SAN FRANCISCO – Madison Bumgarner sat in the outfield alongside Jake Peavy before Game 7 of the World Series and told his teammate exactly what needed to happen: Tim Hudson would work a few innings and get the ball to Bumgarner, who would hand it off to the bullpen to finish the championship.
Peavy quickly offered his prediction that Bumgarner would end it himself.
That’s exactly what MadBum did, following up a pair of World Series wins with a save at Kansas City to close out San Francisco’s third title in five years and cap a brilliant postseason that made him a household name – or, at the very least, a household nickname. He is the 2014 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.
“I was sitting in the outfield with Madison and he was asking me how I thought this game was going to play out,” Peavy recalled this month. “I said to him: ‘Madison, when you get the ball, you’re not coming out of the game. You’re the best guy we’ve got.’ … He said, ‘Man, that’s exactly what I hoped you would say’ and exactly what he wanted. He just needed some confirmation, somebody to believe in him as well. I said, ‘Fight for that ball, man,’ and what he did will go down in the ages as the best ever.”
Bumgarner finished first in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors. He beat out Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw – who won the National League Cy Young and MVP but lost to Bumgarner’s Giants in the playoffs. Retiring New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and golfer Rory McIlroy tied for third place.
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