Tag Archives: reliever

Did You Know…

John Smoltz was the first pitcher in major league baseball history to record 200 wins and 100 saves.


2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – John Smoltz

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – John Smoltz

The 2013 Topps Update baseball card set includes a subset tagged as ‘Postseason Heroes.  And with that theme, you would expect to find cards of modern players like Albert Pujols, Edgar Renteria, and Pablo Sandoval but none of these guys made the checklist.

That does leave room for some nice surprises…

This is the card of John Smoltz from the set:



In his 21 season major league career, John Smoltz made it to the postseason 14 times – 13 times with Atlanta and 1 time with St.Louis.

Smoltz has a career postseason record of 15-4 with 4 saves with 209 innings pitched.  He compiled an ERA of just 2.67 while striking out 199 batters while walking just 67.

In 1992, Smoltz won the 1992 NLCS due to his 2-win performance versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – Mariano Rivera

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – Mariano Rivera

The 2013 Topps Update baseball card set includes a subset tagged as ‘Postseason Heroes.  And with that theme, you would expect to find cards of modern players like Albert Pujols, Edgar Renteria, and Pablo Sandoval but none of these guys made the checklist.

That does leave room for some nice surprises…

This is the card of Mariano Rivera from the set:


Mariano Rivera’s postseason resume is incredibly impressive.  In 19 big league seasons, he made it to the postseason 16 times.  He has played in 7 World Series match-ups, winning 5 titles.

Rivera has a postseason record of 8-1 with 42 saves.  He has a postseason career ERA of 0.70 and has allowed a total of 13 runs in 141 innings of work.  He has struck out 110 batters in those 141 innings while striking out 21.

Million Dollar Question – Will Topps Honor Mariano Rivera In Their 2014 Series 1 Release??

Million Dollar Question – Will Topps Honor Mariano Rivera In Their 2014 Series 1 Release??

While I have yet to see a final checklist for the 2014 Topps Series 1 release, I am eager to see if Topps will do anything to honor the recently retired Mariano Rivera.

I have yet to see anything that says that they will, but I would be shocked if they did not.  Rivera is the class of the sport, and he is wildly popular among collectors – well past Yankees fans and collectors.

Surely something to honor him is in the works for Series 1, right??

What do you think??

rivera 2014

2006 Headline: Bruce Sutter Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

2006 Headline: Bruce Sutter Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

On this day in 2006, Bruce Sutter was elected into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  He received 400 of 520 votes cast, good for a 76.9% clip.  The 2006 ballot was Sutter’s 11th appearance as a potential member.

As a relief pitcher, Sutter has 300 career saves.  His record is just below .500 at 68-71.  But it was Sutter’s daily dominance that established him as one of baseball’s finest closers.  Sutter won the Cy Young award in 1979 and finished in 7th place for the MVP as well during that season.  With 37 saves, 101 strikeouts, and a 2.22 ERA, Sutter was a huge part of the success that the Cubs had in 1979.  In his career, Sutter has finished in the Top 6 for the Cy Young in 5 of his 12 years as a major league player.  In addition to that, Sutter has finished in the top 8 for the MVP in 5 seasons as well.  These are remarkable numbers for a pitcher, and a reliever at that.  Over the course of his career, Bruce Sutter struck out 861 batters while walking just 309.  That’s good for a 2.79 K:walk ratio which is solid for a player that pitched his innings during ‘crunch time’.

Bruce Sutter was part of the 1982 championship winning team in St. Louis.  In the 4-game series, Sutter won 1 game and saved 2 more.  He was one of many key cogs in the wheel that gave the Cardinals their 4-game sweep and World Series title.

Sutter plaque

1992 Headline: Tom Seaver & Rollie Fingers Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

1992 Headline: Tom Seaver & Rollie Fingers Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

On this day in 1992, both Tom Seaver and Rollie Fingers were elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Both pitchers amassed amazing individual and team accolades during their brilliant careers – Seaver as a starting pitcher, and Fingers as a reliever.

Tom Seaver won 311 games during his major league career while amassing 3,640 strikeouts.  Being a member of both the ’300 wins’ and ’3000 strikeouts’ clubs, Seaver is in very rare and elite company.  Seaver is a former Rookie of the Year, a 3-time Cy Young Award winner, 12-time All-Stat, and World Series Champion.

Rollie Fingers set the standard for the ‘closer’ role in baseball.  His is a member of the ’300 Saves Club’ with his 341 career saves.  Fingers has a career ERA of 2.90 and a lifetime strikeout to walk ratio of 2.64.  His ability to seal wins during his tenure with the A’s, Padres, and Brewers set the bar for his competition and the future of the closer role.  Fingers was a 7-time All-Star as well as a Cy Young and MVP winner.  He was part of three World Series championship winning teams in the 1970′s with Oakland.

Tom Seaver collected 425 of 430 votes cast during his first year of eligibility in 1985.

Rollie Fingers hauled in 349 of 430 votes cast in his second year of eligibility to gain entry into Cooperstown.

Happy Birthday Lee Smith!!!

Happy Birthday Lee Smith!!!

Lee Smith turns 56 years old today.

I am a big fan of Lee Smith’s - he is one of my favorite relief pitchers of all-time.

With 478 career saves, good for 3rd place in major league history, I consider Smith to still be a very underrated and underappreciated player.  And with so many records being broken by today’s group of relievers, I have to wonder how Smith would do if he was playing in today’s game.

During his 18-year career, Smith tallied at least 30 saves 11 times and 40 or more saves 4 times.  A closer like that would be an All-star in today’s game and he’d be earning a minimum of $10 million per year.  In contrast, Smith was an All-star just 7 times and the most he made in any one season was $2.8 million.

Happy Birthday Mr. Smith!!!   You are still valued and appreciated by this baseball fan!!!

Happy Birthday Mariano Rivera!!!

Happy Birthday Mariano Rivera!!!

Mariano Rivera turns 44 years old today!!

Quite possibly the greatest closer of all-time, and certainly the best closer in post season history, Rivera has many reasons to celebrate today!!

Among them would be that he is one of the most highly regarded relief pitchers in World Series history.  His efforts during the post season have helped the new York Yankees nab 5 World Series titles during his reign as the team’s closer.

Mariano capped his major league career in dramatic fashion at the end of the 2013 season.  He was classy each and every step of the way.  And while he still dominated when on the mound, he allowed us a few opportunities to truly take a deep breath and enjoy the moments with him.

His numbers in 2013 were typical Rivera – 64 appearance, 6-2 record, 44 saves, 2.11 ERA, 64 innings pitched with 54 strikeouts and just 9 walks allowed.

Happy Birthday Mr. Rivera!!!  Thank you for the memories…

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – John Smoltz VS Tom Glavine

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – John Smoltz VS Tom Glavine

This is going to be a tough one.  And it is also going to end my ‘Head-to-Head’ battles for a little while as next week I will switch back to some of the ‘Cast Your Vote’ debates.

This week, we’ll debate the careers of John Smoltz and Tom Glavine – teammates for most of their major league careers, and legendary Atlanta Braves pitchers.

The battle may not be the ideal match-up, as Smoltz spent four seasons as a closer while Glavine remained a starting pitcher for the duration of his playing days, but it will still be fun.

First, let’s look at their career numbers:

Smoltz Glavine
Seasons 21 22
Innings Pitched 3,473 4,413
Wins 213 305
20-Win Seasons 1 5
15-19 Win Seasons 5 5
Win % 57.9% 60.0%
Complete Games 53 56
Shutouts 16 25
Saves 154 0
30-Save Seasons 0 0
40-Save Seasons 2 0
50-Save Seasons 1 0
ERA 3.33 3.54
WHIP 1.176 1.314
Strikeouts 3,084 2,607
Walks 1010 1,500
K:Walk 3.05 1.74
K:9 Innings 8 5.3
All-Star 8 10
Silver Slugger 1 3
Gold Glove 0 0
Cy Young 1 2
ROY 0 0
MVP 0 0
Postseasons 14 12
WS Titles 1 1

Two extremely solid performers.  And two players that will both land in Cooperstown when first eligible (at least, in my opinion).

But, if you had to choose one player that had the better career, who would you pick:  John Smoltz OR Tom Glavine??

The career tally of wins is very hard to ignore.  With almost more than 100 wins that Smoltz, Glavine’s career number is very high and super respectable.  But, had Smoltz never left the starting rotation for the bullpen, he may have been able to get closer to 280-300 wins evening out the difference between the two of them substantially.

Had Smoltz never gone to the bullpen then we may not have learned about what kind of character he has as a competitor.  Seriously, how many players with the tag of ‘Ace’ would leave the rotation to be a closer and do it willingly and with a smile?  Not many.  And not only did Smoltz do it, but he became the best closer in the National League during that stretch.

Wins and saves aside, I do think that the more dominant pitcher is obvious – and that is how my vote will go.  John Smoltz simply had ‘the stuff’ while Tom Glavine was more of a refined and deliberate pitcher.  In 1,000 less innings of work, John Smoltz struck out 320 more batters that Tom Glavine while walking 500 less.  He has a lower career ERA and WHIP while also averaging almost 3.0 more strikeouts per contest.

Tom Glavine and John Smoltz each won one World Series.  Tom Glavine has two Cy Young Awards and John Smoltz has just one.  Glavine also has a lot more ‘Top 5′ finishes for the award than Smoltz, with some coming while Smoltz was the closer.

Still, for me, Smoltz was the more complete pitcher.  He gets my vote!!!


So, who gets your vote of this epic battle of elite pitchers and teammates???

2011 HEADLINE: Mariano Rivera Becomes All-Time Save Leader

2011 HEADLINE: Mariano Rivera Becomes All-Time Save Leader

The familiar opening guitar riff and drum beat from Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blared, and what has become perhaps the most legendary custom in the Yankees’ rich history commenced.

As the door to the outfield bullpen opened and Mariano Rivera appeared, the Yankee Stadium crowd rose to its feet. It would grow louder still through the scoreless ninth as the ever-dominant reliever converted yet another save. This one, the 602nd of his career, was one for the record books.

In preserving New York’s 6-4 victory against the Twins on Monday afternoon in the Bronx, Rivera eclipsed Trevor Hoffman for the top spot on baseball’s all-time saves list. The win, coupled with a Boston afternoon loss, trims New York’s playoff magic number to four and the club’s magic number to win the American League East to five.

It’s the seventh time in Rivera’s illustrious career that he has recorded at least 43 saves in a season (1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2009), as he continues to build on yet another 40-save year. Only Hoffman, who has done it nine times, has more than Rivera’s eight 40-save seasons.

It was the right-hander’s 290th save at home and 32nd against the Twins.