The playoffs are heating up, and heroes are emerging like Daniel Murphy and I dunno some other guys and Daniel Murphy again. But did you know that the Giants have also had lots of postseason heroes in their history? It's true! So I put together a team of them, picking out the best series a Giant ever had. These mostly come from the wins, because really, who wants to celebrate Jason Schmidt's great start in 2003? Not me.
C: Benito Santiago, 2002 NLCS
I don't mean any disrespect to Santiago, who had an excellent series, but the real MVP of that NLCS was Barry Bonds, right? .300/.364/.600 loses to .273/.591/.727 every time, except when Barry Bonds is up for an award that someone else could have any justification to win, I guess.
But enough not saying nice things about Benito Santiago. Benito Santiago had a very good series! He hit what turned out to be the game-winning home run in the 8th inning of Game 4, putting the Giants up 3-1 in the series, and setting the stage for David Bell and Kenny Lofton to LOLCARDINALS their way into Giants history. Way to go, Benito!
1B: Will Clark, 1989 NLCS
This was perhaps the most impressive series any Giant hitter has ever had in the postseason. He hit .650/.682/1.200. His WPA was 1.242, in five games. In five games, he was worth more than one win. How is that possible? How can someone do that? It's insane that he was so good. Here are some highlights from Game 1 of this series, because I'm a kind person and you deserve good things:
2B: Marco Scutaro, 2012 NLCS
Grant made that GIF a while ago, and I'm sure glad he did. It's every one of the 14 hits (in 28 ABs) that Scutaro got in the NLCS after being cruelly assaulted at second base by proto-Utley Matt Holliday. Well, okay, only 12 of those hits came after the slide, but that's still pretty good. Marco Scutaro in this series was the embodiment of righteous vengeance, exacting tribute from the sneering villain who'd tried to destroy him.
3B: Pablo Sandoval, 2012 WS
So we've had some differences with Pablo over the last eleven months. Perhaps they are currently coloring our opinion of him, and that's sad for both of us, but Pablo hit two homers in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series against Detroit's untouchable ace and then one more later in the game just for funsies. If you attach any importance at all to psychology or momentum or confidence, this was massive. If you don't, then it was still massive, because the Giants threw their worst starter against the American League's best, and stole the game.
He was also very good for the rest of the series, and for the entire postseason that year. But if there's one moment he'll be remembered for, it's this one, and for good reason.
SS: Edgar Renteria, 2010 WS
Absolutely no one in the world saw this coming. If you gave Edgar Renteria some sodium pentothal before the season and asked "Is there any chance you'll be World Series MVP this year?" he'd have said "Who are you and what are you injecting me with WHAT'S GOING ON HERE WHAT THE HELL." That's code for "No way am I winning that thing," though like most athletes, he'd just have been too dang proud to admit it.
LF: Jeffrey Leonard, 1987 NLCS
Wow, what a series! He hit .417/.500/.917 with four homers. I can't think of a single Giants left fielder who ever had a better postseason series than the Hacman, even when it came in a losing cause.
HAHA GOTCHA NO WAY AM I PICKING ANYONE BUT BARRY BONDS IN THE 2002 WORLD SERIES THE MAN HIT .471/.700/1.294 HIS OPS WAS 1.994 THAT'S 2 HIS OPS WAS LITERALLY 2 WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THERE'S NO
Sorry, sometimes I get lost in a Barry Bonds Awesomeness Reverie. Happens all the time. Fortunately, I'm not alone.
Also, Joe Maddon said this last night:
"I've see Barry Bonds in 2002 World Series, this was even better than that." -Cubs Joe Maddon on Daniel Murphy pic.twitter.com/WMoVM6TRhF
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) October 22, 2015
LIKE HELL IT WAS
CF: Willie Mays, 1954 WS
Willie Mays didn't have a very good offensive series, really, hitting a pedestrian-for-him .286/.444/.357 in the Giants' sweep of the Indians. But he's not . . . you're not even reading this, are you? You're just waiting for the highlight. Well, that's fine. It's what I'd do too.
I wish Statcast had been around back then, but since it wasn't, we have to estimate: the ball was hit seven thousand feet, Mays ran twelve miles to get there, and he threw the ball back in at 400 miles per hour. That all seems legit, right? Sounds pretty good to me.
RF: Cody Ross, 2010 NLCS
This was a tougher call than you might think, which I'll get into later, but Ssory Doc turned the widely assumed inevitable Phillies win into a confusing muddle, which eventually led to the Giants victory that we all cherish. Homers off Roy Halladay, tons of extra-base hits, RBIs followed by more RBIs, and solid defense in right field made us all thankful we'd pitched in to get that clubbie to send HGH to Jose Guillen's house. Totally worth it!
SP: Christy Mathewson, 1905 WS
If you remember the 2014 World Series, and something tells me you do, you might recall that the only reason Madison Bumgarner's performance wasn't the best World Series ever for a Giant was this series from Christy Mathewson more than a century earlier. Here's what he did: On October 9, in Game 1, he threw a shutout. Then, on October 12, in Game 3, he threw another shutout. Then, to close out the series in Game 5, on October 14, he threw another shutout.
At the age of 25, in the span of less than a week, Christy Mathewson threw three shutouts in the World Series. Try to comprehend someone doing that. You can't. You just can't.
SP: Madison Bumgarner, 2014 WS
yeah he was ok i guess
SP: Carl Hubbell, 1933 WS
Hubbell only pitched in two games in the Series in 1933, but he made them count, going nine innings in the first and eleven in the second, because BACK THEN MEN WERE MEN AND THEY FINISHED WHAT THEY STARTED UNLIKE TODAY'S SPOILED GENERATION WITH THEIR WALKMANS AND THEIR AIR JORDANS or something like that. In those 20 innings, Hubbell gave up just three unearned runs in those 20 innings, which means his ERA was (frantically pushes 12 buttons on my calculator at once) 0.00. That's pretty good, as far as World Series ERAs go. Coulda cut down on those unearned runs, though, Old Long Pants (a real nickname!). Let that be a lesson to you.
SP: Tim Lincecum, entire 2010 postseason
This is a cheat, and I don't care. If you want to narrow it down to the Division Series game, that's your right, but let's not lose the World Series clincher. In those two games, he was remarkable. I often remarked "He is quite good," which was an accurate remark. The most impressive part of the Division Series game for me, as a fan sitting in section 327: at no point after the Giants scored a run did I think they'd lose. It was a 1-0 game and the likelihood of the Braves scoring was about the same as Chipper Jones tearing off his face to reveal he'd been an intergalactic spider-creature all along. We didn't know it yet, but that was Hunter Pence's deal.
RP: Jesse Barnes, 1921 WS
The Giants don't win the 1921 World Series without Jesse Barnes. Barnes was a starter who'd faded a bit in the second half of the season, and was put in the bullpen for the World Series. The Series started off badly for the Giants, as they lost the first two games and then went down 4-0 in the top of the 3rd in game 3 when starter Fred Toney just lost everything. Barnes came in and stopped the bleeding, giving up one run over the next seven innings and earning the win. Barnes also started the game-tying rally in the bottom of the inning, and earned the win in a game the Giants took 13-5.
In Game 6, four days later, Toney started again, but saved everyone the questions about "Will he be any good" by immediately and emphatically answering "No." He gave up three runs in the first inning, and Barnes came in again, pitching 8.1 innings and giving up just two runs in an 8-5 Giants win. In all, including a scoreless ninth inning in a game 1 loss, Barnes pitched 16.1 innings, struck out 18, walked 6, and gave up just three runs. The Giants won the best-of-nine series 5-3, and Jesse Barnes was the biggest reason why.
RP: Brian Wilson, 2010 NLCS
Fun fact: before his soul was consumed by his beard, Brian Wilson was a very good pitcher. Here is a sample of that:
I miss the non-crazy non-Baer-yelling Brian Wilson. He was good.
RP: Yusmeiro Petit, 2014 NLDS
Grant just talked about him! I mean, Grant just talked about several of the performances here, but Petit is on this list for one game instead of a whole series, and Grant talked about it, and it was good.
RP: Sergio Romo, 2012 NLCS
I considered giving this to him for the Division Series, if only because he did eventually get Jay Bruce after that 6-hour at-bat (and he was excellent in Game 3), but it has to be the World Series. He pitched three innings, allowed zero baserunners, earned three saves, and struck out Miguel Cabrera looking on a fastball. Luv u, 2012 Sergio Romo.
RP: Jeremy Affeldt, 2012 WS
By WPA, the answer here is last year's NLCS, but in this World Series Affeldt went through Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young like it was beneath him to share the same field with them, and that's what I'm honoring.
RP: Javier Lopez, 2010 NLCS
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were supposed to destroy the Giants. They were supposed to pick them up, grind them into a digestible cornmeal-like substance, and devour them. But they didn't, and in large part that was because of Javier Lopez.
RP: Dolf Luque, 1933 WS
Before there was Yusmeiro, there was Dolf. Petit's outing was more impressive, certainly, but that doesn't mean that Luque's should be totally lost to the "Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell and Bill Terry I guess and some other guys" haze of history. Luque came into game 5 of the World Series in the bottom of the 6th inning of a tie game, with runners on the corners and two outs, and didn't let any more runs score. He then pitched four more innings and didn't give up a run, eventually getting the win after a Mel Ott home run in the top of the 10th. It was a hell of a performance from the 43-year old.
PR: Buster Posey, 2010 NLDS
100% stolen base success rate, you know. Can't get any better than that!
PH/OF: Dusty Rhodes, 1954 WS
He hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run to win Game 1 against the Indians. That was against Hall of Famer Bob Lemon. Then, in Game 2, he pinch hit for Hall of Famer Monte Irvin and hit a game-tying single, stayed in the game, and later hit a home run for an insurance run. Both of those hits were off Hall of Famer Early Wynn. Then, in game 3, he pinch hit for Monte Irvin again, and hit a 2-run single, driving in what would turn out to be the winning runs. That was against Mike Garcia, a mere All-Star.
That's a pretty good series.
OF: Mel Ott, 1933 WS
It's fun to see all the Hall of Famers who make it onto this list, though just to be clear, I'm making them all earn it. It's not like I'm going out of my way to include Bill Terry (even though he was very good in the 1924 World Series!). And Mel Ott definitely earned it. Starting Cody Ross over him in right field was a wrenching choice, if only because in addition to having a great all-around series, Ott hit the World Series-winning homer in the top of the 10th in 1933. Made a winner out of Dolf Luque, he did. Thanks, Mel!
Look, not every good performance has an interesting story attached, ok?
There they are, the 25-man Giants postseason hero roster. Now I need a nap.