L to R: Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence
But the humble Bumgarner will tell you as well as all Giants players and management, they credit their success as a team effort.
For example, 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval batted .366 with 26 hits. Right fielder and media darling Hunter Pence batted .333 with 22 hits. If Bumgarner hadn't overwhelmed with his cyborg like statistics: 52.2 innings pitched, 7 appearances, 6 of them starts (including a complete game shutout), a stingy 1.03 ERA, Pence or Sandoval would have been a shoo-in for World Series or NLCS MVP.
Pitching, defense and "small ball" were the key components for the Giants to capture World Series titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014. In the photo for this blog entry, 3 of the 4 players - Bumgarner, Sandoval, and Posey have played on all 3 championship teams. None are yet at the age of 30. Pence, with 2 World Series rings, is the oldest at 31.
So I'll close out with my favorite highlights of the San Francisco's 2014 post season run to the World Series.
NLCS, Game 5, bottom 9th inning.
Left fielder (natural 1st baseman) Travis Ishikawa hits a 3-run walk-off home run to win the National League pennant. See October 17 blog entry.
World Series, Game 7, top 3rd inning.
Rookie 2nd baseman Joe Panik dives for a smash off Kansas City's Eric Hosmer. Not only does Panik stop the ball, he flips the ball from his glove hand to shortstop Brandon Crawford to force out baserunner Lorenzo Cain. Crawford is then able to relay a strong throw to 1st baseman Brandon Belt. The initial call of safe at 1st base is overturned and changed to a double play. The momentum the Royals had gathered until the double play suddenly ended.
World Series, Game 4, bottom 5th inning.
Giants are down 4-3. Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson makes an awesome diving catch in shallow center field off Giants batter Juan Perez. Hunter Pence, on 3rd base knows Dyson is going to have a hard time making a strong throw to home plate after the diving catch. Pence tags up and scores to tie the game 4-4.
World Series, Game 4, top 6th inning.
Score is tied 4-4. Brandon Belt fields a ground ball hit by Kansas City's Nori Aoki. Belt touches 1st base, then throws to Crawford who relays a strong throw back to Belt to complete the 3-6-3 double play.
Wild Card Elimination Game, top 1st inning.
A do-or-die game and the first playoff game for the Giants, Brandon Crawford's grand slam home run at PNC Park to start the game sets the stage for another successful run to a third World Series title in five years.
Honorable Mention, Michael Morse. NLCS Game 5, bottom 8th inning and World Series Game 7, top 4th inning.
His home run in NLCS Game 5 ties the game at 3-3 versus the St. Louis Cardinals.
His RBI single in World Series Game 7 allows Pablo Sandoval to score and break the 2-2 tie in the top of the 4th inning, ends up being the final score and enables San Francisco to win their third World Series Championship in 5 years.
Special thanks to G4MarchMadness for the terrific YouTube videos.