With a cast of characters befitting San Francisco’s love of the unconventional and the flamboyant, the Giants won the World Series for the first time since 1954, when they were still in New York. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Texas Rangers in five games behind homegrown pitching, led by shaggy-haired starter Tim Lincecum and bearded closer Brian Wilson, and timely hitting from a group of previously unheralded veterans that manager Bruce Bochy labeled “castoffs and misfits.”
The Giants played most of the regular season in the shadow of the surprising San Diego Padres, who led the National League West division until mid-September. Hardly anybody noticed as the Giants’ front office quietly added outfielders Cody Ross and Pat Burrell, called up rookies Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, and showed faith in journeymen such as Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Juan Uribe, and Andres Torres. The Giants didn’t even clinch a playoff spot until the last day of the regular season.
But once the postseason began, San Francisco went on a tear, defeating the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series in four games, which were all decided by one run. In the process, the Giants ended the career of the legendary Bobby Cox, who retired after 29 seasons as a big league manager. The two-time defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies were next, and the Giants upset them in six games, with three of their four wins again coming by a single run.
By the time the World Series began, it was apparent that the Giants, with dominant pitching and a revolving door of hitting heroes, were a team of destiny. They outslugged the potent Rangers in games one and two in San Francisco. After dropping game three in Arlington, Texas, the Giants gave up just one run combined in games four and five behind the arms of Bumgarner, Lincecum, and Wilson. The key hit was a three-run home run in the seventh inning of game five, delivered by aging and oft-injured shortstop Edgar Renteria, who was awarded the World Series MVP for his effort.
For months the 2010 Major League Baseball season had been called either the Year of the Pitcher or the Year of the Rookie. It was only fitting that, through stalwart pitching and an important contribution from Posey (the eventual National League Rookie of the Year award winner), it also became the Year of the Giants.