Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

The 7 most fascinating things we learned from Bumgarner's SI Sportsman of the Year profile

Madison Bumgarner's 2014 postseason was one of the best athletic performances of the year -- Sports Illustrated certainly thinks so, as it crowned the World Series MVP its Sportsman of the Year. But Bumgarner's dominance didn't stop in October: He also provided the most interesting athlete profile of the year, too.

Tom Verducci's SI cover story on Bumgarner is a top-to-bottom great read, and it includes a handful of details so incredible that if they were about anyone but Bumgarner, we wouldn't believe them.  

Madison Bumgarner may very well be the most interesting man in the world.

He once dated a girl named Madison Bumgarner

"That before he dated Ali, he dated a girl named Madison Bumgarner ('No relation, I'm sure of it')."

There are a lot of Bumgarners in Caldwell County, N.C. (we'll get to that in a minute), so as a pure numbers game, this isn't wildly unbelievable. But still, how many people can say they've met, let alone dated, their name twin?

He killed a snake and saved a rabbit inside

"One day during spring training this year in Scottsdale, Bumgarner and his wife were roping cattle when Madison was startled by a large snake he figured was a rattler. He quickly grabbed an ax and hacked it to pieces. When Ali, an expert field dresser, examined what was left of the snake, she found two baby jackrabbits inside pieces of it and extracted them. A short while later the Bumgarners noticed that one of the rabbits had moved slightly. It was alive."

An MLB pitcher slicing up a snake is bonkers enough, but saving a swallowed baby rabbit inside? That is such a heart-melting good story that we almost don't believe it. But we do, because it's MadBum.

He once wanted to quit professional baseball altogether

"He called San Francisco assistant general manager Bobby Evans, then the director of player personnel, and told him he wanted to quit baseball."

Because he missed his hometown of Lenoir, N.C., so much, Bumgarner considered dropping out of pro ball for good at the very onset of his career. There's an alternate reality where that happened, and the world is a bleaker place.

He didn't own a suit until 2014

"[A]s a consequence of being named Sportsman of the Year: Bumgarner would have to acquire the first suit and tie he ever owned."

Also according to the profile: Bumgarner wore blue jeans to his wedding. We can't wait for Bumgarner-style to take America by storm.

He wasn't allowed to learn to throw a curveball until he was 16 years old

"Kevin had told his son to wait until he had a driver's license to throw a curve -- and by the time Madison was a licensed 16-year-old, his fastball was so good he had virtually no need for another pitch."

In addition to the perceived medical benefits of holding off on learning the pitch, it wouldn't have been fair to the other kids to teach a teenage Bumgarner a curveball to add to his arsenal.

His family's area of Caldwell County is called "Bumtown"

"So many Bumgarners took root here that this stretch of Deal Mill Road came to be known about a hundred years ago as Bumtown."

Where Madison hails from, he is simply one of many Bumgarners: nearly 200 Bumgarners are buried in Caldwell County cemeteries. There's even a Madison Bumgarner attending the pitcher's high school right now.

He gave his wife a cow before their wedding and she married him anyway

"He bought Ali a cow just before their wedding (though not specifically as a wedding present), and she loved it."

It may not be how you or I would woo our future spouses, but hey -- it worked. 

Check out the entire profile here, and bask in the greatness of Madison Bumgarner. And listen to Verducci discuss the pitcher on MLB Network's "Hot Stove":