Madison Bumgarner will make his first postseason appearance Wednesday night since his incredible run in 2014 that helped the Giants win the World Series title.
His overall World Series stats are an astonishing 4-0, a save and a 0.25 ERA. He also has three championship rings.
“I think, like a lot of great athletes and pitchers, he is just really good in the moment,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy recently told ESPN. “They’re such good competitors. They don’t let the game itself, the magnitude of the game, bother them.”
As Bumgarner takes the mound tonight against the Mets, here’s more on the pitcher’s background, and family.
1. His Family Is From an Area Called ‘Bumtown’
Madison was born August 1, 1989, in Hickory, North Carolina, and grew up near the Blue Ridge foothills in an area away nicknamed “Bumtown” because of the abundance of people with the surname Bumgarner who have lived there over the years after their ancestors settled there from Germany.
“There’s just a lot of Bumgarners there, for whatever reason,” Madison told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t ever think I thought anything about it.”
2. They Enjoy the Outdoors
Madison grew up in a log house that his father, Kevin, built. His father has impressive woodworking skills, but was never a talented athlete.
“I didn’t play high school baseball,” he told Yahoo! Sports. “Couldn’t hit a curve. I was 72 pounds in the first grade.”
Madison has always enjoyed the outdoors.
“There’s so much green that I forget about when I’m gone,” he told For The Win. “I love it here. Love the land, love the people, the weather, everything. There’s no place like home, that’s for sure.
“We’ve got a lot of horses, and they have a very distinct smell about them. Anybody out there that owns them knows what I’m talking about. You miss that, and the smell of the woods, the grass, the creeks. All the different smells that you don’t get a chance to be around living downtown somewhere.”
Madison’s maternal grandfather, Lewis Abernathy, taught him how to hunt and fish.
“He taught me everything I know about that,” he told Sports Illustrated.
3. Madison & Ali Met in High School
Ali grew up in the small town of Hudson, North Carolina — not far form Hickory.
The two started dating when they both attended South Caldwell High School in Hudson, where Madison led the Spartans to a state championship as a senior in 2007.
Madison and his wife both share a love for the outdoors.
During the offseason, they return to North Carolina where they live on a farm in Granite Falls, Caldwell.
In Madison’s 2014 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, Tom Verducci described how Madison and his wife rescued a jackrabbit inside a snake.
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.
4. Madison Married Ali on Valentine’s Day in 2010
Madison married his high school sweetheart, Ali Saunders on Valentine’s Day in 2010.
He once gave his wife a cow as a gift for her birthday. Also according to his Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year profile, Madison wore blue jeans to his own wedding.
When Madison accepted his Sportsman of the Year award, he credited the support of his wife to much of his success.
“Lastly, but not least I want to thank my wife, there’s no way I would be able to do any of this stuff without her, thank you so much,” he told the crowd. “I love you, and looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together.”
5. He Has 3 Siblings
The Bumgarner family brims with pride when they watch their son, and brother play baseball.
Madison’s mother, Debbie opened up to the Hickory Record about the relationship she shares with her youngest son.
“When he has a good game, I have a good night. If he has an off night, I take it like a mom,” she told the paper. “When we feel like our children are hurt… we hurt.”
“But I quickly remind myself that Madison puts that game behind him and starts focusing on his next start. Probably the thing that feels the oddest to me as his mom is when people want him to sign hats, cards, etc.
“I remember when he was playing for Augusta at the Crawdads in Hickory… I got in line and got his autograph…
“I still chuckle about that. I’m momma, so when I see him on TV he is still my son, but when I see him pitching a great game, it just kind of seems like a dream.”
Debbie told the publication she has two other sons, and a 13-year-old adopted daughter.
Although his mother usually doesn’t travel to see his games, she always watches them from home.
“The best part is I get to watch with my parents, Lewis and Marvie Abernathy. They baby sat Madison until he started school,” she told the Hickory Record in 2013.
“My dad is 81 and I better not tell my mom’s age, but they come to my home every time Madison pitches and we watch the game together. Those memories I will always cherish. They get really serious, and it is sweet to see how happy it makes them to watch one of their grandsons playing Major League Baseball. My dad always wears his San Francisco hat and is quick to share that he is Madison’s Pawpaw.”
Both of Madison’s parents have spoken about the respect they have for their son.
“Madison’s a great guy,” his dad told Yahoo! Sports. “He’s probably a better person than I am.”
After the Giants clinched the 2014 World Series title, Kevin shared the text he sent to his son with the New York Times.
Following the the eight inning of Game 7 against the Kansas City Royals Kevin texted:
OMG. You’re so much more than awesome. To see you work on the mound reminds me of watching you in high school. You are willing yourself to perfection and dragging the team along with you. I couldn’t be more proud of your baseball accomplishments.