Just 365 days ago, the San Francisco Giants etched their name in history for the third time in just five years by winning the 2014 World Series. Not only did they prove once again the expertise of the entire organization, but they also became a dynasty.
Giants fans will forever remember the final call of Jon Miller on KNBR Radio:
“Madison Bumgarner trying to wrap up this World Series for the Giants. He’s ready. He throws. Swing and a pop-up. Sandoval down the line in foul ground, he’s got plenty of room. And he’s got it. And the Giants have won. They have won the World Series for the third time five years.”
Opening Day 2014:
By no means did San Francisco have an easy route to the Fall Classic. It all began on March 31st, Opening Day, when an error fest turned into a Giants victory down in the desert against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Mar 31, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks players line the field during introductions prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants during opening day baseball game at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
All Star Break:
As the season progressed, San Francisco always seemed to be one step behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. When the All Star break came, San Francisco sat in second place in the NL West, 1/2 game back of the Dodgers. The players lucky enough to represent the Giants in the All Star Game were Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, and Hunter Pence.
Jul 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; National League outfielder Hunter Pence (8) of the San Francisco Giants waves to the crowd as he is introduced before the 2014 MLB All Star Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
End of Regular Season:
As the season came to a close, San Francisco edged the Milwaukee Brewers to earn themselves a trip to Pittsburgh to play the Pirates in a one game Wild Card game.
With a black-out crowd hovering in PNC Park, Brandon Crawford gave them a punch in the stomach by becoming the first shortstop in postseason history to hit grand slam, putting the Giants ahead 4-0 in the 4th inning.
The Giants would add another four runs, and MadBum began his postseason magic with a 10 strikeout complete game shutout performance. Who would have guessed that this would not be Bumgarner’s best outing in the 2014 postseason?
In a best-of-5 series, San Francisco took on the NL East champion Washington Nationals, led by Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. After winning Game 1 of the series behind a masterful Jake Peavy outing, an 18th inning blast off the bat of Brandon Belt gave San Francisco a wild win in Game 2 to give them a 2-0 lead in the series. A wild pitch in Game 4 gave the Giants the series to move on to the NLCS.
Although nothing came easy, San Francisco pushed the St. Louis Cardinals aside in the NLCS. With Bumgarner again masterfully pitching 7 2/3 shutout innings, leading the Giants to a 1-0 lead in the series. With San Francisco now up 3-1 in the series after the incredible game tying 8th inning home run by Michael Morse led to a win in Game 5, they did not want to go back to St. Louis.
Oct 16, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Travis Ishikawa (45) hits a walk off three run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning of game five of the 2014 NLCS playoff at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
In what will be remembered as one of the greatest moments in Major League Baseball history, Travis Ishikawa remade Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” by blasting a Michael Wacha fastball into the night to send the Giants to the World Series.
Just watching Jake Peavy tackling Ishikawa as he rounds third base, players running around frantically as if the world was ending, is a memory every Giants fan will remember for the rest of their lives. Simply unbelievable.
Now seeming to be the team of destiny, the Giants faced off against the seemingly American League team of destiny, the Kansas City Royals who become the first team ever to win their first eight games of a postseason.
Simply Madison Bumgarner. As if he already had not penciled his name into the postseason record books, Bumgarner threw 7 innings, surrendering just one run on three hits. A home run by Hunter Pence led the offense and gave the Giants a 1-0 edge in the series.
Giants lead 1-0.
Oct 26, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (left) reacts after scoring a run past Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (right) in the 8th inning during game five of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Royals showed they were not a World Series fluke, as 10 hits and an Omar Infante home run put the nail on the coffin to tie the series at 1-1. Of course, the game did not end without a little smack talking between the two teams. Series tied 1-1.
Once again, the Royals showed that they are here for a reason. Although Tim Hudson pitched a solid 5 2/3 innings and kept San Francisco in the game, an Eric Hosmer RBI single in the bottom of the 6th inning in the first World Series game in Kaufman Stadium since 1985 was enough for the win.
Royals lead 2-1.
Oct 24, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals infielders Mike Moustakas (8) and Eric Hosmer (35) celebrate after defeating the San Francisco Giants during game three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants responded in Game 4 in a huge way, knocking Royals starter Jason Vargas out in the 4th inning and tallying 16 hits in a wild game. Pence led the way with 3 RBIs in the game and Yusmeiro Petit got the win.
Series tied 2-2
Oct 25, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey reacts after scoring a run against the Kansas City Royals in the sixth inning during game four of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Just what the Giants ordered, a Bumgarner start day. Game 5 proved to be yet another incredible performance for the postseason hero. MadBum threw yet another complete game shutout and added 8 strikeouts in what was one of the greatest World Series pitching performances in franchise history. BCraw led the offense with 2 RBIs, putting them just one game away from their third ring in five years.
Giants lead 3-2
Oct 26, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) and right fielder Hunter Pence (right) celebrate after both scoring runs on a double by left fielder Juan Perez (not pictured) in the 8th inning against the Kansas City Royals during game five of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
With San Francisco ready to party, the Giants laid an egg and the Royals took advantage of every opportunity in Game 6. Starter Yordano Ventura threw 7 shutout innings and a 7 run second inning blew the Giants out of the water, leading to every athlete’s dream: a Game 7
Oct 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) celebrates with teammates Mike Moustakas (8) and Eric Hosmer (left) after scoring a run against the San Francisco Giants in the second inning during game six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
This is what it is all about. Game 7 of the MLB World Series. With it impossible for Bumgarner to pitch on just two days rest, seemingly, the Royals felt like they really had a shot. Fortunately for San Francisco, the baseball Gods were on their side because it was as if Bumgarner was a baseball God himself.
San Francisco was able to get to starter Jeremy Guthrie in the 2nd inning with consecutive sacrifice fly balls from Michael Morse gave them a 2-0 lead.
A short-lived start by Hudson was relieved by a miraculous 2 1/3 innings by Jeremy Affeldt. From then on, it was the Madison Bumgarner show.
With the score tied at two a piece, a clutch RBI single off of an 0-2 fastball by Michael Morse gave the Giants the lead in the 4th inning. A 3-2 lead was all Bumgarner needed.
None other than Bumgarner finished the final five innings of the game, racking up four strikeouts and allowing just two hits. After a misplay in center field by Gregor Blanco, Alex Gordon found himself on third base with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning.
With Royals fans on their feet all grasping onto one last spec of hope, catcher Salvador Perez swung and hit the ball into the Kansas City sky. After what seemed like ages, Pablo Sandoval catches the pop-up in foul ground to give the San Francisco Giants their third World Series championship in just five years.
Bumgarner went on to not only win the World Series MVP, but will go down as one of the greatest postseason performances in MLB history. Most importantly, a dynasty was born.
It’s hard to believe that it was just one year ago today, that the San Francisco Giants again showed the world just how incredible they really are.