Madison Bumgarner Named 2014 AP Male Athlete of the Year


Madison Bumgarner can add yet another award to his résumé. After recently being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year, Bumgarner was just named the 2014 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw came in second in the voting for this award, and former New York Yankee Derek Jeter and golfer Rory McIlroy tied for third place. This award was voted on by U.S. editors and news directors.

Bumgarner is certainly deserving of another prestigious award. The 25 year-old left-handed pitcher has already built up a long list of accomplishments so far in his MLB career, having just won his third World Series title in five seasons and having just set a MLB record by posting an extremely impressive 0.25 ERA in the World Series (minimum 25 innings).

In Janie McCauley’s AP piece announcing Bumgarner as the winner of this award, Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti perfectly described why Bumgarner was deserving of this honor:

"“You don’t realize when you’re in the middle of the eye, ‘Wow, what this guy’s doing is so special,'” Righetti said. “That really hasn’t been done in years. … When you’ve got a healthy guy who’s on a roll, those are the kind of guys who change big series and do special things.”…“I just love the way he’s handled everything, all the attention,” Righetti said. “It looks like he’s stayed the same.”"

Fans can see the humility and character that Bumgarner displays on and off the field, and Righetti confirmed it in his quotes. Bumgarner might be the toughest player on the Giants, physically and mentally, but he constantly remains humble and appreciative for all the compliments and awards that have come his way.

Bumgarner’s teammate Jake Peavy described Bumgarner’s unforgettable performance in Game Seven of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals in McCauley’s piece also:

"“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.”"

Peavy is right that Bumgarner’s performance in Game Seven of the World Series could possibly go down as the best postseason performance in MLB history. Bumgarner could also go down as the best postseason pitcher in MLB history, given his success in all three of the Giants’ World Series title runs.

Although Bumgarner didn’t win the NL Cy Young Award and the NL MVP Award like Kershaw did, Bumgarner has proven why he’s the most valuable pitcher in MLB right now, and the awards that he’s won demonstrate that too.

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