Bumgarner voted Giants' Willie Mac Award winner

Bumgarner voted Giants' Willie Mac Award winner

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the pitching staff's top winner and one of the roster's leading competitors, received the 2014 Willie Mac Award on Friday as the team's most inspirational player.

Bumgarner, 25, was chosen to receive the organization's highest honor in a vote among Giants players, coaches, training staff and fans.

"I'm honored to accept this prestigious award," Bumgarner said in a brief speech during a pregame ceremony.

After the Giants' 4-1 loss to San Diego, Bumgarner said, referring to his teammates, "It means a lot because of the people who are voting for it."

The award is named for Willie McCovey, the Hall of Fame first baseman, who was unable to present the trophy for the first time since its inception in 1980. McCovey, 76, recently was hospitalized with an infection in his legs.

Bumgarner addressed McCovey during the ceremony by saying, "If you're watching, we wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you at the park."

Serving as the pregame master of ceremonies, Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow related that McCovey expressed regret for not being able to attend the festivities.

"Willie, you'll always be here," Krukow said he told the legendary slugger.

McCovey was represented by his daughter, Allison, a brother, Clauzell, and grandchildren Raven Jackson, P.J. Patrick and Marissa Patrick. Also attending were past award winners Larry Herndon, Darrell Evans, Bob Brenly, Chris Speier, Dave Dravecky, Robby Thompson, Mike Felder, J.T. Snow, Jeff Kent, Marvin Benard and Andres Torres, as well as honorees on the current roster and coaching staff.

Bumgarner has become renowned among teammates for his competitive intensity and the confidence it breeds. He's a lock to start Wednesday's Wild Card game against either Pittsburgh or St. Louis.

"When the guy takes the ball, there's that feeling that we're going to win," right-hander Ryan Vogelsong said. "As a pitcher, that's one of the best feelings you can have. I've had it here in the past where you can tell when you walk in the room that the guys are excited that you're on the mound that day. ... For me, the thing that stands out the most is the energy the team has when he takes the mound."

Bumgarner, who made his second straight National League All-Star team this year, has reached career highs in wins (18), innings (217 1/3) and strikeouts (219) while making a team-high 33 starts. His strikeout total is the highest by a left-hander since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.

Bumgarner also is a leading candidate to win the Silver Slugger award as the league's top hitter at his position. He leads all pitchers in batting average (.262), runs (10), hits (17), homers (four), RBIs (15) and slugging percentage (.477).

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.