It makes sense that Madison Bumgarner made all kinds of history with his stunning eight innings of shutout ball in his Giants' 4-0 win in Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday.
The rookie is 21 years old, he began the year in Triple-A Fresno and he just pitched his team to a 3-1 lead in the Fall Classic. One more victory and the Giants will claim their first world championship since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958.
How was he able to stay cool in the blaring spotlight of the World Series?
"I don't know, [I] just [kept] telling myself to relax," Bumgarner said. "And I've told myself so much that it's starting to become second nature, and it makes it a lot easier on me and the players, I think, to see somebody that's relaxed out there throwing. That's it, I guess."
He makes it sound easy, but if you look through those history books, it's not.
Bumgarner's eight scoreless innings made him the youngest rookie pitcher (21 years old, 91 days) in World Series history to make a scoreless start of six innings or more, and overall, he is only the seventh rookie to make a start of that kind -- the first since Les Straker pitched six scoreless innings in Game 3 of the 1987 World Series for the Minnesota Twins at the age of 28.
So where does Bumgarner's gem rank among rookie starts in World Series history? Pretty high.
The other members in the scoreless-start category as first-year pitchers include four men who spun complete-game shutouts, besting Bumgarner by one inning.
|J. Bush||Phi.||10/9/1913||20, 316|
|J. Palmer||Bal.||10/6/1966||20, 356|
|F. Valenzuela||L.A.||10/23/1981||20, 356|
|M. Bumgarner||S.F.||10/31/2010||21, 91|
Babe Adams of the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates has to be at the top of that list because he did it in the deciding Game 7 of that World Series to beat Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers. Adams, who was 27 years old, gave up six hits and one walk while striking out one as the Pirates rolled in new Forbes Field, 8-0, taking advantage of Honus Wagner's two-RBI day.
The other rookie World Series complete-game shutout artists included the Chicago White Sox Dickie Kerr, who beat the Reds in Game 3 of the 1919 World Series at the age of 26, the St. Louis Cardinals' Ernie White, who bested the Yankees in front of more than 69,000 fans in the Bronx in the 1942 World Series, and Cleveland's Gene Bearden, who beat the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 1948 Series by pitching a five-hitter and striking out four without walking a batter.
Gary Gentry of the Miracle Mets of 1969 was a 23-year-old rookie when he tossed 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball to beat the Orioles in Game 3 of that Amazin' World Series.
And while the rest of the great World Series performances might not have been shutouts, there have been memorable ones just the same.
Bullet Joe Bush of the Philadelphia A's, for example, is the youngest pitcher to win a World Series game, turning the trick in Game 3 of the 1913 Fall Classic at 20 years, 316 days, in an 8-2 victory over the New York Giants in which he went nine innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits.
Who could forget Fernando Valenzuela, who took his "Mania" all the way to the 1981 World Series and grinded out a complete-game win over the Yankees in Game 3 despite giving up four earned runs and walking seven batters? Valenzuela was 20 years, 356 days old that day, making him the third-youngest pitcher to record a World Series victory.
And how about Whitey Ford, who pitched the Yankees past the Phillies in Game 4 of the 1950 World Series a mere two weeks before his 22nd birthday? Ford went 8 2/3 innings and gave up two runs (zero earned) on seven hits, striking out seven and walking one in the Bronx Bombers' 5-2 victory.
Another one for the books was actually two.
Paul "Daffy" Dean, better known as Dizzy's brother, won two games for the Cardinals in the 1934 World Series against Detroit as a rookie and both were complete games -- one at home and one on the road. He gave up a total of two earned runs in the 18 innings and struck out 11.
And in Game 7 of the 2002 Fall Classic, four days after his 24th birthday, John Lackey pitched the Angels to victory over the Giants, giving up one run in five innings and becoming the first rookie since Adams to nail down a World Series Game 7.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.