On Gear Live: Geared Up: Predictions for the Upcoming iPhone Event with Sara Dietschy

Latest Gear Live Videos

Friday January 14, 2011 3:52 pm

Reaction to Trevor Hoffman leads to one conclusion

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB, Rumors,

Trevor HoffmanWhen Trevor Hoffman announced his retirement, a lot of people quickly spoke up about whether this guy was worthy of the Hall of Fame or not, and if so, should it be as a first-ballot member. As a career reliever (he never started a game), he has not had the same opportunities in the game as a starting pitcher or a position player, but he has silently helped define the closer’s role in the bullpen; at least as silently as a guy with his career number can.

Hoffman finished with 601 saves in his career, more than any other reliever since the stat was created. That includes a 53 save season in 1998 and another eight seasons where he finished with 40 or more saves. He was a six-time all-star and even finished with NL Cy Young Award votes four times, including finishing second to Brandon Webb in 2006 in what can only be considered a close vote by Cy Young standards. These facts do not make him an automatic for the Hall of Fame, but it certainly warrants him some consideration.

Some argue that Hoffman isn’t as good as Mariano Rivera and think Rivera should get in first. He pitches more dominantly and in a tougher division and will also probably pass Hoffman in saves. As almost inarguably the best closer in history, Rivera will surely get in, but why should Hoffman be compared to Rivera alone? Hoffman should be compared to all relievers, where it becomes evident that although he’s not the best, he’s certainly been better than many for most of his 18-year career.

Hoffman never pitched more than 90 innings in a season, which a lot of voters will remember. Bruce Sutter is the only pitcher in Cooperstown with fewer innings pitched than Hoffman. Sutter was also a closer with excellent control of a splitter, but he only finished with 300 saves, which was also topped the chart historically at the time. Hoffman and his changeup more than doubles Sutter’s totals. Hoffman embraced a role in the bullpen that most hope leads to something else and he made it his own. He deserves a plaque in Cooperstown, and he deserves it as soon as he’s eligible.



Commenting is not available in this channel entry.