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Travis Ishikawa -- yes, Travis Ishikawa -- sends Giants to World Series with walk-off home run

Travis Ishikawa's journey started with the Giants 12 years ago when he was selected in the 21st round of the 2002 Draft. After making his Major League debut with the team in 2006, something that only 7 percent of all players drafted in the 21st round or later do, Ishikawa went on to do something even rarer: win a World Series ring. In the Giants' 2010 series against the Rangers, the first baseman collected an RBI double:

Since then, the first baseman has bounced around, spending time with Milwaukee, Baltimore and New York with stops in Nashville, Norfolk, and Charlotte along the way. 

This spring, Ishikawa broke camp with the Pirates before being released 34 at-bats later, even contemplating quitting baseball altogether.

But he stuck with it and, like a salmon swimming up the river in a hurricane with hungry bears trying to eat him, Ishikawa returned to the Giants. He looks a little different these days:


In Game 1 of the NLCS, Ishikawa drove in the Giants' first run and made an impressive diving catch in the 3-0 victory. When a pair of Mike Trout's cleats showed up in his locker after the game, Madison Bumgarner joked that he wasn't "cool enough" to wear them

In Game 3, Ishikawa drove in three runs in the Giants' eventual 5-4 victory. 

And in Game 5, with the Giants and Cardinals tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth and a trip to the World Series on the line, Ishikawa did this:

Ishikawa walk-off

Not only was this Ishikawa's first postseason home run, but it was the first walk-off home run of his career, too. Although it was nearly a walk-off single since people kept getting in his way:

Ishikawa rounds third

But by that point, Ishikawa was going on pure instinct. As he said after the game:

" And I don't remember touching third. I don't remember touching home... The next thing I remember was being thrown down with my jersey ripped off and then finally I was just so out of breath from yelling and screaming, and I had to have guys help me stand back up to finish celebrating."

Ishikawa scores

Something tells me he's now cool enough for any shoes.