The Greatest Relievers of All Time

January 5, 2021
             The Greatest Relievers of All Time

 

OK, let’s pick up with one of the questions that I was interested in, that started this project.   Have relief pitchers, in fact, become more reliable over time?  Relievers in the 1960s, 1970s. . . .they had brilliant seasons, and then they disappeared.   But how much different is it now?

It is different.  In 1915 there was only one pitcher who qualified for the top-10 list, and he did not repeat, so we enter that as     1      0.   In 1916 there was only one, and he did not repeat, so we enter that, again, as     1      0. 

The total for that decade is   4     0.     For the 1920s, there were 12 pitchers (total) who qualified for the top ten list, only one of whom ever repeated (Firpo Marberry, 1925-1926), so we enter that as    12     1.   This is the total for the decades up through the 1950s:

 

 

Decade

Pitchers

Repeating

Percentage

1910s

4

0

0%

1920s

12

1

8%

1930s

19

6

32%

1940s

55

13

24%

1950s

82

27

33%

 

What that shows, of course, is that the Top-10 relievers lists are filling out over time, and (b) that this is not happening very rapidly.  But it is happening. 

But then when we get to the 1960s, we learn something from doing this (which is such a relief; usually I don’t learn nothin’.)  But this time we do.  This is the "repeating on the list percentage" from 1960 through 2010:

 

Decade

Pitchers

Repeating

Percentage

1960s

100

23

23%

1970s

100

25

25%

1980s

100

30

30%

1990s

100

37

37%

2000s

100

42

42%

 

That looks like a pretty definitive pattern, doesn’t it?  Numbers can fool you; sometimes it looks like there is information there, but it’s really just random.  But this looks like a pattern.  The percentage of Top-10 Relief Pitchers repeating on the list increased steadily from 1960 to 2009.  Presumably this happened because the change in usage patterns of relievers reduced the strain on them, allowing them to remain effective. 

In the last decade—and we have only 90 pitchers in this sample, because we have no 2020 data—but in the last decade only 27 of 90 pitchers have repeated on the list, or 30%.  This may have happened because the explosion of short-usage relief pitchers in the last 10 years has made it more difficult to stay on the list.   That’s just speculation, though; I can’t say for sure, at this time, that that’s what is really indicated by that pattern. 

 

The next thing I wanted to get to is the average performance of a #1 Relief Pitcher, by decade.  This chart summarizes that data:

 

Decade

G

W

L

WPct

IP

SO

BB

H

BFP

GS

SV

ERA

1930s

45

10

6

.627

119.0

50

43

113

504

4

9

3.23

1940s

50

11

6

.651

112.2

57

41

91

462

1

12

2.30

1950s

60

13

5

.732

117.0

62

41

97

478

2

17

2.53

1960s

70

12

6

.692

129.1

107

41

93

516

0

26

2.04

1970s

77

11

7

.607

143.1

109

49

112

581

0

28

1.99

1980s

70

8

4

.657

117.1

78

28

92

461

0

31

1.74

1990s

67

7

3

.704

77.2

89

25

53

299

0

42

1.69

2000s

70

5

3

.638

74.2

92

16

46

286

0

46

1.68

2010s

69

4

2

.649

70.1

95

19

44

273

0

42

1.29

 

I once heard from a reader that I had overrated Roy Face’s season in 1959.  Face went 18-1 but, said the reader, "a reliever’s job is to save games, not to win them."  That was in the 1980s.  "Saves" were a relatively new thing, but in this gentleman’s mind, they taken control of the subject.  I tried to explain to him that relief pitchers in 1959 were not used in the same way that they were in the 1980s. 

It’s a natural thing.   We all tend to apply the standards of the present to the past—unless you know better.  I find this syndrome all the time, writing about baseball or crime or politics or whatever.  It’s why I am doing this.  I’m trying to help people understand what things were like in the past, and how we got where we are. 

#1 relievers in the 1950s had an average won-lost record of 13-5.  It wasn’t just Face being 18-1; the records of the top relievers for that decade were 16-7, 11-2, 15-4, 10-6, 10-7, 13-5, 14-5, 12-8, 10-3 and 18-1.   They averaged 17 Saves—13 Wins, 17 Saves.  They were often brought in to tie games, and often brought in when the team was a run or two behind. 

#1 relievers averaged 581 batters faced in the 1970s.  In the last decade the average is less than half of that (273). 

Saves by #1 relievers INCREASED in every decade until the last one, and declined in the last decade—again, an interesting observation although it is too early to know for sure what it means. 

The average ERAs of the #1 relievers have improved in every decade since the 1950s, dropping from 2.53 to 1.29.

The effectiveness levels, reflected in hits/inning and strikeout/walk ratio, have steadily and fairly dramatically improved—but, again, over fewer and fewer innings.  Relief pitchers become more and more effective, because they are asked to do less and less. 

An average #1 reliever’s winning percentage has always been over .600, and the variations in that would not appear to be significant. 

 

And we come, finally, to the question of who was the greatest reliever of all time.   Not saying my answer is correct; not saying that your answer is correct, either, but I have studied the issue in a systematic manner, and this is what I have.  

First, I gave each reliever "points" for appearing on the list of the Top 10 relievers of the season—10 points for being first, 9 points for being second, 8 points for being third; you know the drill.

Except that, for many of the years from 1915 to 1958, there aren’t 10 pitchers on the list, so you can’t actually do that.   So then I modified the points system so that if there is only a 9-man list for that season, then the #1 man only gets 9 points, the #2 man 8 points, etc.  

Except that that seems unfair to a pitcher who is the top reliever of the year, but is the only one who qualifies for the list.   So then I modified the rule from the previous paragraph, so that the #1 man—if he qualifies for the list, at all—always gets at least 3 points.  

Then you add up the career points for each reliever.   These are the ten top relievers ever, by that system:

 

Rank

First

Last

Pts

1

Mariano

Rivera

108

2

Hoyt

Wilhelm

63

3

Goose

Gossage

58

4

Joe

Nathan

57

5

Rollie

Fingers

55

6

Craig

Kimbrel

47

7

Dan

Quisenberry

45

7

Billy

Wagner

45

7

Robb

Nen

45

7

Trevor

Hoffman

45

 

Turns out this "Mariano Rivera" guy was pretty good; stop the presses.  In a moment, just for shits and grins, I’ll give you the Top 40, just so you can find Aroldis Chapman and Dave Righetti and Jesse Orosco and Tom Henke and all the other pretenders that some twit on Twitter has tried to tell me was the greatest of all time.  I’m sorry; I guess Righetti and Orosco don’t make the Top 40.

Anyway, if Mariano wasn’t at the top of the list I probably wouldn’t have printed it, but there was something on the Top 10 list that really stunned me.  Joe Nathan is the 4th greatest reliever of all time?   You’re kidding? 

I had to double-check my work, make sure I hadn’t entered as "6" as "26" or something.  I hadn’t.  I just had not realized that Joe Nathan’s was AS dominant, compared to his time, as he was.  Nathan ranks as the #1 reliever of 2006 and 2009, and ranks in the top five in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2013.  Billy Wagner can’t match that, and Rollie Fingers can’t match that, and Trevor Hoffman can’t match that, and Bruce Sutter and Lee Smith aren’t even playing in that league.   If you add Bruce Sutter and Lee Smith together, they rank ahead of Joe Nathan, but just barely.  I was quite stunned to learn this. 

I was so surprised by this that I decided to rank them a different way.  My second ranking was this.  I arranged relief seasons by age, rather than by year, and ranked all relief seasons 1 through 25 by age, from ages 20 to 40.  This is consistent with my often-explained philosophy of research:  look at the issue in different ways, with different sets of rules, so that you can be sure that what you are seeing is a real thing, rather than a chance impression created by the way you happened to do your ranking system. 

So I ranked them 1 through 25, and I gave each pitcher 25 points for finishing first in his age group, 24 points for finishing second, 23 points for finishing third, etc.    The best season ever for a 26-year-old reliever was by Eric Gagne in 2002; the best season ever by a 31-year-old reliever was by Mike Marshall in 1974, etc. 

I put all pitchers who were (a) under age 20, or (b) over age 40 into one age group and took the 25 best in that group.  The best season ever by a reliever over 40 or under 20 was by Hoyt Wilhelm in 1964; the second-best was by Mariano in 2013.  This system works to the advantage of Hoyt Wilhelm, as it enables him to pick up multiple mentions in the same category, which seems fair; Wilhelm was consistently brilliant at an advanced age.   I designed it to be fair to Hoyt Wilhelm. 

Anyway, when I do it this way, Joe Nathan has to compete with Dick Radatz and with Willie Hernandez, 1984, and Lindy McDaniel, 1960, and all of the great relief seasons in history.  And this is the Top 10 relievers ranking which results from that effort:

 

Rank

First

Last

Pts

1

Mariano

Rivera

255

2

Hoyt

Wilhelm

187

3

Joe

Nathan

144

4

Trevor

Hoffman

119

5

Billy

Wagner

103

5

Kent

Tekulve

103

7

Francisco

Rodriguez

101

8

Goose

Gossage

98

9

Dennis

Eckersley

96

20

Mike

Marshall

95

 

Joe Nathan is no longer fourth.  He’s now third.  Studied in that way, Mariano holds the top spot and the list shuffles quite a bit, but Joe Nathan moves UP, from fourth place on a list of the greatest relievers ever up to third place.  How about them apples? 

So I concluded, then, that I just never realized how good this guy really was. 

On learning this, I posted on Twitter that Joe Nathan was the most underrated relief pitcher of all time.  Some people agreed with me, and a lot of people tried to tell me it was Ron Perranoski or John Wetteland or Ted Abernathy or somebody, and one delusional gentleman wrote "You misspelled Pat Neshek."  Pat Neshek’s score in one of these systems was zero, and in the other one, zero. 

Anyway, several people pointed out that Nathan’s performance in Post Season play was terrible, which (a) is entirely true, (b) is very relevant to the issue, and (c) I was not aware of.  As I had overlooked Nathan’s excellence, so too I had overlooked his failures in post-season play. 

So maybe he isn’t the third or fourth greatest reliever of all time, because of his post-season failures, or perhaps he isn’t because my ranking system just isn’t that good.   Most people’s ranking systems are what is generally called "intuition", so I’ll put my research ahead of their intuition, but I’m not claiming this is a perfect method.  All I am really saying is, Joe Nathan’s career was one hell of a lot better than I ever realized that it was. 

I promised you top 40 lists, so here goes.  Hall of Famers in Bold Face.

 

Rank

First

Last

Pts

 

Rank

First

Last

Pts

1

Mariano

Rivera

108

 

1

Mariano

Rivera

255

2

Hoyt

Wilhelm

63

 

2

Hoyt

Wilhelm

187

3

Goose

Gossage

58

 

3

Joe

Nathan

144

4

Joe

Nathan

57

 

4

Trevor

Hoffman

119

5

Rollie

Fingers

55

 

5

Billy

Wagner

103

6

Craig

Kimbrel

47

 

6

Kent

Tekulve

103

7

Dan

Quisenberry

45

 

7

Francisco

Rodriguez

101

7

Robb

Nen

45

 

8

Goose

Gossage

98

7

Trevor

Hoffman

45

 

9

Dennis

Eckersley

96

7

Billy

Wagner

45

 

10

Mike

Marshall

95

11

Roy

Face

42

 

11

Dan

Quisenberry

94

12

Dennis

Eckersley

41

 

12

Craig

Kimbrel

93

12

Roberto

Hernandez

41

 

13

John

Hiller

92

14

Sparky

Lyle

38

 

14

Robb

Nen

83

15

Mike

Marshall

37

 

15

Stu

Miller

81

15

Jonathan

Papelbon

37

 

16

Roy

Face

77

17

Stu

Miller

35

 

16

Dave

Smith

77

17

Lindy

McDaniel

35

 

18

Roberto

Osuna

76

19

John

Wetteland

34

 

19

Jeff

Reardon

74

20

Rod

Beck

33

 

20

Lindy

McDaniel

71

21

Ron

Perranoski

31

 

20

Ted

Abernathy

71

22

Dick

Radatz

30

 

20

Sparky

Lyle

71

22

Bruce

Sutter

30

 

23

Dick

Radatz

68

22

Lee

Smith

30

 

23

Ellis

Kinder

68

22

Tom

Henke

30

 

23

Doug

Jones

68

26

Tug

McGraw

29

 

26

Fernando

Rodney

65

26

Francisco

Rodriguez

29

 

26

Eric

Gagne

65

28

Kent

Tekulve

28

 

26

John

Smoltz

63

28

Eric

Gagne

28

 

29

Bruce

Sutter

59

30

Clay

Carroll

27

 

30

Rollie

Fingers

58

30

John

Hiller

27

 

31

Jose

Mesa

57

30

Kenley

Jansen

27

 

32

Huston

Street

56

30

Aroldis

Chapman

27

 

33

Ron

Perranoski

53

34

Todd

Worrell

26

 

33

Billy

McCool

53

34

Zach

Britton

26

 

35

Koji

Uehara

52

36

Keith

Foulke

25

 

36

Mitch

Williams

51

37

Armando

Benitez

24

 

37

Tom

Henke

50

38

Clem

Labine

23

 

37

Al

Worthington

50

38

Gerry

Staley

23

 

39

Kenley

Jansen

48

38

Turk

Farrell

23

 

39

Roberto

Hernandez

48

38

Roberto

Hernandez

23

         

 

The list on the left, the highest score for one season is 10 points; the list on the right, the highest score is 25 points.  Mariano’s score can thus be represented as 10.8 seasons as baseball’s best reliever (108 divided by 10), or 10.2 seasons as baseball’s best reliever (255 divided by 25.)  Joe Nathan’s score can be represented as 5.7 seasons as baseball’s best reliever (57 divided by 10), or 5.76 seasons (144 divided by 25.)  

Systems like this are intended to inform our opinions or guide them, not to dictate to us.  How you rank the best relievers is up to you; I’m just trying to inform the discussion.   Thanks for reading. 

 

(Sorry about Roberto Hernandez being on the list twice.  I have tried to fix that, but our posting software has defeated me.  Roberto Hernandez should only be on the list once, and his correct score is 26. I'm not sure what went wrong in the underlying program.)  

 
 

COMMENTS (34 Comments, most recent shown first)

ForeverRoyal
I also thoroughly enjoyed both parts and always love seeing Quiz high up on any list.
1:05 AM Jan 22nd
 
kcpossum
I enjoyed this article very much, and was pleasantly surprised to see Dan Quisenberry so high on the list.

While I recall his string of high-save years from 80-85, I also recall that his 37-save year in 1985 came with a loss of effectiveness against lefthanded hitters. Dick Howser's R-L-R pitcher rotations in both games 6 & 7 of the '85 AL Championship series was largely to get Al Oliver (LH) out of game (Bobby Cox stuck strictly to his Oliver-Cliff Johnson platoon, and would yank Oliver against the mid-game lefty), so that righty Quiz could face mostly RH hitters in the 9th. He could still almost invariably force righties into smothering ground balls to the infield. By 1986 his effectiveness against both was declining.

Glad to see that Quiz's accomplishments stand up historically; he was a great person in addition to being a great relief pitcher.

3:40 PM Jan 12th
 
BrianFleming
As a member of the "Let's Get Kent Tekulve and Julio Franco in the HOF Club" I like the second list that puts the Teke 6th all time, ahead of Goose, Eck, Smoltz, Fingers and Sutter. Thank you for the great articles this month!
12:26 PM Jan 8th
 
garywmaloney
A fine addition to the pantheon of Bill studies since the publication of Win Shares and the Gold Mine books (which were a lot of fun).

I think this one ranks among the best, with the gold standard being the Big Game study, reprinted in one of the green books and which I re-read from time to time.

Studies like these, the recent demolition of WAR, and the Hey Bills, are big reasons why BJOL remains my primary go-to baseball site.
9:43 AM Jan 8th
 
FrankD
Great thought provoking article. Very hard to measure a 'thing' that is still in evolution. You may not be able to separate the variable you are trying to measure from its own context. What I mean here is that managers used relief pitchers differently though time, from using pitchers as relievers that were perceived to be not good enough to start and using starters used in key relief times vs slowly evolving to having specific closers. So, was it better overall to have top starters also do key relief? Was it better to have good relievers appear a lot of innings or is it better to let the top reliever only appear in save situations? Bill has shown the comparison of the above different types of relievers and their impact. Very interesting. Next question is: what is the optimal use of the starting staff and relievers?
10:42 PM Jan 7th
 
DanaKing
Thanks for this, Bill. Articles such as this, where you take the time to describe the history and evolution of an aspect of the game, are my favorite thing about the web site. I thoroughly enjoyed this article.
1:13 PM Jan 7th
 
Rallymonkey5
On baseball-reference, Hiller comes up as the 2nd best relief season of all time. Goose in 1975 is #1.

Goose pitched 16 more innings and gave up 11 more runs, that’s worse than replacement but he edges Hiller thanks to a slightly higher leverage.

Hiller’s 1.8 leverage is still fairly high. Some more recent pitchers are a bit over 2.0 but it’s really hard to have much more than that. All of the top WAR relief seasons are pitching far more innings than current closers. The top season with a modern workload is Papelbon 2006, ranking 20th.
12:40 PM Jan 7th
 
TheRicemanCometh
Regarding Leverage Index, BBallRef shows that modern closers have a much higher Average LI than the 60s and 70s Firemen. In Hiller's '73 season his average LI was 1.824, and the highest he ever had was 1.939 in '76. Mo had 7 seasons with an Avg LI over 2.0. Even if you compare Hiller to Nathan, Wagner, etc., their Avg LI's in their best seasons are consistently higher than Hiller, Goose, etc., in their best. At least according to BBallRef. Not sure how they calculate it, but that's what it shows.

I guess that means modern relievers aren't pitching as many 3-run saves as we think, and they are, more often than not, pitching with the game on the line.

Also, I see that Bob Stanley and Calvin Schiraldi are not on the lists. Good riddance and curse them forever.
9:43 AM Jan 7th
 
meandean
Bill, perhaps the double Roberto Hernandez can be traced back to the cause that there were two notable pitchers of that name. The other one (who began his career being called "Fausto Carmona") wasn't primarily a reliever, but he did hang around for 11 seasons.
8:57 AM Jan 7th
 
DaveNJnews
Rollie Fingers is 5th by one method, 30th by the other.
That's quite the discrepancy.
12:36 AM Jan 7th
 
willibphx
I would recommend pushing the beginning of the closer concept from 1926 to 1940. While Bill correctly notes the success of the teams with those pitchers, I would argue this is more of an NBA sixth man phenomenon than a strategy. The sixth man winners while being great players were great sixth men due to playing on teams that had five guys who could keep them on the bench.
9:35 PM Jan 6th
 
Mongo1962
No Jeff Reardon?
12:43 PM Jan 6th
 
MarisFan61
I would love to see more comments about just the principle of taking account of post-season performance in assessing player's greatness, as Bill indicates here.

To me the main things are always the basic concepts behind how things are looked at -- and IMO the common exclusion of anything post-season from assessments of "greatness" is the oddest and weakest of anything within sabermetrics, for the reasons I gave.
12:09 PM Jan 6th
 
pgups6
Bhal, I appreciate and completely understand your point, but the major difference between closers and starters is that for The Hall, closers are getting the major benefit of small sample size because they can do it in the big spot. And there's no better test of proving if you can do it in the big spot than the postseason. If it was a one or two off, then fine. But with Nathan, take out his first postseason series, he still gave up multiple runs in 3 out of the 5 series. And Wagner 6 out of the 8. That's more than just a random one off.

A little worried about the bar we are setting for closers, and it appears to be trending that it's much easier for closers to get in versus starters who have logged in significantly more playing time.

But again, I totally understand your point.
12:08 PM Jan 6th
 
bhalbleib
I don't think I can agree with the post season criticisms of Nathan and Wagner. After all, we are talking about 10 IP And 11.2 IP for them in the postseason, that isn't a small sample size, it's a miniscule sample size. I don't see how that has any more to do with whether they qualify for the HOF that say Gaylord Perry's Postseason ERA (over 6.00 in 14+ innings) or Bob Feller's (over 5.00 in 14+ innings with an 0-2 records in 2 games pitched). Nathan's is so bad in part because he pitched super poorly in the first postseason appearance he ever had, in a partial inning where he got lit up before he was even a closer.

And honestly, I am not sure either of them belong in the HOF. But keeping them out based on a handful of innings spread out over a decade seems silly.
11:46 AM Jan 6th
 
shthar
If Jesse Orosco isn't in the top 40, then this aint a list of the greatest relievers.



11:28 AM Jan 6th
 
jfenimore
I thoroughly enjoyed these two articles. My takeaway about the evolution of relief pitchers is just how the culture in which we exist so determines how we think about just about everything.
It makes me give even greater credit and admiration to those who break outside the box in their thinking, like those who escape from the "cave" as per Plato.
11:19 AM Jan 6th
 
pgups6
When it comes to closers and The Hall, closers benefit from small sample size. Wagner is getting serious Hall consideration with less than 1000 IP career. Meanwhile, Johan was one and done because he didn't pitch long enough (2000+ IP career). In a five year stretch, Johan pitched 1,145 innings and was top 5 in Cy voting (winning twice).

But anyways, since closers get the benefit of a smaller sample size because they're performing in a big spot, it's more than fair to take in their postseason numbers into their Hall case as well, because the postseason is the biggest spot. Wagner has 10+ ERA in 8 postseason series. Nathan 8+ ERA in 6 series.

When it comes to The Hall and closers, it should be saved for the very elite like Mo.
10:56 AM Jan 6th
 
malbuff
Regarding wpcorbett's comment, I believe Bill's approach here is to define the most consistent, year-in year-out top relievers. As we saw in part I, the great relievers of the 1960s-1970s tended to come and go quickly. In part II we see the top modern relievers-- the Riveras, Wagners, Nathans, et. al.-- maintain their excellence longer.

And I've no problem with Pat Neshek getting a mention-- as a Giants fan, I have fond memories of him.
9:08 AM Jan 6th
 
MarisFan61
I'm surprised that nobody has yet commented on what stands out to me as the most striking thing in the article, other than about Joe Nathan.
BTW it's a thing in the material about Nathan: that performance in Post Season play is very relevant to the ranking of careers.

Bravo.
Double bravo.

This is a thing that comes up constantly on Reader Posts. Rarely is there more voice than one in favor of giving any significant consideration to post-season play, and that's mine. Often there's only one voice saying that it should get any consideration at all.

What kind of sense does that make, that there we shouldn't give consideration to what someone did in the games that are the very most important, and which constitute a significant portion of many if not most fans' concept of players' greatness, and from which come the great majority of most memorable games and a large portion of the most memorable moments?

I understand the argument that it could be regarded as unfair to count it because players didn't all have the same degree of opportunity for post-season, and some had much more than others.
SO WHAT.
That doesn't seem very well to justify not giving it some significant consideration, and doesn't at all justify ignoring it.

Seeing this in the article made me almost as happy as tonight's election results. :-)
2:55 AM Jan 6th
 
mrbryan
Hoyt Wilhelm did some amazing work for a long time.
11:30 PM Jan 5th
 
sayhey
I'm glad Henke's on the list. I've never gone on Twitter to claim he was the greatest ever, but I'm willing to bet he'd out as underrated using Bill's new system; from '85 to '95 he was consistently good-to-excellent, and he didn't receive a single Cy Young vote during that stretch (at a time when closers did very well in CY voting).
10:24 PM Jan 5th
 
CharlesSaeger
So, Bill, what do you think the usage pattern should be for a relief ace? How has your view on this changed over time?
10:06 PM Jan 5th
 
voxpoptart
Wpcorbett: The leftmost list automatically treats all years with 10+ good relievers as, implicitly, equal -- John Hiller's 1973 is worth ten points, and Billy Wagner's 2010 is worth ten points, and it *does not matter* which was more real-life valuable than the other, in that list.

That six of the top ten relievers on the left list are modern is an argument that modern relievers may be a little more year-to-year consistent. It *might* even suggest that modern usage patterns help *cause* them to be more year-to-year consistent (although it would just be one piece of evidence). But it doesn't try to speak to which way of using relievers, within a year, is more valuable.
9:56 PM Jan 5th
 
wdr1946
An excellent two essays, with a lot of new information.
8:55 PM Jan 5th
 
raincheck
“337
You've got typos in your charts. And ants in your pants.

Two "1962"s, and "Dick Hlal."

Which sounds like a dish prepared in accordance to Muslim law that I would not want to try.”

That’s why I ordered the Goose Gossage.
6:48 PM Jan 5th
 
wpcorbett
I am confused. In part I, you write that no modern reliever can be as valuable as the 1960s-1970s cohort who pitched many more innings at higher leverage. But in part II, 6 of the top 10 “greatest relievers” (left column above) come from the modern one-inning, save-situation cohort. These two findings appear to be in conflict.
4:55 PM Jan 5th
 
trn6229
Randy Myers was a pretty good relief pitcher. Does he make the top 50?

Thank you!

Take Care,
Thomas Nahigian
3:52 PM Jan 5th
 
337
You've got typos in your charts. And ants in your pants.

Two "1962"s, and "Dick Hlal."

Which sounds like a dish prepared in accordance to Muslim law that I would not want to try.
3:06 PM Jan 5th
 
bjames
A couple of comments from the author. Not sure what the hell happened with Roberto Hernandez, who is listed twice in one of the best-ever lists. His correct score is 26, which would leave him tied for 33rd place. He is listed twice; both scores are wrong.


John Thorn (private communication) worried about not including in the study Doc Crandall and Wilcy Moore (1927) among other early "relievers". If a pitcher makes 20% of his appearances or more as a start, I consider him a mixed-use pitcher. Wilcy Moore in 1927 made 12 starts, pitched 93 innings as a starter with a 2.61 ERA. To me, that's not a reliever. That's a mixed-use pitcher.
2:11 PM Jan 5th
 
clayyearsley
In Part 1, Bill wrote about the clubs’ desire to turn effective relievers into starters. That’s still going on. I know the team I follow, Texas, has continued to do this, sometimes successfully, but other times with disastrous results.

Going back to the 90s they did it successfully with Kenny Rogers and in the 2000s with C.J. Wilson. Then moving ahead, Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, and Matt Bush - although I think with Bush it was a spring training thing, as I see he never started a game in the Majors. They basically broke Feliz and Scheppers doing this. Ogando was actually a pretty good starter.

In any case, the draw of getting more innings out relievers by moving them into the rotation still exists to an extent.
1:53 PM Jan 5th
 
clayyearsley
In Part 1, Bill wrote about the clubs’ desire to turn effective relievers into starters. That’s still going on. I know the team I follow, Texas, has continued to do this, sometimes successfully, but other times with disastrous results.

Going back to the 90s they did it successfully with Kenny Rogers and in the 2000s with C.J. Wilson. Then moving ahead, Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, and Matt Bush - although I think with Bush it was a spring training thing, as I see he never started a game in the Majors. They basically broke Feliz and Scheppers doing this. Ogando was actually a pretty good starter.

In any case, the draw of getting more innings out relievers by moving them into the rotation still exists to an extent.
1:53 PM Jan 5th
 
gendlerj
Thank you for unintentionally supporting my belief than Lee Smith was vastly overrated. Also, it appears that notwithstanding Sparky Lyle's belief at the time, the Yankees were better off with Goose Gossage than with Sparky.

Seeing Joe Nathan frequently while he was with the Twins, he gave fans a feeling of confidence we had not had with Everyday Eddie Guardado. If you look at the Twins starters while Nathan was the closer, it becomes clear how vital he was to those teams making the playoffs. Radke was OK and others had 1-2 years of decency, but there were a lot of unimpressive starters. Unfortunately, like many other twins, once the playoffs started everything went wrong, even for Nathan.
1:47 PM Jan 5th
 
Manushfan
Twice in the top ten. Because, as is noted elsewheres-Billy Wags was awesome. No seriously I enjoyed these articles. I personally Love looking at Elroy Face's 18-1 mark. That's just fun.
12:22 PM Jan 5th
 
 
©2021 Be Jolly, Inc. All Rights Reserved.|Web site design and development by Americaneagle.com|Terms & Conditions|Privacy Policy