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Is It Too Early To Call Madison Bumgarner A Legend?

Madison Bumgarner celebrates after the San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 to win the 2014 World Series.
Getty Images
Madison Bumgarner celebrates after the San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 to win the 2014 World Series.

By the looks of the Internet today, no — it's not too early at all. Last night, the San Francisco Giants pitcher delivered a performance that many are calling legendary, as the Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of the World Series. Even NPR's Tom Goldman said Bumgarner's performance was "one of the greatest ever." And the guy's only 25; he might not have even reached his prime yet.

Head over to the MLB homepage and you'll see the words, "The World's greatest?" followed by Bumgarner's nickname, MadBum.

Here's the New York Times' take:

Now he belongs to history, alongside Christy Mathewson and Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Randy Johnson. The pantheon of World Series pitching greats must welcome a new member. Madison Bumgarner burst into the club with a performance for the ages in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday.

There's justification to this hype. Bumgarner's 0.43 earned runs average for the Series is outrageously low. The only run he gave up was a meaningless solo homer in Game 1, when the Giants were already up by seven. Then, after tossing 117 pitches in a complete game shutout of the Royals on Sunday night, he only took two days off before delivering a masterful five innings as a reliever last night to secure the win for the Giants.

Twitter was alive with colorful commentary on just how much adoration Fox announcer Joe Buck showered upon the pitcher during the entire series.

Many commentators have compared Bumgarner's performance to that of Randy Johnson, who pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series. Johnson got two wins, and then came in for a crucial inning of relief in Game 7 after having just pitched seven innings the night before.

Sports Illustrated called Bumgarner "scintillating." Michael Rosenberg said of the pitcher that "as much as any player in a generation, Bumgarner was the reason his team won the World Series."

The San Fransisco Chronicle called him "the man who owns the World Series." And then there was this nugget: "Like the gunslinger in a spaghetti Western, Bumgarner unstrapped his arm from its holster and the opposition faded away into the night."

So, what's next for the golden boy World Series MVP? Well, his contract isn't up until 2017, so the Giants have a few more years to enjoy one really great, really young pitcher. But Sports Illustrated doesn't think he's the greatest just yet. They ranked his 21 innings only number five on a list of best World Series pitching performances.

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Becky Sullivan has reported and produced for NPR since 2011 with a focus on hard news and breaking stories. She has been on the ground to cover natural disasters, disease outbreaks, elections and protests, delivering stories to both broadcast and digital platforms.
Sam worked at Vermont Public Radio from October 1978 to September 2017 in various capacities – almost always involving audio engineering. He excels at sound engineering for live performances.

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