Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 2nd, 2010
World Series Winner With The Cryptid Name
The San Francisco Giants won the Major League Baseball World Series on November 1, 2010, by beating the Texas Rangers.
The Giants. Think about it. The name definitely has its origins in cryptozoology.
The San Francisco Giants use to be the New York Giants. What do you think “Giants” are?
Perchance you have noted that some human-oriented histories credit an American baseball pioneer with the Giants moniker? James J. Mutrie (June 13, 1851 – January 24, 1938), who was the co-founder and first manager of the New York Giants, is said, by some, to have named the team the “Giants.” Mutrie managed the New York Metropolitans (later, the Mets) in 1883 and 1884, leading them to the 1884 World Series. In 1885, he switched to managing the Gothams, and is credited with giving that team their nickname, the Giants. The story goes that he called the Gothams, “my Giants.” The Giants won National League pennants and World Series titles under Mutrie in 1888 and 1889.
Of course, what must be acknowledged is that the use of the word “Giants” did not merely issue from the ether. In New England-New York, a long colonial history of interactions with Native peoples resulted in a heightened awareness of “Giants.” The baseball people adopted the name “Giants” from its greater cultural context.
In New York State, the “Stone Giants,” those giant hairy hominoids who rolled in pitch and covered their bodies with rocks and stones, were part of the folkloric landscape. Other American Indian names for the Giants were often given within their groups, as well, whether they be Misabe, Chenoo, or Messing. Each of the so-called tribes, the First Peoples, had special words for the True Giants they knew who were part of their natural history. For example, the Lenni Lenape People regarded the Giant Messing as a protector of the forest.
Mutrie was raised in the midst of the 19th century, surrounded by Giant lore, in Massachusetts and New York. When Mutrie was 29, he moved from New England to New York. After leaving baseball late in his life, Mutrie operated a hotel in Elmira, New York (the location of many Black Panther and red-eyed Forest Giant sightings) and a newsstand on Staten Island. He died of cancer on Roosevelt Island in New York City at age 86.
The Sea Dogs too
The 2010 World Series Most Valuable Player Award was won by SF Giants’ Edgar Rentería (born August 7, 1975, in Barranquilla, Colombia). He use to play baseball in Portland, Maine, as a minor leaguer, a member of the Sea Dogs (a decidedly cryptid name, by the way). Renteria hit two home runs, batted .400, and played outstanding defense at shortstop during the Series. In Game Five of the 2010 World Series, Renteria hit a three-run home run for his second career game-winning hit in a World Series clinching game, an achievement matched only by Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra in baseball history.
News on Book Title
The title of my new book on Giants has been changed a bit and finalized, to reflect the serious nature of the study and the underlying scope of the text.
The forthcoming book by Mark A. Hall and Loren Coleman is now entitled, True Giants: Is Gigantopithecus Still Alive?, from Anomalist Books. It will be out before December 2010. Watch Anomalist Books for updates and more news.
Illustrations seen throughout this posting are by Richard Doyle, from The Story of Jack and the Giants, 1851.
For more on another closely related name game, see the “Fayette Factor.”