Javier Lopez and Brandon Crawford will split the 2016 Willie Mac Award, which goes to the player on the Giants who "best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by (Willie) McCovey throughout his long career."
The award is voted on by players and coaches, and there is apparently a #TeamCrawford faction in the clubhouse and a #TeamJavier faction, and they probably get in fights all the time that the beat writers can't report on because of the unwritten rules of the clubhouse. Unless this is just something of a minor fluke, and a welcome one at that. Both players are beloved members of multiple championship teams, and both of them are certainly deserving.
Lopez came over in 2010 at the trade deadline, in a deal that made me madder than just about any trade that came before. I was dumb and wrong and dumb. He immediately helped the Giants win the NL West, pitching ridiculously well. I remember wondering if his WAR (which was less than the margin of victory in the division) suggested that the Giants could have won without him. My stock answer was that we would never know. After the bullpen struggles of this season, I'm switching my answer to "no." Perfection in a bullpen helps a lot more than you can possibly imagine.
Crawford was a bummed-out five-year-old kid who didn't want the Giants to play in a Tampa dome. He was right, you know. And while the odds were against him every hitting more than the standard defensive replacement, his first-round tools showed up as soon as he had a steady job in the majors. He's one of the most valuable players in baseball now, and he's quietly become a fan favorite, pun very much intended.
I have never heard a bad word about either of them, either on or off the record. And I suppose that's the point.
Congratulations to both players on the historic split of the annual award that means so very much to the Giants and their fans! Congratulations to this guy:
And congratulations to this guy:
Oh, how they deserve it.
A list of past winners:
(Edit: I couldn't read my own stupid table, so I borked the part where I said it was the first time the Giants have had co-winners. Marks Leiter and Carreon were the first co-winners in 1995, and Mark Gardner and Benito Santiago shared the award in 2001.)
|1994||(not awarded due to strike)|
|1997||J. T. Snow|
|2004||J. T. Snow|
|2016||Javier Lopez, Brandon Crawford (tie)|