SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford, who seemed born to be a Giant, and Javier López, considered part of the club's heart by nickname and through his performance, were named co-winners of the Willie Mac Award on Friday during a pregame ceremony.This marked the third time since the award's inception in
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford, who seemed born to be a Giant, and Javier López, considered part of the club's heart by nickname and through his performance, were named co-winners of the Willie Mac Award on Friday during a pregame ceremony.
This marked the third time since the award's inception in 1980 that voting among teammates, manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff, the athletic training staff, fans and McCovey himself resulted in a tie. Right-hander Mark Leiter and outfielder Mark Carreon split the award in 1995, six years before right-hander Mark Gardner and catcher Benito Santiago shared the distinction in 2001.
Considered the team's most prestigious honor, the award is given annually to the most inspirational Giant who also maintains the dignified character of McCovey, the Hall of Fame first baseman who slugged 521 home runs during a career that ended in 1980. McCovey, who announced the winners, drew a vigorous ovation from spectators.
Crawford, 29, grew up rooting for the Giants before they selected him in the fourth round of the Draft in 2008 out of UCLA. Upon becoming San Francisco's regular shortstop in 2012, Crawford quickly developed a reputation for toughness by playing with nagging ailments. Last year, for instance, Crawford endured oblique and calf injuries yet won the National League Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards at his position.
"He's a guy who shows up every day, puts the team first and plays hurt," Giants bench coach Ron Wotus said. "Those are things that you don't see on the field, but obviously they're characteristic of the Willie Mac [winner]. His performance is secondary to all those other things and I think his teammates realize that."
This year, Crawford has played in 153 games, matching a career high, with a team-leading 83 RBIs and a personal-best .275 batting average.
Lopez, 39, has become among the most respected Giants since they obtained him from Pittsburgh for right-hander Joe Martinez and outfielder John Bowker on July 31, 2010.
Lopez's steadiness and durability made him part of San Francisco's "Core Four" of relievers, along with Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt, who retired after last season.
Lopez has made 446 appearances as a Giant, ranking him eighth on the franchise's all-time list. The lefty specialist has compiled a 2.47 ERA with San Francisco while limiting opponents to a .213 batting average.
"Every player strives to be a great teammate -- looking out for others, selfless. And I think Crawford fits that mold," Lopez said. "All the recipients, I feel, fit that criteria. I'm grateful and thankful that at my old age that people still like what I contribute."
Crawford's father, Michael, and Lopez's father, Francisco, punctuated the festivities by throwing ceremonial first pitches to their sons.
Past winners attending the ceremony included inaugural recipient Jack Clark (1980), Larry Herndon (1981), Darrell Evans (1983), Dave Dravecky (1989), Mike "Tiny" Felder (1992) and Marvin Benard (1999), besides those still in uniform as coaches or players.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.