By Scooby Axson
November 04, 2014
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants became the first National League team in more than seven decades to win three World Series titles in five seasons, after pitcher and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner shut down the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 with a relief performance for the ages.

A few days after their victory, Giants manager Bruce Bochy sat down with Bumgarner to see if he understood what he had just accomplished this postseason.

“What you did was a great and historic effort,” Bochy said to Bumgarner. “Hopefully, you’ll have time one day to look back at all the greats of the game who never did what you just did.”

Where Madison Bumgarner's stellar World Series ranks all-time

It bears repeating what Bumgarner did: in seven postseason appearances, he pitched 52 2/3 innings, giving up six earned runs while striking out 45 and walking six. Opponents hit .153 against him, meaning that if the Giants put one run on the board, it was pretty much lights out for the other team.

But the credit for keeping this historic ride together belongs to Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean, who has been with the Giants for over two decades. It's Sabean's philosophy to keep his staff around for a long time, but maybe his biggest decision yet is what to do with the five potential free agents he has on the roster.

One of those players is third baseman Pablo Sandoval, whose 26 hits this postseason were a new major league record.  Sabean doesn't have to worry about Bumgarner anytime soon: he is signed through the 2017 season. 

For more on Bumgarner and the Giants, check out this week's Sports Illustrated (subscribe here). Also in this issue, features on the Arizona Cardinals' defense and a preview of the men's and women's college basketball seasons.​

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