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A Giant Among Giants

Updated on November 3, 2014

Skim through the record books and you will find an alternative name atop numerous lists after this postseason. Four years ago when the San Francisco Giants won their first World Series since 1954, Madison Bumgarner was their modest number four starter, with a 7-6 record and a 3.00 ERA in the regular season. Time Lincecum was the ace of this staff who has now been reverted to long inning relief in the playoffs. As for Bumgarner, he has also changed drastically since then. If his climb to the ace of a pitching staff that includes 3 Cy Young Awards, 15 All-Star game appearances, and numerous other accolades wasn’t enough, Bumgarner himself became an All-Star this year for the second time in a season where he finished an outstanding 18-10 with an ERA of 2.98 in 33 starts.

And that’s just the beginning.

What Bumgarner pulled off in the playoffs and World Series hasn’t been seen for a long time and won’t be seen again for possibly even longer. The 25 year old lefty baffled every team he faced, including the red-hot Kansas City Royals. Bumgarner went 4-1 in the playoffs with a five inning save in game seven. Yes, you read that correct. A five INNING save, not a five out save. Not only did he perform exceptionally well in game seven, but he also did this extraordinary feat on merely two days’ rest. Not only did he do it on two days’ rest, but also directly after he became the first player since Josh Beckett in 2003 to throw a complete game shutout in the World Series.

Greatest World Series Pitching Performances

Team and Year
Innings Pitched
Christy Matthewson
1905 Giants
Bob Gibson
1967 Cardinals
Lew Burdette
1957 Braves
Stan Coveleski
1920 Indians
Madison Bumgarner
2014 Giants
2-0 (One Save)
Waite Hoyt
1921 Yankees
Madison Bumgarner's World Series effort rivals the greatest aces of all time.

Throughout the World Series, Bumgarner went 2-0 with a save in two starts and three appearances. He was involved in three of their four wins, becoming the clear-cut World Series MVP. (The last pitcher to win World Series MVP was Cole Hamels in 2008.) Bumgarner won both World Series MVP and NLCS MVP, which has only been done four times in the history of baseball. What Madison Bumgarner did in this series was unfathomable. The 6’5” stud’s 0.25 lifetime World Series ERA stands at first place all time in baseball history. His WHIP and hits per nine innings is yet another fall classic record in his possession.

Madison Bumgarner serves as an inspiration to anyone not only in Major League Baseball, but also to any athlete at any level of sport. He has come so far and is still only in his sixth season of his promising career. Pitching in a staff with the struggling veterans Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson, and Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong who are not up to par, Bumgarner was and perhaps will remain to be the shining star for the San Fran Giants. No matter what Bumgarner does for the rest of his career, his achievements in the 2014 fall classic will never be forgotten. Put in the words of Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt, “I don’t really have word to describe it.” That’s exactly how I see it too: Indescribable, and absolutely astonishing.

Bumgarner on Winning the World Series

The building of a Dynasty

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      Ryan McClelland 3 years ago

      Great article! Well done young man.

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      Tyler Helsabeck 3 years ago from York, PA

      Thanks MC Besecker!

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      MC Besecker 3 years ago

      Excellent article... Clever insights! Keep 'em coming, Mr. Helsabeck!