The San Francisco Giants are finally World Series Champions, after beating the Texas Rangers 3-1 in Game Five on Monday night at the Ballpark in Arlington. The last time the Giants won the World Series it was 1954, the team played in New York, and Willie Mays was 23-years-old.
Fifty-two long years of waiting came to an end for baseball fans in the Bay Area when closer Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz to complete a perfect ninth inning for the save.
It was very exciting for a city and a team that came out of nowhere to take the baseball world by storm.
Ostensibly, the series was quite simple: San Francisco pitchers beat the Texas hitters. San Francisco’s rotation was headed by two homegrown-righty aces in Tim Lincecum, who beat Cliff Lee twice this series, and Matt Cain, who didn’t allow a single run in the playoffs. Still, the most pivotal start of the series might have been Game Four by Madison Bumgarner, who became the second youngest pitcher ever to throw eight scoreless innings in a World Series game.
The Giants rise from zero to hero is both cliché and reality. Six months ago you would’ve been hard pressed to find someone who thought the Giants would make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series.
It was their lack of offense that scared people around the game from believing in them. Down the stretch and throughout the season they were able to get enough runs from young stud catcher first round pick Buster Posey, who actually wasn’t called up to join the team until May, and a ragtag group of former-Tigers.
After the 2009 season, first basemen Aubrey Huff didn’t have any major league job offers. People around here sure didn’t want him back after hitting .189 in 40 games for the Tigers.
The Giants stuck him at first base everyday and he led the Giants in every major batting statistic, hitting .290 with 26 homers and .891 OPS.
Andres Torres, who you may recall from the 59 games he played on the 119-loss 2003 Tigers, the worst team the American League has ever seen, played 139 games in the outfield for the Giants. Torres had 31 extra base hits in his career prior to this season and hit 67 this year on his way to a solid .823 OPS. To quote Yankees radio announcer Jon Sterling, “You can’t predict baseball.”
Perhaps the top “misfit” the Giants were able to bring in was outfielder Cody Ross, who was released by
the Florida Marlins in mid-August. Ross, who was drafted by the Tigers, has bounced around the league hitting most places he went. He carried the Giants in October with five homeruns and a 1.076 OPS even taking home NLCS M.V.P. honors along the way.
The Most Valuable Player award for the Series went to ex-Tiger Edgar Renteria, who hit a three-run homer off of Cliff Lee on Monday. This put the Giants ahead for good, joining Yankees Joe Dimaggio, Yogi Berra and Lou Gehrig as the only players with two World Series clinching hits (the other hit was his 1997 walk-off single against Charles Nagy propelling the Marlins to their first World Series). Renteria finished 7-for-17 in the series, with two home runs, six runs scored and six runs batted in.
The amount of offensive production the Giants were able to get from readily available talent (the ex-Tiger triumphant of Huff, Torres, Ross, and Renteria) is nothing short of a miracle. It’s almost as likely to happen as the same team drafting Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and Posey. For the Giants to win the World Series both had to happen, there’s no overstating how incredible of an achievement this is.