2019 Nominee – Will Smith
Will Smith was acquired by the Giants from the Brewers July 31, 2016. He missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and quickly established himself as one of the Giants’ best relievers in 2018 posting a 2.55 ERA with a .194 opponents average and going 14-18 in save opportunities. One of his biggest accomplishments in 2018 was wining the Willie Mac award. In honor of Willie McCovey, it has been presented annually since 1980 to the most inspirational player as voted upon by Giants players, coaches, training staff, and more recently, Giants fans. Sadly, Willie McCovey passed on October 31, 2018.
The 29-year-old has been one of the best relief pitchers in the Majors this season, converting all 13 of his save opportunities while posting a 2.38 ERA along with 32 strikeouts in 22.2 innings. His 13-consecutive saves to start the season are the third-most by a Giant to start a season since 1969 (Rod Beck had 28 in 1994 and Craig Lefferts had 15 in 1989). Smith’s .195 opponent’s OBP is second-lowest among NL relievers behind Milwaukee’s Josh Hader (.194) and his opponent’s OPS (.464) is also second-lowest in the NL behind St. Louis’ John Gant (.418).
Will Smith has dedicated his off the field actions to support the military, in particular Navy Seals and their families. He finds his inspiration from his Grandfathers, Marine veteran James Allen Windom “Granddaddy” and Navy veteran Harry Clinton Smith “Paw Paw”. Smith has hosted Navy Seals in Scottsdale and San Diego including field visits and meet and greets. He has taken a tour at the Naval Special Warfare training center in Coronado and brought a group of Giants players to support BUDS. Smith has met numerous Seals and has created personal relationships with a few of them. He has provided jerseys and game used cleats that have traveled with the Seals on deployment.
The Giants have had a special relationship with Ryan Owens and his family over the years and Will Smith supports Ryan’s non-profit Naked Warrior Project through awareness. The Naked Warrior Project was created to memorialize the fallen and support their families and children.
The Giants, Navy Seal Foundation, and Will Smith will team up in 2019 to host Navy Seals and their families throughout the season. This includes tickets, field visit to watch batting practice, and a meet & greet.
“I have the freedom to do what I do because they are brave enough to defend my freedom, they are my heroes.” ~ Will Smith
The Giants are honored to nominate Will Smith for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. We look forward to continuing to work with Will to support our Military programs, events, and awareness days. He is always the first one to assist for this cause.