The 2014 Major League Baseball season has been over for two months, but San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner is still reaping the rewards for his postseason heroics. On Tuesday, he was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.     

Per a release from Janie McCauley of The Associated Press, Bumgarner captured the honor ahead of two MLB players and the world’s best golfer:

Bumgarner finished first in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors. He beat out Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw—who won the National League Cy Young and MVP but lost to Bumgarner’s Giants in the playoffs. Retiring New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and golfer Rory McIlroy tied for third place.

Even though baseball is a team sport, Bumgarner was the single biggest difference-maker in the playoffs. The 25-year-old appeared in seven games, including a five-inning relief stint in Game 7 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals on just two days of rest, throwing 52.2 innings with 45 strikeouts and six earned runs allowed, via

Bumgarner was also named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year earlier this month. He told SI‘s Tom Verducci in a profile that a strong bout of homesickness after he was drafted in 2007 almost forced him out of baseball:

I was out of high school and had just turned 18 years old. I had been away from home a couple of times, but never more than a couple of days at a time, and I always had someone with me—family or friends, someone. I was out there by myself. I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, I contemplated just going home and choosing not to have this lifestyle because it was so different from what I was used to.

Even though Kansas City fans may not agree based on what happened in the World Series, there’s little doubt that Bumgarner made the right choice. All of these accolades, in addition to what happened on the field, show just how revered the young left-hander’s 2014 season was.  

Now, the only question is what Bumgarner does for an encore. Considering how much better he seems to be getting, there may not be a ceiling for him in 2015. 

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