Mad about Bumgarner: The greatest World Series pitching performance ever?

October 30, 2014
His teammates couldn't thank him enough. San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, right, gets a hug from Pablo Sandoval as Bumgarner won the MVP trophy after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball's World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

His teammates couldn’t thank him enough. San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, right, gets a hug from Pablo Sandoval as Bumgarner won the MVP trophy after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

After a third World Series title and a well-deserved World Series MVP under his belt, Madison Bumgarner is being revered as one of the most reliable and tough pitchers in the modern era — and rightfully so. That was definitely one of the most impressive performances in World Series history.

At 25 years old, he holds the Major League record for innings pitched in a World Series and he led the San Francisco Giants to a championship with a staggeringly low career World Series ERA of 0.25.

Right now, he is the king of San Francisco, but if you rewind to 2010 he might have been deemed the king of disappointment. His journey to the top started from the bottom of the hill.

As one of the Giants top pitching prospects in 2009, his velocity started to drop from the low-90s to the mid-80s and furthermore, his ERA shot up to 6.43 before being demoted back to the minor leagues.

“He’s 20 years old,” said probable Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy at the time. “We think a lot of him and he has a bright future, but we think there are still some things he needs to work on. … It’s fair to say he was just out of sync for the most part this spring. He didn’t have his good command this spring. Building arm strength is part of spring training.”

Bumgarner would fall even further before he made his return to glory.

In the minors, he gave up 11 runs with 21 hits in his first two outings. Most other organizations might give up on a player after seeing such a dismal display, but Bochy and the Giants sensed something special.

Bochy made some pretty stock comments regarding his now-ace after he was sent down, but he was exactly right.

Bumgarner eventually returned to form and joined the Giants later in the same season, won his first Major League game in July and pitched an incredible eight shutout innings in the 2010 World Series.

It’s been quite the journey and the Giants’ faith in Bumgarner will most likely pay off in the form of a loyal and long term franchise player.

All the fame and recognition has not really changed his core personality though.

He’s still soft spoken and in the offseason, he lives in a small town with his wife just 30 minutes away from Hickory, North Carolina where he grew up.

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