Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 24, 2003
BASEBALL: The Closer

Counting this season, five pitchers in baseball history have had 30 saves and 100 strikeouts in the same season more than once; two have done it in back-to-back years. The five? Bruce Sutter, Rich Gossage, Trevor Hoffman, and now Billy Wagner and Eric Gagne. Only Hoffman and Gagne have done it in consecutive seasons; only Wagner and Gagne (assuming no disaster outings this week) have had sub-2.00 ERAs both times as well (Sutter did it once, as did John Wetteland, John Hiller, Robb Nen, Bryan Harvey, and Willie Hernandez); only Gagne among the five has had fewer than 20 walks in either season (Harvey's the only other one to match that), let alone both, and besides Gagne - with his two 50-save seasons - only Hoffman and Wagner have cleared 40 saves in one of the seasons (also matched by Harvey, Nen, Wetteland, Armando Benitez and Ugueth Urbina). Gagne also now holds the record for most whiffs in a 30-save season, with 135 through last night; Sutter had 129 in 1977.

Verdict: he's got a ways to go to prove himself the best or even the most dominant, but Gagne has already staked a real good claim to be the most overpowering closer in the four decades since closers started becoming something of a steady job.

(Hat tip to Aaron Haspel's search engine for the 30/100 club data).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:52 AM | Baseball 2002-03 | TrackBack (0)
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