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Trevor Hoffman Retires; Let the Hall of Fame Debate Begin 2

Posted on January 12, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Is all-time save leader Trevor Hoffman worthy of a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

The announcement that career saves leader Trevor Hoffman is retiring after 18 major league seasons means that the five year debate about whether he is worthy of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame is about to begin.

With 601 career saves, some believe that Hoffman is a lock for a plaque in Cooperstown. However, to others, he is an example of the over-inflation of the save as a statistic of relevance and short of Hall of Fame worthiness.

It is difficult to argue that Hoffman is among the best of the one-inning closers. He registered 30 or more saves in 13 straight full seasons (he missed most of the 2003 campaign) and twice led the majors. He finished his career with a 2.87 career ERA and averaged more than a strikeout per inning for his career.

However, over the last decade Hoffman rarely pitched more than one inning in a game. The last time he averaged more than one inning per appearance was in 2000.

Also, unlike Mariano Rivera, who is known for his big game performances, Hoffman’s results in crucial contests are not especially impressive.

Perhaps the most blatant example occurred in 2007 when Hoffman blew a save opportunity on the final day of the regular season that kept the Padres from clinching a playoff spot and instead forced a one-game playoff with the Colorado Rockies. He then blew a two run lead in the 13th inning of the one-game playoff to keep the Padres out of the playoffs.

In addition, he registered only four saves in 12 career playoff appearances and blew a save in his only game during the 1998 World Series against the New York Yankees. Read the rest of this entry →

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

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