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A history of Giants Player, Pitcher, and Rookie of the Month winners

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In which we remember that Barry Bonds was ridiculous, and that Randy Winn was once Barry Bonds.

Thearon W. Henderson

I have a brain filled with ocean, and I'm not sure what's going on in the baseball world. All I know is that for the fifth straight time in the last decade, the Giants had a winning record when I took a few days off. This includes 2008, when the Giants went on a 6-2 stretch despite winning six games all season, so you know it's a serious gift I have. A serious gift you should support with money. The only reason I've never been to Paris is because it's too expensive, people.

Regardless, I need a topic today that doesn't need to be tied to "current events" because I have a lot of catching up to do. Luckily, Baseball-Reference.com gave me an out, as they recently added entries for Player, Pitcher, and Rookie of the Month Awards. Let's take the time to look for all the Giants to win the award.

Rookies of the Month

Pedro Feliz - July, 2001
Buster Posey - July 2010

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Really, this was the inspiration of the post, so you can feel free to ignore the rest of the words after this. The Giants have had a lot of rookies over the last decade-plus, but only Feliz and Posey played better than their rookie peers for a month. Note that the award has only been given out since 2001. Still ...

The AL winners in the first year of the award: Ichiro, Ichiro, Ichiro, C.C. Sabathia, Ichiro, Ichiro. That was a promising crop of rookies.

Pitchers of the Month

Vida Blue - June, 1978
Ed Whitson - August, 1981
Bill Laskey - May, 1983
Mike Krukow - September, 1986
Rick Reuschel - May, 1989
Bill Swift - April, 1992
Bill Swift - July, 1993
Orel Hershiser - May, 1998
Russ Ortiz - August, 2000
Jason Schmidt - May, 2004
Noah Lowry - August, 2005
Jason Schmidt - May, 2006
Tim Lincecum - June, 2009
Madison Bumgarner - May, 2014

A list of pitchers with as many Pitcher of the Month Awards as Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain combined: Bill Swift, Noah Lowry, Todd Wellemeyer, Shawn Chacon, Chris Nabholz

A list of pitchers with as many Pitcher of the Month Awards as Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Matt Cain combined: Russ Ortiz, Jeff Fassero, Danny Darwin, Jair Jurrjens

That's all useless trivia, nothing more. But when it comes to short bursts of selective-endpoint excellence, the Giants haven't been as good as you might expect. (The award started in 1975, by the way.)

The most surprising one to me was Hershiser, mostly because I was following the Giants every day by that point, and I don't remember him as being anything other than unremarkable and gross in a Giants uniform. For five starts in May, though, he was a revelation. After that, he went back to being in Revelations.

Old friends/current friends note: Dick Tidrow was Mr. July, 1979. This is Dick Tidrow around that time:

78topps179_medium

Damned straight.

Players of the Month

Willie Mays - May, 1958
Willie Mays - September, 1958
Willie McCovey - August, 1959
Willie McCovey - July, 1963
Willie Mays - August, 1963
Willie Mays - August, 1965
Juan Marichal - May, 1966
Gaylord Perry - June, 1966
Jim Ray Hart - July, 1967
Willie McCovey - April, 1969
Ken Henderson - August, 1972
Jack Clark - May, 1978
Darrell Evans - May, 1983
Will Clark - June, 1988
Will Clark - May, 1989
Will Clark - September, 1989
Will Clark - August, 1991
Barry Bonds - April, 1993
Matt Williams - May, 1995
Barry Bonds - April, 1996
Barry Bonds - July, 1997
Jeff Kent - August, 1998
Jeff Kent - June, 2000
Barry Bonds - May, 2001
Barry Bonds - September, 2001
Barry Bonds - August, 2002
Barry Bonds - July, 2003
Barry Bonds - April, 2004
Barry Bonds - August, 2004
Randy Winn - September, 2005
Buster Posey - July, 2010
Hunter Pence - September, 2013

I didn't realize this stupid award went back to 1958 before starting this post, but it was still interesting. 1958 is the same year that Major League Baseball started in San Francisco. Probably a coincidence, but it doesn't have to be. Quick notes:

  • If you needed another reason to punch the luck of the 1960s Giants in the back of the head, this will help you work up the courage. They were so good, so often. There was always someone better or luckier. 

  • This also shows the decline and fall of the Giants in the '70s. No Mays, no McCovey, no Marichal, no service. There were more POTM winners in the '70s who were ex-Giants-- Gary Matthews, George Foster, Dave Kingman -- than there were actual Giants.

  • Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Perry, Hart, Clark, Bonds, and Kent combined for as many World Series titles as Mike Fontenot. This alternately amuses and horrifies me. Mostly horrifies.

  • Perry appeared in as many playoff games in his career as Jim Brower appeared in the 2003 NLDS.

  • Randy Winn's September -- .439 average, 11 home runs, 13 doubles -- was one of the most ridiculous sports-related things I've ever witnessed.

  • Winn also played in as many playoff games over his career as Andrew Susac has. :(

  • Barry Bonds was good.

You didn't ask for that, but you just got it. When Bumgarner won Pitcher of the Month this year, I didn't put a post up about it because I didn't figure it was a big deal. I regret that now. It's a touch rarer than I thought.