Giants' Top 5 lefty starters: Guardado's take
SAN FRANCISCO -- No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans. With that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only. We also asked fans to weigh in on Twitter:
Here is Maria Guardado’s ranking of the top five left-handed starting pitchers in Giants history. Next week: relief pitchers.
1. Carl Hubbell, 1928-43
Key fact: Hubbell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947.
Nicknamed “The Meal Ticket,” Carl Hubbell went 253-154 with a 2.98 ERA over his 16-year career with the New York Giants. He earned two National League MVP Awards, in 1933 (23-12, 1.66 ERA) and ’36 (26-6, 2.31 ERA), was a nine-time All-Star and led the Majors in ERA three times.
From 1933-37, Hubbell logged five consecutive 20-win seasons, propelling the Giants to three NL pennants and the ’33 World Series title. Known for his screwball, Hubbell showcased his dominance during his three-inning stint in the ’34 All-Star Game, when he struck out five future Hall of Famers in a row: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.
2. Madison Bumgarner, 2009-19
Key fact: His 0.25 career ERA in the World Series is the lowest of any pitcher in history (minimum 20 innings).
A first-round Draft pick of the Giants in 2007, Madison Bumgarner spent the first 11 years of his career in San Francisco, going 119-92 with a 3.13 ERA while earning four All-Star nods and two NL Silver Slugger Awards. But he often saved his best work for October, when he established himself as one of the greatest postseason pitchers in baseball history during the Giants’ three World Series championship runs.
The fiery left-hander carried his club over the finish line in 2014, logging a 0.43 ERA over 21 innings against the Royals and converting a five-inning save in Game 7 to close out the club’s third title in five years. Bumgarner’s performance made him the obvious choice for World Series MVP, marking the first time the prize had been awarded to a Giants pitcher.
3. Johnny Antonelli, 1954-60
Key fact: Antonelli recorded the final out of the 1954 World Series.
Acquired from the Milwaukee Braves as part of a six-player deal in 1954, Johnny Antonelli helped the Giants capture their final World Series championship in New York by going 21-7 with a 2.30 ERA over 258 2/3 innings in his first season with his new club. Antonelli spent seven seasons with the Giants and followed the team to San Francisco in 1958. He went 108-84 with a 3.13 ERA and earned six All-Star selections before being traded to Cleveland following the 1960 season.
4. Hooks Wiltse, 1904-14
Key fact: Wiltse began his Major League career by going 12-0, a record that has never been broken and was matched only by reliever Butch Metzger, who won the first dozen decisions of his career from 1974-76.
Hooks Wiltse’s nickname might have stemmed from his ability to throw a curveball or his fielding ability. Either way, the moniker stuck over his 11 seasons with the New York Giants, when he went 136-85 with a 2.48 ERA.
Wiltse’s finest campaign came in 1908, when he became the Giants’ No. 2 starter behind future Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson. Wiltse went 23-14 record and logged a 2.24 ERA over 330 innings, setting career highs in starts (38), complete games (30) and shutouts (seven).
5. Rube Marquard, 1908-15
Key fact: Marquard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
Rube Marquard reached the Majors in 1908 after the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association sold his contract to the New York Giants for a then-record $11,000. He initially failed to live up to expectations, winning only nine games in his first two full seasons, but he finally broke through in ’11, when he went 24-7 with a 2.50 ERA over 277 2/3 innings.
Marquard won at least 20 games each season from 1911-13 as the Giants reeled off three consecutive NL pennants. He opened the ’12 season by winning 19 consecutive decisions, a modern era record. Marquard also threw a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Robins in his ’15 season debut. Later that season, Marquard’s contract was sold to Brooklyn, ending his eight-year run with the Giants.
• Cliff Melton spent his entire eight-year career with the New York Giants and was named an All-Star in 1942, when he went 11-5 with a 2.63 ERA over 143 2/3 innings in an injury-shortened season.
• Mike McCormick was named an All-Star four times and captured the 1967 NL Cy Young Award after going 22-10 with a 2.85 ERA over 262 1/3 innings.
• Vida Blue earned three of his six career All-Star nods with the Giants and placed third in NL Cy Young voting in 1978, when he went 18-10 with a 2.79 ERA over 258 innings.