolades. He was named to the National League All-Star team six times, won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1969, and was a first-ballot inductee to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. However, the greatest accomplishment of McCovey’s career as a member of the San Francisco Giants was the naming of McCovey Cove outside of Oracle Park, a body of water that catches home runs that are hit so hard they physically leave the ballpark and splash into the bay. McCovey led the league in home runs three times for the San Francisco Giants and was an integral part of creating a generation of new fans for the club as they completed their manifest destiny expansion to the West Coast. McCovey slugged 469 home runs for the franchise.
#2 Barry Bonds
During his days as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Barry Bonds was considered anything but a slugger. The outfielder averaged around 25 home runs per year in the first portion of his career, and was more well-known for his speed. However, all of that changed when he came to San Francisco, the franchise that brought his father and godfather to the Major Leagues. Bonds would go onto mash 586 career home runs as a Giant, good enough for second all-time on the team’s list and giving him 762 for the totality of his career. While Bonds is regarded as one of the most fearsome sluggers in the entirety of baseball, his work with the San Francisco Giants (though tainted) is second to only to one man.
#1 Willie Mays
The godfather of #2 on the list, Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player to ever play in a San Francisco Giants uniform. Having been a member of both the New York Giants and San Francisco Giants, Mays brought a level of clout, swagger, and credibility with him to California. The deck was stacked against Mays as he entered the Major Leagues. After spending two years of his prime in the Negro Leagues, Mays entered a league that was still in the infancy of integration. He had to play his home games in the Polo Grounds, a massively spacious ballpark, before moving to the equally pitcher-friendly Candlestick Park. Combine that with losing two seasons due to being drafted by the US Army to serve in the Korean War, and it’s very likely the Mays would be holding the all-time home run record instead of his godson Bonds. Regardless, the 24-time National League All-Star crushed 646 of his 660 home runs with the Giants, making him the best slugger in team history.