The San Jose Giants have enjoyed a remarkable run of success over the last decade unmatched by any franchise in the long history of the California League. The Giants became the first team to win four championships (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) over a six-year span while also establishing a league record with seven straight first half North Division titles from 2005-2011. Then last year, despite falling short in the Championship Series, San Jose set another California League record by reaching the playoffs for a 10th straight season.
San Jose's current streak of 10 consecutive years of reaching the playoffs eclipsed the Stockton Ports' run of nine straight seasons from 1985-1993 for the longest in California League history. The Giants' streak started in 2004 and has included eight first half crowns, five North Division championships and four league titles. San Jose has also finished with the best regular season record in the California League six times during this span, including last year's 83-57 mark. The Giants have had four different managers during the streak (Lenn Sakata, Steve Decker, Brian Harper and Andy Skeels).
67 San Jose Giants (and counting…) during the 10-year playoff streak have gone onto play in the major leagues. Notable future big leaguers from these San Jose playoff teams:
2004 - Matt Cain, Fred Lewis, Jeremy Accardo, Nate Schierholtz
2005 - Nate Schierholtz, Travis Ishikawa, Kevin Frandsen, Jonathan Sanchez
2006 - Tim Lincecum, Alex Hinshaw, John Bowker, Alfredo Simon
2007 - Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo, Travis Ishikawa, Emmanuel Burriss
2008 - Pablo Sandoval, Brett Pill, Dan Otero
2009 - Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Nick Noonan
2010 - Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Juan Perez
2011 - Zack Wheeler, Jake Dunning, Heath Hembree
2012 - None yet
2013 - None yet
In addition to San Jose, the Modesto Nuts are in the midst of a long playoff streak having qualified for the postseason in seven straight seasons. Lake Elsinore's streak of eight consecutive years in the playoffs ended last season.
Of note, the California League changed their playoff format in 1995 expanding the postseason from four to six teams (first half and second half winners along with a wild card team from each division). From 1959-1978, only two clubs qualified for the playoffs although in those days, there were anywhere from just six-to-eight teams in the entire California League.
Longest Playoff Streaks In California League History
10 years, San Jose Giants, 2004-present
9 years, Stockton Ports, 1985-1993
8 years, Lake Elsinore Storm, 2005-2012
7 years, Modesto Nuts, 2007-present
6 years, San Jose Red Sox, 1949-1954
6 years, Visalia Oaks, 1978-1983
6 years, San Bernardino Stampede/Inland Empire 66ers, 1999-2004
Since becoming a Giants affiliate in 1988, San Jose has reached the postseason 20 times in 26 years. Prior to 1988, the franchise enjoyed just two playoff appearances over a 19-year period (1969-87).
The Giants begin their quest for a league record 11th straight playoff appearance on Thursday, April 3 in Rancho Cucamonga. San Jose starts the year with a seven-game road trip against the Quakes and Lancaster JetHawks before opening the home portion of their schedule on Thursday, April 10.