Jersey City Giants

From BR Bullpen


In 1937 the Jersey City Giants were previously known as the Albany Senators in the International League. Managed by Travis Jackson, the club was the worst in the IL, going 50-100 and finishing 58 games behind the Newark Bears. Glen Gabler led the IL in losses (12-24, 3.51) and John Meketi (5-14, 4.93) led the circuit in walks (129) but the team also had the ERA leader in Ben Cantwell (12-7, 1.65), a bright spot in a bad season.

In 1938 the club improved to 68-85 and the helm switched over to Hank DeBerry during the season. Shortstop George Myatt led the IL with 45 steals and former big-league star Babe Herman hit .324/~.396/.522 with 40 doubles. Again several pitchers led in positive or negative stats - Rollie Stiles led in innings (248), hits allowed (266) and shutouts (5) while Tom Baker was 8-22 with a 4.27 ERA and led in losses and walks issued (131).

The New York Giants farm club dazzled in 1939 under the leadership of Bert Niehoff. The Jersey City squad went 89-64, best in the IL, but the team failed to win the Governors' Cup after falling in the playoffs. OF Johnny Dickshot was the club's star, batting .355/~.411/.521, leading the IL in batting average and triples (16) and scoring 100 runs, while 2B Al Glossop provided the pop, hitting 19 of the team's 58 homers. Roy Joiner (21-8, 2.53) led the IL in ERA.

Niehoff remained in charge in 1940 for the Jersey City, NJ-based squadron but the team slipped to 81-78. Dickshot fell to .290/~.390/.441 and there was no standout pitcher. Sid Gordon played third base and batted .261/~.320/.361 with just 5 home runs.

In 1941 Jersey City fell back to the second division with a 74-76 finish under player-manager Tony Cuccinello. Gordon led the offense with a .304/~.396/.396 season, leading the club in average, walks (80) and steals (15, tied for the lead). Roy Henshaw (13-9, 2.34) was the ace pitcher. That year the team set a minor league attendance record when they drew 56,391 fans on April 17. The record has since been broken.

Jersey City returned to the playoff picture with a 4th-place 77-75 1942 season under Frank Snyder. Gordon remained with the club for a third year and batted .300/~.374/.410. Johnny Rucker, a regular with the parent club in both '41 and '43, led the IL with 34 doubles and topped the team with 26 steals. He hit .285/~.325/.382. The team had another ERA leader, Bobby Coombs (17-11, 1.99) while Sal Maglie went 9-6 on the mound with a 2.78 ERA. The Giants made the Governors Cup finals for the only time that season, but lost to the Syracuse Chiefs.

'43 witnessed the team's return to last place. The Giants went 60-93 with new manager Gabby Hartnett. The team hit .232, last in the IL, drew league-low 456 walks, stole a league-low 58 bases amd were last in doubles (135) and homers (22, no player with more than 5). Coombs fell to 10-9, 2.50 and Bill Voiselle (10-21, 3.18) led the IL in defeats. Lou Polli gave the club its fourth IL ERA leader in its 8 seasons.

Hartnett returned in 1944 and steered the team to a 5th-place 74-79 record. The team lacked a star performance or future big-league standout.

Hartnett's charges finished fifth again a year later, at 71-82. Maglie was 3-7 while Adrian Zabala (14-7, 3.21) was the top moundsman. As with the prior season, the war led to a constant shift in the roster.

The Giants almost lost 100 in their 10th season, going 57-96 under Bruno Betzel and finishing last for the third time in their first decade. The club got a big power season from 3B/OF Bobby Thomson, who was second in the IL with 26 homers and hit .280/~.342/.475; he led the team in average, runs (93), RBI (92) and steals (15).

In 1947 Betzel returned and the team went worst-to-first with a 94-60 mark before again falling in the first round of the playoffs. Myatt returned to play third and hit .303 while SS Virgil Stallcup batted .338 in 78 games. Jack Graham cranked out 34 long balls and Les Layton added 20 more to lead the league's top-scoring offense. Jake Wade (17-5, 2.51) was the ace of a fine staff.

The Giants fell back to 7th in 1948 as they went 69-83 for Betzel. 1B and future major-league pitcher Jack Harshman drew 104 walks and hit 24 homers while batting .245.

Joe Becker became manager of the club for 1949 and he piloted the team to a 83-71, 4th-place finish. The top players all spent just part of the season with the team - Jack Lohrke hit .302/~.359/.476 in 81 games, Monte Irvin .373/~.513/.642 in 66 contests and Wes Westrum .308/~.435/.657 in 51 outings. The top pitchers were Roger Bowman (15-9, 3.39) and Andy Tomasic (14-8, 3.05).

The final season for the Jersey City Giants was almost a repeat of 1949 - 4th place under Joe Becker, this time with an 81-70 record. Irvin spent 18 games with the team and hit .510/.691/1.22 wiith 10 homers, 28 runs, 29 walks and 33 RBI. Bowman (16-11, 3.71) led the IL in innings (233) and strikeouts (181) while 2B Pete Pavlick scored 101 runs and stole an IL-high 23 steals.

Attendance had been dropping at Roosevelt Stadium for some time and after 1950 the club was moved to Ottawa, ON and became the Ottawa Giants.

Source: "The International League: Year-by-Year Statistics" by Marshall Wright

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1937 50-100 8th Travis Jackson
1938 68-85 7th Travis Jackson (37-47) / Hank DeBerry (31-38)
1939 89-64 1st Bert Niehoff Lost in 1st round
1940 81-78 3rd Bert Niehoff Lost in 1st round
1941 74-76 5th Tony Cuccinello
1942 77-75 4th Frank Snyder Lost League Finals
1943 60-93 8th Gabby Hartnett
1944 74-79 5th Gabby Hartnett
1945 71-82 5th Gabby Hartnett
1946 57-96 8th Bruno Betzel
1947 94-60 1st Bruno Betzel Lost in 1st round
1948 69-83 7th Bruno Betzel
1949 83-71 4th Joe Becker Lost in 1st round
1950 81-70 4th Joe Becker Lost in 1st round