a World Series MVP trophy to go along with the San Francisco Giants’ World Series trophy. Now he has yet another honor — the big lefty has been named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.Madison Bumgarner already had
Bumgarner was historically great in the postseason, pitching a record 52.2 innings with an incredible 1.03 ERA. His performance in the decisive World Series Game 7, in which he came out of the bullpen on two days’ rest and pitched the final five innings, not allowing a run, may have been the most gutsy individual sports performance of 2014.
Bumgarner is the first San Francisco Giant and the seventh MLB pitcher (Johnny Podres ’55, Sandy Koufax ’65, Tom Seaver ’69, Orel Hershiser ’88, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson ’01) to win the award. In all, there have been 15 baseball selections — 14 players and the 2004 Boston Red Sox. The most recent was Derek Jeter in ’09.
“It’s easy to mythologize the small-town sports hero. Baseball, especially, is full of them,” Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Chris Stone said. “Madison Bumgarner isn’t the Sportsman of the Year because he’s from a tiny town, but that town goes a long way toward defining who he is and it gives his story a different texture from past Sportsmen. And while he’s been an outstanding pitcher for the last five years, his Sportsman candidacy was so sudden and seemingly out of nowhere that it makes him the most unique Sportsman in recent memory.”
In a year that featured Olympians, Tim Howard, the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl and the Spurs winning another NBA championship, big lanky Bumgarner stood the tallest. That gutsy Game 7 performance was immortal before, but Sports Illustrated just helped cement it a little bit more.
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