Posey, Sandoval, Cain, Romo pick up hardware for 2012 achievements
SAN FRANCISCO -- The GIBBYs (Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards) recognize the best players, teams and moments of a season, so the fact that MLB.com's presentation tour has taken us to some of the most celebrated teams in the game today isn't all that surprising.
A few teams had multiple GIBBY winners as a result of an outstanding 2012 season, but none more than the World Series champion Giants, who separated themselves from the pack once again, with a grand total of four GIBBYs. The players accepted their awards Tuesday.
Buster Posey was named Major League Comeback Player of the Year after returning from a season-ending knee injury in 2011. Posey led the big leagues with a .336 batting average, while also posting career highs with 24 homers and 103 RBIs. Posey has been a part of two World Series championship seasons, which equals the number of full seasons he has under his belt. And he's only 26.
Matt Cain was awarded the GIBBY for the top MLB Pitching Performance of the Year, which took place June 13 during a home game against the Astros. Cain retired all 27 hitters he faced, totaling 14 strikeouts, becoming the first pitcher in Giants history to throw a perfect game.
World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval was the easy favorite to win the MLB Postseason MVP GIBBY after plowing through October. He finished the postseason with a .364 average, six homers and 13 RBIs, and of course, had a three-homer night that put him in exclusive company as only the fourth player to do so in a single World Series game. You may have heard of the others: Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.
MLB Setup Man winner Sergio Romo started the season in that role, but he emerged as an equally valuable closer following the injury to Brian Wilson. Romo blanked opponents in 63 of 69 games, including 27 of his final 29 appearances, and excelled when asked to close out crucial contests down the stretch, particularly when the stakes were raised for the World Series champs in October. Appropriately, Romo recorded the final out of the Giants' sweep over the Tigers.
The GIBBYs, which have been handed out by MLB.com to A-list ballplayers for 11 years, honor the greatest players, moments, managers and feats of a season. The panel of voters is expansive, involving media, front office personnel, Major League alumni, fans who log on to MLB.com and experts from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
The GIBBYs are unique in that they recognize greatness from both the regular season and the playoffs, whereas other official Major League awards that are handed out are for top performances in the regular season only. GIBBY voting begins in early November and the winners are announced about a month later, at the Winter Meetings.
The best part of the GIBBYs may be how far-reaching and clever the categories are. Sure, a block of awards wouldn't be complete without the standards: MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and so on. But hey, this is the Internet. Space is unlimited -- so why shouldn't the awards be?
Remember Mike Trout's amazing full-out sprint and over-the-wall catch that robbed J.J. Hardy of a home run in Baltimore last June? GIBBY worthy -- as Play of the Year.
There was also Storyline of the Year, which resulted in a tie between the upstart Orioles' season and the dominant Nationals' run to the NL East title. And who could forget the cheeky Cut4 Topic of the Year, which went to Bryce Harper and his "That's a clown question, bro" exchange with a reporter?
With the GIBBYs, there's something for everyone -- especially in San Francisco, where there's plenty of hardware to go around.