Trevor Hoffman announced his retirement yesterday, calling it quits after an amazing 18-year career that saw the future Hall of Famer rack up an MLB record 601 saves.
To put that staggering total in some context, consider that only one other pitcher in baseball history has even 500 career saves and with Billy Wagner joining Hoffman in retirement only one active pitcher has even 300 career saves.
Unfortunately for Hoffman’s chances of hanging on to the all-time record, the “only one other pitcher” in both scenarios is Mariano Rivera and he’s just 42 saves away from 601.
Rivera is 41 years old, but showed little sign of slowing down last season with a 1.80 ERA and .183 opponents’ batting average, and signed a two-year, $30 million contract with the Yankees last month. In other words, barring an unexpected collapse Rivera is very likely to end up as the all-time saves leader. The bigger question is whether it will happen this season.
Rivera saved “only” 35 games last season, which would leave him just short of Hoffman’s all-time mark, but he had 44 saves in 2009 and has saved 42 or more games in a season six times in 14 years as a full-time closer. Expect him to be closing in on Hoffman down the stretch, which should be a nice bit of added drama for the Yankees in September.