All-times saves leader Trevor Hoffman announces retirement

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Trevor Hoffman has decided to retire after 18 seasons and an MLB record 601 saves, the future Hall of Famer told Barry Bloom of MLB.com today.

As recently as last month Hoffman was looking for work as a free agent, but with no teams willing to guarantee him a shot at closing in 2011 the 43-year-old right-hander called it quits and will instead take a front office job with the Padres.

It’s time to retire. It’s time to move on. This is more of a self-evaluation. I expect to pitch at a certain level and I had to be honest with myself that I wasn’t certain I could maintain that anymore.

Bloom notes that Hoffman and the Padres had a difficult parting of ways in 2008, but after spending two seasons with the Brewers he’s ready to put that behind him and return to organization he called home for 16 years. Hopefully they’ll begin the press conference by playing his entrance music: “Hells Bells” by AC/DC.

Hoffman was a seven-time All-Star who twice finished runner-up in the NL Cy Young voting and racked up 40-plus saves in nine different seasons, which is an MLB record. He’s the all-time leader with 601 saves, putting him 42 ahead of Mariano Rivera and more than 300 ahead of any other active pitcher. In other words Hoffman will be first or second all time in saves when he goes into Cooperstown, presumably five years from now.

Not bad for a guy who was drafted as a shortstop and didn’t become a full-time closer until age 26.