It is a truism that the Giants, with the lowest ERA and highest number of strikeouts in baseball, won their championship with pitching. With four young starters (aged 26, 26, 27, and 21) and a deep and experienced bullpen, it is small wonder that the everyday players have gotten short shrift.
To the degree they have been recognized, the Giants regulars have been noted for their personal quirks
, their anemic offensive output (average in the National League), and the sheer improbability of their success. Who are the men who make up this band of misfits and castaways? What evidence did we have that they could reach such heights?
Let's walk through tonight's lineup card and revel in the sheer impossibility of what these lovable bums have achieved.
c - Buster Posey.
Crippled in a horrible skateboard accident in elementary school, Posey's status slipped so severely that he was only the fifth man chosen in the 2008 Major League draft. Making the most of a lucky shot at the Majors, he somehow slapped and bunted his way to a .305 batting average with 18 home runs. He also played a key defensive position and called pitches for the best pitching staff in baseball. Who knew?
1b - Aubrey Huff.
Barely capable of speech, some have questioned Huff's intellectual credentials. Madge Pressler of the Edmonton Star-Democrat has called him "a scary Jethro Clampitt." A career designated hitter, his National League prospects were called into doubt when, presented with a baseball glove, he attempted to wear it like a hat. So it is utterly shocking that the former Silver Slugger (2008) of the American League was able, through hard work, determination, and yes, a little bit of luck, to hit 7 points above his lifetime .283 batting average this year. Incredible!
2b - Freddie Sanchez.
Rumor is Sanchez killed a guy. Anyway, who would have thought that the National League batting champion of 2006 could play like this
3b - Juan Uribe
. Apart from starting for the Chicago White Sox in their World Championship 2005 season and division winning 2008, there really wasn't much evidence that he was capable of playing Major League Baseball. This month, he showed the doubters he could handle the pressure of a big game.
ss - Edgar Renteria.
Cheerful and lighthearted, many openly wondered if his .287 career batting average and 207 career post-season at bats qualified him to be a San Francisco Giant. After tonight's championship-winning home run, manager Bruce Bochy has indicated that Renteria may see more playing time.
lf - Cody Ross.
Who is this guy? Who knew he had such power? Apart from his 22 home runs in 2008 and his 24 in 2009, there was very little evidence that he was capable of hitting at the Major League level.
cf - Aaron Rowand.
Why was he even on the field? All he's ever done was to start in center field for the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox and 2007 Division-winning Philadelphia Phillies. And win the 2007 Gold Glove. And be an All-Star. But he fits perfectly into this lovable band of misfits.
rf - Andres Torres.
Well, yeah, that one kind of snuck up on me, but once he got on his medication
you knew he was going to be unstoppable. 8^)