Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner has been named the 2014 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, the first Giants player to do so.
The Giants lefty put on a legendary performance in 2014. He earned two World Series wins and a five-inning save in Game 7 — on two days rest — to lead his team to its third world championship in five years.
In 2014, he started 40 games and threw 270 innings, including a record 52-2⁄3 innings just in the postseason.
Bumgarner will be linked to the 2014 season for his October alone. Bumgarner struck out 45 batters, threw two shutouts and saved a game while posting a 1.03 ERA during the postseason. Nobody has ever done all that before in October.
Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Chris Stone marveled at the emergence of Bumgarner:
“It’s easy to mythologize the small-town sports hero. Baseball, especially, is full of them. 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.”
Since 1954, Sports Illustrated editors have annually presented the Sportsman of the Year Award to the athlete, team or coach who transcended the year in sports by achieving the highest level of athletic excellence, while demonstrating the ideals of sportsmanship.
Bumgarner becomes part of a group that includes, among others, Muhammad Ali, Joe Montana, LeBron James, Jack Nicklaus, Peyton Manning and Billie Jean King.
The 25-year-old will be honored on Tuesday in New York City during a celebration that includes a tribute to Mo’Ne Davis, the 2014 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKid of the Year, and Magic Johnson, the Sportsman Legacy Award winner.