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The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 is announced! Griffey and Piazza are in!

This is one of our favorite days of the year.

Today the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2016 and two former baseball greats will be immortalized in Cooperstown.

As expected, Ken Griffey Jr. breezed through on his first attempt.  Griffey Jr. set a new record for voting percentage, receiving 99.3% of the vote.

Griffey’s Hall of Fame co-entrant will be former Catcher, Mike Piazza who enters on his fourth try with 83.0%.

While Griffey and Piazza are excited today, there are certainly a lot of disappointed former baseball stars that were hoping for a certain Hall of Fame call.

Longtime Houston Astro, Jeff Bagwell, continues to be snubbed.  Like Piazza, Bagwell is on his fourth year of eligibility however like many on this ballot, he received his highest vote total, with 71.6%.

The Baseball HOF will induct Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez

Our favorite day here at Notinhalloffame.com is always when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces their annual Classes.  Our second day is when they announce their Baseball Hall of Fame Class.

That second day is here.

The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 has been announced and let’s get right to it as we have three new Baseball Hall of Famers

The highest vote getter this year is Jeff Bagwell who is selected on his 7th year of eligibility.  Bagwell received 86.2% of the vote, well up from his 71.6% last year.  It has been believed that his delay into getting into the Baseball Hall has been due to PED suspicion, but that is all there was in his case. 

Finishing second on the ballot is Tim Raines, who was on his last year of eligibility.  “Rock” had 86.0% and like Bagwell received a more than 15% jump.  For many Baseball fans, this is long overdue and many are thrilled to see him get his due.

Perhaps a bit of a surprise is that Ivan Rodriguez entered on his first ballot with 76.0%.  Statistically, I-Rod is Cooperstown worthy but he has a direct PED accusation from Jose Canseco though was never named in the Mitchell Report.

Overall, the PED users/suspected players have seen a rise in the totals, a lot of which can be attributed with the elimination of older and inactive baseball writers from the process and the induction of Bud Selig, who presided over the time that PED use arose in the game.

Let’s look at those who didn’t make the cut:


Trevor Hoffman: 2nd Year on the ballot, 74.0%

The prolific reliever did not make this year, but he was only a handful of votes away.  He finished with 67.3% last year and should get in next year. 

Vladimir Guerrero: 1st Year on the ballot, 71.7%

“Vlad the Impaler” was pegged by some as a first ballot inductee but it won’t take him long to get in.  He should be a lock next year.

Edgar Martinez: 8th Year on the ballot, 58.6%

Edgar has only two years left but this was a huge jump from the 43.4% he had last year.  Martinez was a Designated Hitter, a position that has hurt him in the past and the fact that three people got in to help thin the ballot somewhat does not hurt his cause.

Roger Clemens: 5th Year on the ballot, 54.1%

This was a huge jump for Clemens and the first time he eclipsed 50 percent.  This is up 8.9% from last year and perhaps for the first time we have a strong reason to think that the Rocket could get in. 

Barry Bonds: 5th Year on the ballot, 53.8%

See above.  Could we see in the future a year where both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens enters Cooperstown together?  A few years ago we wouldn’t have thought so, but now that seems like a possibility.

Mike Mussina: 4th Year on the ballot, 51.8%

Mussina doesn’t get a lot of attention as he is not a controversial choice, nor is he one that plays to the media.  He did however jump up past the 50% mark for the first time and is going in the right direction.

Curt Schilling: 5th Year on the ballot, 45.0%

Schilling dropped 7 percent, and we all know why don’t we?  He angered the media with his comments toward them and is this backlash was long expected.

Lee Smith: 15th Year on the ballot, 34.2 %

This is the end for Smith, who at one point was the all-time Saves leader.  Based on how he was trending, he was lucky to make it this far.

Manny Ramirez: 1st Year on the ballot, 23.8 %

This could be the biggest surprise.  The suspected PED users went up, but Ramirez was caught and suspended twice.  Maybe the writers thought “Manny being Manny” was not enough explanation.

Larry Walker:  7th Year on the ballot, 21.9%

While it doesn’t look like Walker will get in, he did jump up from his 15.5% from last year.

Fred McGriff:  7th Year on the ballot, 21.7%.

McGriff barely budged from his 20.9% from last year.  It isn’t looking good for the “Crime Dog.”

Jeff Kent: 3rd Year on the ballot, 16.7%

The former National League MVP moved up…0.1%.  Is there a Survivor Hall of Fame?

Gary Sheffield:  3rd Year on the ballot, 13.3%

Sheffield mildly improved but he on such a crowded ballot, he still has time to jump up considering his career stats.

Billy Wagner: 2nd Year on the ballot, 10.2%

Wagner actually went down from his 10.5% from the year before.  Realistically, just staying on the ballot is a win for him.

Sammy Sosa:  5th Year on the ballot, 8.6%

Sosa is still alive, so we are stuck debating him another year.

The notable player who did not make the 5% to stay on the ballot was former New York Yankee Catcher, Jorge Posada, received 3.8%.

Others who received votes were Magglio Ordonez (0.7%), Edgar Renteria (0.5%), Jason Varitek (0.5%) and Tim Wakefield (0.2%).

The others on the ballot who did not receive any votes were Corey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez and Matt Stairs.

We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to congratulate the latest Baseball Hall of Fame Class and we will be unveiling our next list in a month’s time.





The 2018 Baseball HOF Ballot is out

Ah, the road to the Class of 2018 is officially underway as the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been released with 33 candidates who are on the ballot.

The candidates in alphabetical are:

Barry Bonds: Bonds is on his sixth ballot and enjoyed his biggest jump last year with a 53.8% finish. That increase gives a lot of hope to the PED associated players for Hall of Fame entry. He is ranked # 2 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Chris Carpenter: Carpenter is on his first ballot and the former Starting Pitcher went 144 and 94 and won the Cy Young Award in 2005. He was also a three time All Star.

Roger Clemens: Like Bonds, Clemens enjoyed a significant increase in his vote tally moving up to 54.1%. If the seven time Cy Young Award winner enjoys another gain in his sixth year on the ballot we could see him inducted before his time on the ballot ends. He is ranked #1C on Notinhalloffame.com.

Johnny Damon: Damon is on his first ballot and will struggle to make a second. He was a two time All Star and a two time World Series Champion. He is ranked #99 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Vladimir Guerrero: Guerrero is on his second year of eligibility and came off a 71.7% result. The 2004 American League MVP likely we will see enough of a rise to gain entry to Cooperstown. He is ranked #9 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Livan Hernandez: A two time All Star, Livan Hernandez had a career record of 178 and 177. This is his first time on the ballot

Trevor Hoffman: Hoffman was only one percentage point away from Cooperstown last year, thus only a marginal increase in his third year of eligibility should get him in. His 601 career Saves puts him second all-time and he is also a seven time All Star. He is ranked #20 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Orlando Hudson: Making his first appearance on the ballot, Hudson would go to two All Star Games and was a four time Gold Glove winner.

Aubrey Huff: Huff would accumulate 1,699 Hits and 242 Home Runs over his career. He is also a two time World Series Champion with the San Francisco Giants.

Jason Isringhausen: Isringhausen is also on his first year of eligibility and he was a two time All Star.

Andruw Jones: Jones is entering his first year of eligibility and brings a decent resume with eight All Star Games, ten Gold Gloves and 434 career Home Runs. He is ranked #47 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Chipper Jones: The career Atlanta Brave is debuting on the ballot and is the most likely newly eligible former player to get inducted immediately. Jones was the National League MVP in 1999 and is an eight time All Star. He won the Batting Title in 2008. He is ranked #3 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Jeff Kent: Kent is on his fifth year of eligibility and finished with 16.7% of the vote last year, his highest to date. The Third Baseman was the 2000 National League MVP and was a five time All Star. He is ranked #50 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Carlos Lee: Lee is making his first appearance on the ballot and was a two time All Star. He hit 358 Home Runs with 2,273 Hits.

Brad Lidge: The former Relief Pitcher recorded 225 Saves and was a two time All Star. He was also a World Series Champion with Philadelphia and he is entering his first year on the ballot.

Edgar Martinez: The former Designated Hitter is on his ninth try but his 58.6% gives him hope to possibly get in as it was a 15.2% increase from the previous vote. He is ranked #17 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Hideki Matsui: “Godzilla” was a two time All Star with the New York Yankees and was the 2009 World Series MVP.

Fred McGriff: It is not looking good for Fred McGriff who is on his ninth year of eligibility following a 21.7% vote tally last year. McGriff is a five time All Star with 493 career Home Runs. He is ranked #33 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Kevin Millwood: An All Star in 1999, Kevin Millwood is on the ballot for the first time. He went 169 and 152 with 2,083 Strikeouts.

Jamie Moyer: Playing almost to age of 50, Jamie Moyer makes his Hall of Fame ballot debut. Moyer was an All Star once and retired with a record of 269 and 209 with 2,441 Strikeouts. He is ranked #105 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Mike Mussina: Mussina is on his fifth year of eligibility and finished with a high of 51.8% of the vote. Mussina retired with 270 Wins against only 153 Losses. He would be named to five All Star Games. He is ranked #4 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Manny Ramirez: Manny debuted last year with only 23.8% of the ballot but the two time World Series Champion and 500 Home Run Club member should see an increase this year. He is ranked #7 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Scott Rolen: Rolen will be one of the most hotly debated new arrivals to the ballot as his sabremetric numbers far exceed his traditional ones. Still, this is a seven time All Star with a World Series Ring. He is ranked #17 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Johan Santana: Santana was a two time Cy Young Award winner and four time All Star. He is making his first appearance on the ballot. He is ranked #65 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Curt Schilling: Unlike many others who were on the ballot previously, Schilling actually trended downwards mostly due to his comments against the media finishing with 45% last year as opposed to the 52.3% he had the year before. Schilling is a three time Cy Young runner-up, two time World Series winner and a six time All Star. He is ranked #8 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Gary Sheffield: Sheffield is on his fourth year of eligibility and received 13.3% of the vote last year. He has 509 career Home Runs with nine All Star Game appearances. He is ranked #21 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Sammy Sosa: Sosa is entering his sixth year on the ballot following an 8.6% vote total. That is concerning as he has only finished in double digits on his first year of eligibility. He is ranked #30 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Jim Thome: Thome is on the ballot for the first time and brings five All Star Games and 612 Home Runs for consideration. He will likely get in but possibly not on his first try. He is ranked #6 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Omar Vizquel: Vizquel is also entering his first year of eligibility and the defensive specialist should receive enough ballots to remain on future ballots. He is ranked #76 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Billy Wagner: The seven time All Star is entering his third year on the ballot and he received 10.2% on the ballot last year.

Larry Walker: The 1997 National League MVP is running out of time. He is on his eight year of eligibility and he finished 21.9% last year. He is ranked #15 on Notinhalloffame.com.

Kerry Wood: The former flamethrower is on his first year of eligibility. Wood was a two time All Star and was the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year.

Carlos Zambrano: On his first year of eligibility, Zambrano was a three time All Star who finished with a career record of 132 and 91.

Not everyone who was Hall of Fame eligible for the first time made the ballot. This includes Miguel Batista,Francisco Cordero, Brian Fuentes, Adam Kennedy, Guillermo Mota, Carl Pavano, Scott Podsednik, J.C. Romero, Ben Sheets, Jeff Suppan and Jack Wilson.

As always, we here at Notinhalloffame.com will be very interested to see what will transpire with this latest ballot and we will love watching all of the debates begin!

The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 is announced!

This is one of the days that we eagerly await annually as we now know who will comprise the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman have been chosen as all three received the necessary 75% of the vote from the Baseball Hall of Fame voters.

Jones, who played his entire career with the Atlanta Braves, is the highest vote getter this year with 97.2% of the ballot. Jones is one of the greatest hitting Third Basemen in history accumulating 2,726 Hits with a Slash Line of .303/.401/.529. The 1999 National League MVP also belted 468 Home Runs.

Vladimir Guerrero enters the Hall on his second try. The 2004 American League MVP and nine time All Star received 71.4% of the vote last season and easily cruised into the Hall this year with 92.9%.

Jim Thome also enters Cooperstown on his first try. In comparison to Jones, Thome was a vagabond playing for six different Major League teams, but his power prowess had few equals. The five time All Star blasted 612 Home Runs, which ranks him seventh all-time. Thome received 89.8% of the ballot

Trevor Hoffman enters the Baseball Hall of Fame on his third try and becomes the sixth Relief Pitcher to be inducted. Hoffman is second all-time in Saves and is a two time runner up to the National League Cy Young Award. Hoffman finished with 79.9% of the vote.

Now let’s take a look at those who were not chosen.

Edgar Martinez made another significant jump in the votes. He went from 43.4% to 58.6% and this year he went to 70.4%. This is the ninth year that the Designated Hitter was on the ballot and he is considered to be the best ever at that position. Martinez was tracking well and was projected to be inducted this year but he should be able to get in next year.

Mike Mussina saw his total rise from 51.8% to 63.5%. Sabremetrically speaking, Mussina remains one of the biggest snubs on the ballot, but he has only been on the ballot for five years. This increase could see him enter Cooperstown next year but this double digit rise will bring him induction eventually.

Barry Bonds remains a polarizing figure for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but PEDs or not, this was the best hitter of his era and arguably of all-time. The career Home Run Leader and seven time MVP received 56.4% up from 53.8% from last year.

Roger Clemens is in the exact same boat as Bonds. “The Rocket” was also the best of his generation and is a seven time Cy Young Award winner, though he is a two time World Series winner (unlike Bonds). His numbers increased to 54.1% last year and reached 57.3% this year.

The increase (albeit mild) of both Bonds and Clemens votes shows that the voters are becoming more forgiving of the PED era (with many citing the induction of Bud Selig as a catalyst for their change of heart) and it is also indicative of an influx of younger voters. This is the sixth year on the ballot for Bonds and Clemens and there is certainly hope on the horizon for both; something almost unthinkable three years ago.

Curt Schilling has Hall of Fame numbers but he did not exactly endear himself to voters with his anti-media stance and he was one of the few players to see his total decrease last year. He had 51.2% of the vote, which is up from last year’s 45.0% but down from 2016’s 52.3%. He may still need to grovel to the media for his upswing to resume.

Omar Vizquel is also on his first ballot and he received 37% of the vote. The Shortstop won eleven Gold Gloves and is regarded as one of the best defensive players ever. Vizquel also had 2,877 career Hits. He should be very happy with this debut number.

Larry Walker did see his total rise from to 34.1% but he is running out of time. The former National League MVP is still suffering from the Coors Field market and he has only two more years on the ballot.

Fred McGriff continues to tread water. “The Crime Dog” was only at 23.2% of the vote, which is his ninth year on the ballot. The First Baseman finished with 493 Home Runs but has never finished higher than 25%.

Manny Ramirez continues to struggle in his Hall of Fame voting. Ramirez has incredible career numbers, which are definitely Hall of Fame worthy but he was suspended twice for PEDs, something that did not happen to Bonds and Clemens. His tally was 22%, down slightly from last year.

Jeff Kent received 14.5% of the vote and with this being his sixth year on the ballot it is not looking good for the 2000 National League MVP.

Gary Sheffield received 11.1% in his fourth year of eligibility. “Shef” needs Bonds and Clemens to get in to have any real shot of getting into the Hall of Fame. He is a nine time All Star with 509 career Home Runs.

Billy Wagner received 11.1% in his third year of the ballot, which is enough to keep him on the ballot.

Scott Rolen only finished with10.2 on his first year of eligibility. Rolen’s biggest asset is his 70.0 bWAR but his traditional metrics will still give him a look for years to come. He should see his numbers rise in upcoming years.

Sammy Sosa held on with 7.8% of the vote. He is unlikely to make it to Cooperstown.

Andruw Jones received 7.3% on his first appearance on the ballot. The native of Curacao has over 400 Home Runs and is a four time league leader in Defensive bWAR.

Three notable first timers on ballot did not make it to 5%, that being Johan Santana, Jamie Moyer and Johnny Damon.

The others who did not earn enough votes were Chris Carpenter, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Carlos Lee, Brad Lidge, Hideki Matsui, Kevin Millwood, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano.

These three will join previously chosen Veterans Committee Selections, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris and Ford C. Frick recipient, Bob Costas.

We will be revamping our Notinhallofame.com Baseball list shortly. Look for that in late February.

We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to congratulate the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. We don’t know about you but this is the most excited that we have been in years about a Hall of Fame Class!

BASEBALL HALL OF FAME: UPCOMING BORDERLINE CANDIDATES, PART 1

You know how hard it is to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame? In 2013, with a ballot brimming with qualified candidates, not one player received the 75 percent of the votes needed for admission. (I identified 14 likely Hall of Famers on the 2013 ballot.)

Granted, 2013 was the first year of eligibility for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both poster boys for performance-enhancing drugs (PED), bringing to a head the contentious debate about "cheaters" and their admission into the Hall. But there were certainly several "clean" players on that ballot, and a few of those, such as 3000-hit-club member Craig Biggio, would have been uncontroversial picks in any previous year.

And although 2014 saw the election of three players—Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas—it was merely the tip of a talent-heavy iceberg (I identified 18 likely Hall of Famers for that ballot), while providing a burn to Biggio yet again as not only did he miss election by one vote (he garnered 74.8 percent of the vote), but three first-time candidates leapfrogged him into Cooperstown.

If I Had a Vote in the 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame Election

As we gear up for the 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting and announcements, the overriding question is: Have we returned to normal?

To put that into perspective, how's this for abnormal? In 2013, with a ballot overstuffed with Hall of Fame-caliber candidates (I counted 14), not one candidate was elected to the Hall. Adding to the debacle was the first appearance on a Hall of Fame ballot by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both of whom brought the bubbling issue of players suspected or confirmed of having used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to an apoplectic, moralistic boil.

If I Had a Vote in the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame Election

Strategic voting. What you have to do when you have too many choices and not enough time or opportunities to realize all those choices.

Sounds like voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame for the last few years, doesn't it?

The good news is that since the Shutout of 2013, when the eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) could not muster the 75 percent of the vote necessary to elect any one ballot candidate to the Hall of Fame despite a wealth of candidates from whom to choose (I counted 14), the BBWAA has sent a dozen players to Cooperstown. Based on that trend, and barring any unusual or unforeseen wrinkle, the writers are certain to elect at least one player for 2018.

Awards = HOF?: Part Fifty-Six: The Rolaids Reliever of the Year

We here at Notinhalloffame.com thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.

Needless to say, different awards in different sports yield hall of fame potential.  In basketball, the team sport with the least number of players on a roster, the dividend for greatness much higher.  In baseball, it is not as much as a great individual season does not have the same impact.

Last time, we looked at the William M. Jennings Trophy, which is given to the Goalie(s) who allowed the fewest Goals for their team.  That was our last hockey award, as we return to Baseball, specifically the Relief Pitchers, which will be a little complicated as you will see with the next paragraphs.

The Rolaids Reliever of the Year first came to existence in 1976, and was sponsored by the antiacid product, Rolaids.  At the time, the slogan for the product was “ROLAIDS spells Relief”, so it was a perfect pairing.  

This is the first time that we are looking at a defunct award, as when the new parent company of Rolaids opted to not continue the award, it ended in 2012.  It would be replaced in 2014 with the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year and Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year.  Coincidentally, there was a separate reliver award that began in 2005, The Delivery Man of the Year, which ran from 2005 to 2013.

Specifically, with the Rolaids Relief Award, it was awarded on a point system, tabulating Wins, Saves, Losses and Blown Saves.

Nevertheless, these were significant awards in our eyes, and we plan to look at them all!

So how many Rolaids Reliever of the Year winners have made the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Let’s find out!

The following are the past players who have won the Rolaids Reliever of the Year Award who are eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame and have been enshrined.

Rollie Fingers, San Diego Padres: 8-9, 35 Saves, 2.99 ERA, 113 SO, NL 1977

This was Fingers’ first season in San Diego and the closer had already gone to four All-Star Games and won three World Series Rings with the Oakland Athletics.  This year, Fingers topped the NL in Saves (35), Games Pitched (78), and Games Finished (69), and he was 14thin MVP voting.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Rich Gossage, New York Yankees: 10-11, 27 Saves, 2.01 ERA, 122 SO, AL 1978 

Prior to what was his first year with the Yankees, Gossage already was a three-time All-Star, two with the Chicago White Sox, and one with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  This year, “Goose” led the AL in Saves (27) and Games Finished (55), and was fifth in Cy Young Voting.  Gossage also helped New York win the World Series that year.  As All-Star in 1978, Gossage had five more All-Star appearances, three with the Yanks and two with San Diego.  He retired in 1994 following runs with San Francisco, New York (again), Texas, Oakland and Seattle and had 310 career Saves.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Rollie Fingers, San Diego Padres: 6-13, 37 Saves, 2.52 ERA, 72 SO, NL 1978 (2)

Fingers went to the All-Star Game for the fifth time, and his 37 Saves would not only lead the NL, but would be a personal high. He was eighth for the Cy Young and 14thfor the MVP this year.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bruce Sutter, Chicago Cubs: 6-6, 37 Saves, 2.22 ERA, 110 SO, NL 1979 

Bruce Sutter was already a two-time All-Star at this point, and in what was his third consecutive All-Star year, Sutter began a four-year streak of leading the National League in Saves.  The flamethrower had a WHIP of 0.977, and he would win the Cy Young with a seventh place finish for the MVP.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Rollie Fingers, San Diego Padres: 11-9, 23 Saves, 2.80 ERA, 69 SO, NL 1980 (3)

This was Fingers’ last year with San Diego, and he went three for four for Rolaids Reliever of the Year Awards.  

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers: 6-3, 28 Saves, 1.04 ERA, 61 SO, AL 1981 (4)

Fingers returned to the American League, where in the strike-shortened 1981 Season he had his best year of his li6e.  He was first in the AL in Saves (28), and he had the best ERA (1.04) and WHIP (0.872) and he became the first Rolaids Reliever winner to win both the Cy Young and the MVP.  Fingers had three more seasons in the Majors with 341 Saves.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Bruce Sutter, St. Louis Cardinals: 3-5, 25 Saves, 2.62 ERA, 57 SO, NL 1981 (2) 

Sutter was now a St. Louis Cardinal, and his skill as the top closer in the National League remained intact.  Sutter was fifth for the Cy Young and eighth in MVP voting.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bruce Sutter, St. Louis Cardinals: 9-8, 36 Saves, 2.90 ERA, 61 SO, NL 1982 (3) 

Sutter was not an All-Star this year, but he finished strong again finishing first in Saves (36).   He would be third for the Cy Young and fifth for MVP and in that post-season, Sutter helped the Redbirds win the World Series.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bruce Sutter, St. Louis Cardinals: 5-7, 45 Saves, 1.54 ERA, 77 SO, NL 1984 (4) 

This was the last great year for Sutter, and coincidentally his final one with St. Louis.  Sutter led the National League in Saves (45) and Games Finishes (63), both of which were career-highs, and he was also third for the Cy Young and sixth in MVP voting.  He played three more years in the Majors, all with Atlanta.  Sutter retired with an even 300 Saves.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Dennis Eckersley, Oakland Athletics: 4-2, 45 Saves, 2.35 ERA, 70 SO, AL 1988  

Dennis Eckersley converted from a starter to reliever the year before, but this was the year where he proved that this was what he was meant to be.  Eckersley led the AL in Saves (45) this year with a WHIP of 0.867.  The A’s made it to the World Series that year, and he was second for the Cy Young and fifth for the MVP.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Lee Smith, St. Louis Cardinals: 6-3, 47 Saves, 2.34 ERA, 67 SO, NL 1991  

Lee Smith was already a Major Leaguer since 1980, and he already had nine 25-plus Save campaigns.  The Cardinals were his third team, (following Chicago and Boston) and this season he set a personal record with 47 Saves (also league-leading) as well as finishing first in Games Finished (61).  He finished second for the Cy Young and eighth in MVP voting.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Dennis Eckersley, Oakland Athletics: 7-1, 45 Saves, 1.91 ERA, 93 SO, AL 1992 (2) 

In the three years between Rolaids Reliever of the Year wins, Eckersley won a World Series, and had 124 Saves.  This year, Eckersley was first for the second time in Saves (51) and first time in Games Finished (65).  Eckersley won the Cy Young and MVP, and cemented his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Lee Smith, St. Louis Cardinals: 4-9, 43 Saves, 3.12 ERA, 60 SO, NL 1992 (2)  

Smith led the NL in Saves for the second straight season, and was fourth for the Cy Young this year.  He would also go to his fourth All-Star Game, and his fifth would come the following year.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Lee Smith, Baltimore Orioles: 1-4, 33 Saves, 3.29 ERA, 42 SO, AL 1994 (3)  

Smith was only with the Baltimore Orioles for one season, and it was a good one where he won not only the Rolaids Reliever of the Year, but was an All-Star for the sixth time.  Smith led the AL in Saves (33) and was fifth in Cy Young voting. Smith joined the California Angels the following year and had one more All-Star year with him.  He retired in 1997 after stops in Cincinnati and Montreal with 478 career Saves, which was then the all-time record.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres: 4-2, 53 Saves, 1.48 ERA, 86 SO, NL 1998  

Trevor Hoffman had been the Padres closer since 1994, and this was the year he let everyone in the baseball world know he was elite.  Hoffman was an All-Star for the first time and his league-leading 53 Saves, 1.48 ERA, and 0.849 WHIP landed him second in Cy Young voting and seventh in MVP voting.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: 4-3, 45 Saves, 1.83 ERA, 52 SO, AL 1999  

Mariano Rivera was already established as an elite reliever in the American League, and had already won two World Series Championships. This year, Rivera won his first of five Rolaids Reliever of the Year Awards, and he led the AL in Saves (45) with a 1.83 ERA and a 0.884 WHIP.  Rivera was third in Cy Young voting, and he helped the Yankees win the World Series, winning the World Series MVP.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: 4-6, 50 Saves, 2.34 ERA, 83 SO, AL 2001 (2)  

Rivera was an All-Star for the fourth time this year, and the season before he won his fourth World Series.  Rivera again had a WHIP under 1.000 (0.905), and was eleventh in MVP voting.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves: 3-2, 55 Saves, 3.25 ERA, 85 SO, NL 2002  

Prior to taking on the role of the Braves’ closer, Smoltz was a top starter for years, going to four All-Star Games, winning a World Series Ring and earning a Cy Young.  Smoltz excelled in this role too, with his 55 Saves leading the NL and finishing third in Cy Young voting.  He would later go back to being a starter, and would retire in 2009, with his final year being split between Boston and St. Louis.  Smoltz had a lifetime record of 213-155 with 3,084 Strikeouts and 154 Saves.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: 5-2, 40 Saves, 1.66 ERA, 63 SO, AL 2003 (3)  

Another spectacular season happened for Rivera, whose 1.63 was the second lowest of his career.  In the playoffs, Rivera won the ALCS MVP, but the Yankees lost to the Marlins in the World Series.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: 7-4, 43 Saves, 1.38 ERA, 80 SO, AL 2005 (4)  

Rivera was electric again this year, posting his all-time best ERA (1.38) with a phenom20al WHIP of 0.868.  Rivera was second for the Cy Young to Bartolo Colon of Cleveland and was ninth in MVP voting.  Rivera also won the Delivery Man of the Year Award, which was in its first year of existence.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres: 0-2, 46 Saves, 2.14 ERA, 50 SO, NL 2006 (2)  

Hoffman went to his second, third and fourth All-Star Game in between his Rolaids Reliver wins, and was an All-Star again this year.  Hoffman led the NL in Saves (46) and had a sub 1.000 WHIP.  He was again second in Cy Young voting.  Hoffman went to two more All-Stars, the last one as a Milwaukee Brewer. He retired in 2010 with 601 career Saves.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: 3-3, 44 Saves, 1.76 ERA, 72 SO, AL 2009 (5) Co-Winner

This was Rivera’s fifth and final Rolaids Reliever of the Year Award, and he would also win his third Delivery Man of the Year (he won his second in 2006).  Rivera would later take the Yankees to another World Series win, his fifth.  He played until 2013, was a thirteen-time All-Star, and retired with 652 Saves, the most all-time.  Rivera entered the Baseball Hall of Fame with a perfect ballot, the first man to do so.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

 

The following are the players who have won the Rolaids Relief Award who are eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame and have not been selected:

Bill Campbell, Minnesota Twins: 17-5, 20 Saves, 3.01 ERA, 115 SO, AL 1976

This was Campbell’s final season in Minnesota, and he would not only win the inaugural American League Rolaids Relief Award, he was the league-leader in Games Pitched (78) and Gamed Finished (68). Campbell finished seventh for the Cy Young and eighth for the MVP.

Eligible since 1993.  Campbell was on the ballot for one year and received 0.2% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

Rawly Eastwick, Cincinnati Reds: 11-5, 26 Saves, 2.09 ERA, 70 SO, AL 1976

The rookie and sophomore seasons of Rawly Eastwick are forgotten gems in the lore of the Cincinnati Reds.  As a rookie, he led the NL in Saves (22) and was third in Rookie of the Year voting while helping the Reds win the World Series. This season, he was even better with a career-high 26 Saves and was fifth in Cy Young voting and thirteenth for the MVP, and he was again a part of the Reds World Series win.  His career regressed after that, and he bounced around to St. Louis, New York (AL), Philadelphia, Kansas City and Chicago (NL) with his Major League career coming to an end in 1981.  He had 68 career Saves, with 48 coming in 1975 and 1976.

Eastwick did not play the mandatory ten years to qualify for the Hall of Fame. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

Bill Campbell, Boston Red Sox: 13-9, 31 Saves, 2.96 ERA, 114 SO, AL 1977 (2)

Campbell signed with Boston this year and arguably, this was his last real good season in the Majors, though he played until 1987 with stops in Chicago (NL), Philadelphia, St. Louis, Detroit and Montreal. This year, Campbell led the AL in Saves (32) and Games Finished (60), and was fifth for the Cy Young and tenth for the MVP.  Campbell had 126 career Saves.

Eligible since 1993.  Campbell was on the ballot for one year and received 0.2% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Jim Kern, Texas Rangers: 13-5, 29 Saves, 1.57 ERA, 136 SO, AL 1979 

Jim Kern went to three straight All-Star Games, with this year being his third.  Also in his first season in Texas (he was with Cleveland before), Kern had his best year by far in the Majors.  In addition to his personal best 29 Saves, he also set career-highs in Games Played (71), Games Finished (57), and was fourth in Cy Young voting and eleventh in MVP voting. Kern never had a year close to this again, and he bounced around to Cincinnati, Chicago (AL), Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cleveland before his career ended in 1986.  He had 88 career Saves.

Eligible since 1992.  Despite being Hall of Fame eligible in 1992, he was not on the ballot.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City Royals: 12-7, 33 Saves, 3.09 ERA, 37 SO, AL 1980 

This was Quisenberry’s breakout year where the submarine-style Pitcher led the AL in Saves (33), Gamed Finished (68) and Games Pitched (75).  Quisenberry was fifth in Cy Young and eighth in MVP voting, and he helped Kansas City reach the World Series.

Eligible since 1996.  Quisenberry was on the ballot for one year and received 3.8% of the vote in 1996.  Ranked #94 on Notinhalloffame.com

Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City Royals: 9-7, 35 Saves, 2.57 ERA, 46 SO, AL 1982 (2) 

“Quiz” was finally an All-Star, and he did what he did in 1980, which was lead the AL in Saves (35) and Games Finished (68). He was third for the Cy Young and ninth for the MVP, and this began a four-year streak of top three Cy Young finishes.

Eligible since 1996.  Quisenberry was on the ballot for one year and received 3.8% of the vote in 1996.  Ranked #94 on Notinhalloffame.com

Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City Royals: 5-3, 45 Saves, 1.94 ERA, 46 SO, AL 1983 (3) 

Quisenberry’s 45 Saves not only led the American League but it would be a personal best for the closer.  He was also first in the AL in Games Pitched (69) and Games Finished (62), and the “Quiz” was the runner-up for the 7y Young with a sixth-place finish in MVP voting.

Eligible since 1996.  Quisenberry was on the ballot for one year and received 3.8% of the vote in 1996.  Ranked #94 on Notinhalloffame.com

Al Holland, Philadelphia Phillies: 8-4, 25 Saves, 2.26 ERA, 100 SO, NL 1983  

After playing in San Francisco for four years, he joined Philadelphia in 1983, and became their closer.  Holland help take the Phillies to the World Series that year but they lost to Baltimore Orioles in five.  The southpaw was an All-Star the following year, and exceeded his Saves mark to 2, but he was used in middle relief afterward, and later played for Pittsburgh, California and the New York Yankees.  He only had 78 career Saves.

Eligible since 1993.  Despite being Hall of Fame eligible in 1993, he was not on the ballot.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City Royals: 6-3, 44 Saves, 2.64 ERA, 41 SO, AL 1984 (4)

Quisenberry was an All-Star for the third and last time, but he was on year three of four straight Save-leading seasons.  He was again the second-place finisher for the Cy Young, and he was third for the MVP, his highest ever finish.

Eligible since 1996.  Quisenberry was on the ballot for one year and received 3.8% of the vote in 1996.  Ranked #94 on Notinhalloffame.com

Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City Royals: 8-9, 37 Saves, 2.37 ERA, 54 SO, AL 1985 (5) 

Quisenberry secured his fifth and final Rolaids Relief Award, and it is also marked the last of five times he was the American League leader in Saves (37), the third and final time in Games Pitched (84) and fourth and final time in Games Finished (37).  He played with the Royals until 1988, winning a World Series Ring in 1985, and he later joined St. Louis and San Francisco.  He retired with 244 career Saves.

Eligible since 1996.  Quisenberry was on the ballot for one year and received 3.8% of the vote in 1996.  Ranked #94 on Notinhalloffame.com

Jeff Reardon, Montreal Expos: 2-8, 41 Saves, 3.18 ERA, 67 SO, NL 1985  

Jeff Reardon had at least 20 Saves in the three years before, but he improved that total to 41 this year, which was the only time he ever finished first in his respective league.  He was seventh in Cy Young voting and two years later he helped the Minnesota Twins win the 1987 World Series.  A four-time All-Star, Reardon would later play for Boston, Atlanta, Cincinnati and New York (AL), and he amassed 367 Saves.

Eligible since 2000.  Reardon was on the ballot for one year in 2000 and received 4.8% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Dave Righetti, New York Yankees: 8-8, 46 Saves, 2.45 ERA, 83 SO, AL 1986  

Dave Righetti began his career as a starter where he was the 1981 American League Rookie of the Year.  Three years later he was moved to the bullpen and after two good years in that role, he was named to the All-Star team with league leading numbers in Saves (46) and Games Finished (68).  Righetti was fourth for the Cy Young and tenth for the MVP.

Eligible since 2001.  Righetti was on the ballot for one year in 2001 and received 0.4% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Todd Worrell, St. Louis Cardinals: 9-10, 36 Saves, 2.08 ERA, 73 SO, NL 1986  

1986 was the best year of Todd Worrell’s career, which coincidentally was also his rookie year.  Not only would he win the Rolaids Reliever of the Year, he was also the Rookie of the Year.  Worrell led the NL in Saves (36), Games Finished (60), and he was fifth for the Cy Young.  Worrell would later be an All-Star in 1988, and twice for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1995-96).  He retired in 1997 with 256 Saves.

Eligible since 2003.  Worrell was on the ballot for one year in 2003 and received 0.0% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Dave Righetti, New York Yankees: 8-6, 31 Saves, 3.41 ERA, 77 SO, AL 1987 (2) 

Righetti was an All-Star again, which would be the second and last time.  He would have at least 24 Saves over the next four years, and he also played for San Francisco, Oakland, Toronto and the Chicago White Sox.  He accrued 252 total Saves.

Eligible since 2001.  Worrell was on the ballot for one year in 2001 and received 0.4% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Steve Bedrosian, Philadelphia Phillies: 5-3, 40 Saves, 2.83 ERA, 74 SO, NL 1987 

Bedrosian was a Relief Pitcher for most of his career, and his best year by far at it was 1987, where his 40 Saves were league-leading. An All-Star this year, Bedrosian won the Cy Young Award, which was coincidentally the only year he would get a vote.  Bedrosian would later win a World Series Ring with the Minnesota Twins in 1991, and he had 184 career Saves.

Eligible since 2001.  Worrell was on the ballot for one year in 2001 and received 0.2% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

John Franco, Cincinnati Reds: 6-6, 39 Saves, 1.57 ERA, 46 SO, NL 1988 

Franco was an All-Star in the two years before, and he led the NL in Games Finished (60) with 32 Saves the year before.  This season, his 39 Saves topped the National League and his 61 Games Finished were also atop the leaderboard.  Franco was an All-Star the next year, and joined the Mets in 1990.

Eligible since 2011.  Franco was on the ballot for one year in 2011 and received 4.6% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Jeff Russell, Texas Rangers: 6-4, 38 Saves, 1.98 ERA, 77 SO, NL 1989 

Over Jeff Russell’s 14-year career, he was predominantly used in relief, but this would be the first season he became a closer. Russell led the AL in Saves (38) and Games Finished (66), and would me ninth for the Cy Young.  Russell later played for Oakland, Boston and Cleveland before returning to Texas and closing his career in 1996 with 186 career Saves.

Eligible since 2002.  Franco was on the ballot for one year in 2002 but did not receive any votes.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Mark Davis, San Diego Padres: 4-3, 44 Saves, 1.85 ERA, 92 SO, NL 1989 

Mark Davis made his Major League debut in 1980 with the Philadelphia Phillies, and he would later play for San Francisco before joining the Giants in 1987.  Davis was anointed the team’s closer in 1988 and was an All-Star, but he had the season of his life in 1989 where he was again an All-Star and led the NL in Saves (44) and Games Finished (65).  He would win the Cy Young while also finishing sixth for the MVP.  Davis signed with Kansas City afterward but he never had a season like 1989 again.  He went on to play for Atlanta, Philadelphia with a return to San Diego.  Davis retired for good after a brief comeback in 1997 with the Brewers.

Eligible since 2003.  Davis was on the ballot for one year in 2003 and received 0.2% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Bobby Thigpen, Chicago White Sox: 4-6, 57 Saves, 1.83 ERA, 70 SO, NL 1989 

Bobby Thigpen had already been the primary closer for the ChiSox for the past two years, but this year he set a then Major League record in Saves with 57, while also leading the American League in Games Pitched (77) and Games Finished (73).  He only had two more seasons where he had at least 20 Saves, but his skills were eroding quickly and he was out of Baseball by 1994.

Thigpen did not play the minimum ten years to qualify for the Hall of Fame.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

John Franco, New York Mets: 5-3, 33 Saves, 2.53 ERA, 56 SO, NL 1990 (2)

This was Franco’s first of 14 years as a Met, and it was also his last All-Star year.  Franco led the NL in Saves for the second time, and later on in 1994, he would again with 30 Saves, but he was not a Rolaids winner that year.  He finished his career with a season in Houston in 2005, and retired with 424 Saves.

Eligible since 2011.  Franco was on the ballot for one year in 2011 and received 4.6% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Bryan Harvey, California Angels: 2-4, 46 Saves, 1.60 ERA, 101 SO, AL 1991

This Harvey’s best season in the Majors, where his 46 Saves led the AL, as did his 63 Games Finished; both of which were career-highs.  Harvey finished fifth in Cy Young voting, and was an All-Star.  While this was his only Rolaids win, two years ago he had another All-Star season, albeit with the Florida Marlins in a World Series winning year. Harvey had 177 career Saves.

Harvey did not play the minimum ten years to qualify for the Hall.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Jeff Montgomery, Kansas City Royals: 7-5, 45 Saves, 2.27 ERA, 66 SO, AL 1993

Montgomery went to three All-Star Games over his career, which was all but 14 Games as a Kansas City Royal.  A late-inning reliever for most of career, Montgomery had four 30-plus Save years, with the 45 this year being league-leading and his career-high.  Montgomery retired in 1999 with 304 Saves.

Eligible Since 2005.  Montgomery was on the ballot for one year in 2005 and received 0.4% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Randy Myers, Chicago Cubs: 2-4, 53 Saves, 3.11 ERA, 86 SO, NL 1993

Before he was a Chicago Cub, Randy Myers was a New York Met, a Cincinnati Red, where the closer was an All-Star and World Series Champion and a San Diego Padre.  With the Cubs, Myers went to two All-Star Games and in 1993, won the Saves Title (53) while also finishing eighth for the Cy Young.  He would again lead the NL in Saves (38) in 1995 and the American League with 45 in 1997 as a Baltimore Oriole.  Myers finished his career in 1998, splitting his time with Toronto and San Diego and would amass 347 total Saves.

Eligible Since 2004.  Myers was on the ballot for one year in 2005 and received 0.2% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Rod Beck, San Francisco Giants: 2-4, 28 Saves, 2.77 ERA, 39 SO, NL 1994

Rod Beck was in his fourth season of Major League service and it was his second straight year as an All-Star.  In this strike-shortened year, Beck led the NL in Games Finished (47) for the second consecutive year, and he would later do so again two more times.  Beck would overall go three All-Star Games, and later play for the Chicago Cuba, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres.  Beck retired with 286 Saves.

Eligible Since 2008.  Beck was on the ballot for one year in 2005 and received 0.4% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Jose Mesa, Cleveland Indians: 3-0, 46 Saves, 1.13 ERA, 58 SO, AL 1995

From the Dominican Republic, Jose Mesa had a 19-year career in the Majors, where he was mostly used coming out of the bullpen. This season, Mesa led the AL in Saves (46) and Games Finished (57), and he was an All-Star for the first time. Mesa was second this year for the Cy Young and fourth for the MVP and he secured 321 career Saves in 1,022 Games Pitched.

Eligible Since 2013.  Mesa was on the ballot for one year in 2013 but did not receive any votes. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Tom Henke, St. Louis Cardinals: 1-1, 36 Saves, 1.82 ERA, 48 SO, NL 1995

Tom Henke won a World Series Rings with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he led the AL in Saves in 1987.  After leaving the Jays for Texas in 1993, he played two years before going to St. Louis in the NL for his lone year there, where he had his best ERA (1.82), and the second of two All-Star campaigns.  Henke retired on top, as he elected to retire at the end of the season.  

Eligible Since 2001.  Henke was on the ballot for one year in 2001 and received 1.2% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

John Wetteland, New York Yankees: 2-3, 43 Saves, 2.83 ERA, 69 SO, AL 1996

John Wetteland had at least 25 or more Saves in the four years before this season, three with Montreal and one with the Yankees. In this baseball campaign, Wetteland led the American League in Saves (43) in what was his first of three All-Star years.  Wetteland helped the Yankees win the World Series that year while winning the World Series MVP, and after he was a Texas Ranger for his last four years.  He had 330 career Saves.

Eligible Since 2006.  Wetteland was on the ballot for one year in 2006 and received 0.8% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Jeff Brantley, Cincinnati Reds: 1-2, 44 Saves, 2.41 ERA, 76 SO, NL 1996

Jeff Brantley was an All-Star in 1990 as a San Francisco Giant, but it was in Cincinnati where the reliever had his best year.  Brantley led the NL in Saves (44), which was the only time that would happen.  He would late play for St. Louis, Philadelphia and Texas and managed 172 career Saves.

Eligible Since 2007.  Brantley was eligible for the Hall in 2007 but was not on the ballot.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Randy Myers, Baltimore Orioles: 2-3, 45 Saves, 1.51 ERA, 56 SO, AL 1997 (2)

Myers would again lead the league (American) with 45 in 1997 as a Baltimore Oriole.  Myers finished his career in 1998, splitting his time with Toronto and San Diego and would amass 347 total Saves.

Eligible Since 2004.  Myers was on the ballot for one year in 2005 and received 0.2% of the vote. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Jeff Shaw, Cincinnati Reds: 4-2, 42 Saves, 2.38 ERA, 74 SO, NL 1997 

For the first time, we have a back-to-back winner from a team who was not the same player.  Jeff Brantley won it in 1996, as opposed to Jeff Shaw this year, who was the National League Leader in Saves with 42.  He had more in 48 the year after, but it was a season split between the Reds and the Dodgers.  Shaw had 203 career Saves.

Eligible Since 2007.  Shaw was eligible since 2007 but was not on the ballot.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Tom Gordon, Boston Red Sox: 7-4, 46 Saves, 2.72 ERA, 78 SO, AL 1998 

After eight years in Kansas City, Tom Gordon became the Red Sox’ primary closer in his third year in Boston.  This was arguably Gordon’s best season in Baseball, and it would be the first of three All-Star Game appearances for “Flash”, with the others coming as a Yankee and as a Phillie.  Gordon led the AL in Saves (46) and Games Finished (69), and had a sparkling WHIP of 1.008.  Gordon played 21 seasons and retired with a record of 138-126 with 158 Saves and 1,928 Strikeouts.

Eligible Since 2015.  Gordon was on the ballot for one year in 2015 and received 0.4% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Billy Wagner, Houston Astros: 4-1, 39 Saves, 1.57 ERA, 124 SO, NL 1998 

Wagner was a Strikeout machine this year for Houston with a 14.9 SO/9 with a 0.777 WHIP.  This year saw Wagner go to his first of seven All-Star Games, and while he never led his league in Saves, he compiled 422 over his career.  He also played for Philadelphia, New York (NL), Boston and Atlanta.

Eligible Since 2016.  Wagner has been on the ballot for five years finishing as high as 31.7% in 2020.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Antonio Alfonseca, Florida Marlins: 5-6, 45 Saves, 4.24 ERA, 47 SO, NL 2000

Alfonseca led the National League in Saves (45), but his ERA was 4.24, his WHIP was over 1.500, and his bWAR was 0.5.  He is arguably the worst recipient of this award. He would later play for Chicago (NL), Atlanta, Texas and Philadelphia and had 126 career Saves.

Eligible Since 2012.  Although Alfonseca was Hall of Fame eligible in 2012 he was not on the ballot. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Todd Jones, Detroit Tigers: 2-4, 42 Saves, 3.52 ERA, 67 SO, AL 2000

Todd Jones was a journeyman reliever over his career, often in a closing capacity.  This was his best year, going to his lone All-Star Game and leading the AL in Saves with 42.  Jones would accumulate 319 Saves over 16 years.

Eligible Since 2014.  Jones was on the ballot for one year in 2014 but he did not receive any votes. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Armando Benitez, New York Mets: 6-4, 43 Saves, 3.77 ERA, 93 SO, NL 2001

Armando Benitez had his second consecutive 40 Save year with the Mets, and would have another one in 2004 with 47 as a Marlin that led the NL.  Benitez had 289 Saves over a career that also saw time spent with Baltimore, Seattle, San Francisco and Toronto.

Eligible Since 2014.  Benitez was on the ballot for one year in 2014 and received 0.2% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Billy Koch, Oakland Athletics: 11-4, 44 Saves, 3.27 ERA, 93 SO, AL 2002

Billy Koch had at least 31 Saves over his first three years in the Majors which was in Toronto.  The Jays traded Koch to Oakland, and he had the best year of his career, securing 44 Saves and leading the AL in Games Pitched (84) and Games Finished (79).  Despite that, he was dealt to the White Sox, but he floundered after that and was out of the Majors by 2004.

Koch did not play the minimum ten years to qualify for the Hall of Fame.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Keith Foulke, Oakland Athletics: 9-1, 43 Saves, 2.08 ERA, 88 SO, AL 2003

Foulke arrived in Oakland when he was traded for Billy Koch, the Rolaids Reliever of the Year winner the year before.  Foulke won it this year with a league-leading 43 Saves and 67 Games Finished, with a seventh-place finish in Cy Young voting. This was his last year in Oakland, as he signed with Boston and won a World Series.  He retired in 2008 with 191 career Saves.

Eligible since 2014.  Although Foulke was eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2014 he was not on the ballot. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Eric Gagne, Los Angeles Dodgers: 2-3, 55 Saves, 1.20 ERA, 137 SO, NL 2003

The numbers for Gagne were staggering, as he built upon his 52 Save season in 2002 with a 55 Save, 67 Games Finished performance that led both categories.  Gagne’s anemic 1.20 ERA was matched by an even more impressive 0.692 WHIP and 15.0 SO/9. Gagne would also win the Cy Young this season and 

Eligible since 2014.  Gagne was on the ballot for one year in 2014 and received 0.4% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Eric Gagne, Los Angeles Dodgers: 7-3, 45 Saves, 2.19 ERA, 114 SO, NL 2004 (2)

Gagne went back-to-back with Rolaids wins, and while his numbers were still good, they were not at the 2003 level.  Gagne was seventh in Cy Young voting and he had his third consecutive All-Star year.  This was it for Gagne, who had arm trouble and was never the same again. Gagne bounced to Texas, Boston and Milwaukee and retired in 2008 with 187 Saves.

Eligible since 2014.  Gagne was on the ballot for one year in 2014 and received 0.4% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Chad Cordero, Washington Nationals: 2-4, 47 Saves, 1.82 ERA, 61 SO, NL 2005

Cordero was only in the Majors for seven years (six with Washington) and this was easily his best year.  Cordero’s 47 Saves led the NL, and this was the only year he had an ERA under two and WHIP under one.  He had 128 career Saves.

Cordero did not play the minimum ten seasons required to qualify for the Hall of Fame. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

J.J. Putz, Seattle Mariners: 6-1, 40 Saves, 1.38 ERA, 82 SO, NL 2007

Putz was the Mariners closer for three years and he led the American League in Games Finished (65) and the All-Star had a spectacular 0.698 WHIP.  Putz later played for New York (NL), Chicago (AL) and Arizona and would have 189 career Saves.

Eligible since 2020.  Putz was on the ballot for one year and had 0.3% of the vote.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Jose Valverde, Arizona Diamondbacks: 1-4, 47 Saves, 2.56 ERA, 78 SO, NL 2007

Valverde had a breakout year here he led the NL in Saves (47) went to the All-Star Game, and was sixth for Cy Young voting. Despite that, Valverde was traded to Houston and led the NL in Saves (44) again. 

Eligible since 2020.  Valverde was on the ballot for one year in 2020 but did not receive any votes. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies: 2-0, 41 Saves, 1.95 ERA, 92 SO, NL 2008

After six years with the Houston Astros, Brad Lidge was traded to the Houston Astros where in his first year, he was an All-Star for the second time, won the Rolaids Relief Award, and helped the Phillies win the World Series.  He would also finish fourth in Cy Young voting.  Lidge played five more years, but it was up and down, and he never came close to his 2008 season again.  He retired with 225 Saves. 

Eligible since 2018.  Lidge was on the ballot for one year on 2018 but did not receive any votes.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.

Heath Bell, San Diego Padres: 6-4, 42 Saves, 2.71 ERA, 79 SO, NL 2009

This was Bell’s sixth year in the Majors and third in San Diego, but it would be his first as a closer.  Bell rose to the occasion, leading the National League in Saves (42) and he was an All-Star for the first time. 

Eligible since 2020.  Bell was on the ballot for one year on 2020 but did not receive any votes.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.

Heath Bell, San Diego Padres: 6-1, 47 Saves, 1.93 ERA, 86 SO, NL 2010 (2)

Bell went back-to-back for the Rolaids Award, exceeding his 42 Save mark to 47.  This would be the only year where he dropped his ERA to below two, and he was an All-Star again.  Bell had 43 Saves in 2011, and was an All-Star for the third straight year. His All-Star runs were over, as was his stay in San Diego.  Bell played three more seasons, one with Miami, Arizona and Tampa Bay, and accrued 168 Saves over his career. 

Eligible since 2020.  Bell was on the ballot for one year on 2020 but did not receive any votes.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.

Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers: 2-4, 49 Saves, 2.56 ERA, 78 SO, AL 2011 (2)

Joining the Detroit Tigers in 2010, Valverde led the AL in Saves (49), Games Finished (70) and Games Pitched (75) this season. He would also win the Delivery Man of the Year Award, and was fifth in Cy Young voting.  Valverde played until 2014, with a final year as a Met, and he accrued 288 Saves.

Eligible since 2020.  Valverde was on the ballot for one year but did not receive any votes.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

 

Let’s update our tally, shall we?       

Award in Question

Percentage of recipients who have entered the HOF

Percentage of recipients by year who have entered the HOF.

NBA MVP

100%

100%

NHL Art Ross

100%

100%

NHL Hart Trophy

93.6%

96.3%

NBA Finals MVP

91.3%

94.9%

NHL Norris

90.5%

96.4%

NHL Ted Lindsay Award

90.0%

 

NBA All-Star Game MVP

89.5%

91.7%

NHL Conn Smythe

74.2%

85.4%

NFL Bert Bell Award

73.7%

71.4%

NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year

73.1%

79.4%

NFL AP MVP

68.3%

74.0%

NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year

66.7%

66.7%

NHL Lady Byng

63.8%

76.0%

NFL Defensive Player of the Year

60.8%

71.1%

NFL Super Bowl MVP

60.6%

64.9%

NHL Mark Messier Leadership Award

60.0%

60.0%

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

58.3%

56.5%

NHL Vezina

57.1%

66.3%

NBA Rookie of the Year

56.5%

56.5%

MLB MVP

55.0%

60.2%

NFL Pro Bowl MVP

52.3%

54.8%

MLB Lou Gehrig Award

51.9%

51.9%

MLB Roberto Clemente Award

47.4%

47.4%

NHL Calder Trophy

46.5%

46.5%

NBA J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

46.0%

46.0%

MLB/NL/AL Cy Young Award

44.4%

55.4%

MLB Babe Ruth Award

37.0%

39.3%

NHL King Clancy Award

36.8%

36.8%

NHL Frank J. Selke Trophy

33.3%

36.7%

MLB World Series MVP

33.3%

36.8%

MLB Hutch Award

33.1%

33.1%

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

28.6%

28.6%

NHL Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

27.9%

27.9%

MLB Edgar Martinez Award

26.7%

17.2%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Designated Hitter)

25.0%

30.8%

MLB Comeback Player of the Year

25.0%

25.0%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Shortstop)

23.5%

52.6%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove

21.7%

36.8%

NHL William M. Jennings Trophy

20.7%

40.4%

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

20.6%

20.6%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Catcher)

20.0%

22.5%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Second Base)

18.8%

39.8%

MLB Rolaids Reliever of the Year

18.6%

33.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Shortstop)

18.2%

35.1%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Pitcher)

18.2%

20.1%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Second Base)

16.7%

32.7%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Outfield)

16.7%

30.1%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Outfield)

15.7%

25.2%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Third Base)

14.3%

14.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Third Base)

13.6%

14.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (First Base)

13.6%

13.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Rookie of the Year

13.3%

13.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Catcher)

10.3%

15.2%

NBA Most Improved Player of the Year

5.3%

3.2%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (First Base)

3.8%

3.2%

NFL AP Comeback Player of the Year

0.0%

0.0%

So, who is up next?

The following are the players who have won the Rolaids Reliever of the Year Award in MLB who have retired but have not met the mandatory years out of the game to qualify for the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels: 2-3, 47 Saves, 1.73 ERA, 98 SO, NL 2006

Already a World Series Champion as a rookie, Rodriguez led the AL for the second straight year.  He was fourth in Cy Young voting and posted a 12.1 SO/9

Eligible in 2023.

Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels: 2-3, 62 Saves, 2.24 ERA, 77 SO, NL 2008 (2)

Rodriguez became the first player to record over 60 Saves (62), and he also led the AL in Games Pitched (76) and Games Finished (69). The Cy Young voters had him in third with him also placing him sixth in MVP voting.  This would be K-Rod’s last year as an Angel as he signed with the New York Mets as a Free Agent.  Later, he had two All-Star years with the Milwaukee Brewers, and he retired after two seasons with the Detroit Tigers.  Rodriguez had 437 career Saves.

Eligible in 2023.

Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins: 2-2, 47 Saves, 2.10 ERA, 89 SO, AL 2009

Joe Nathan was already an established closer, and this was his sixth consecutive season securing at least 36 Saves.  Nathan who was an All-Star this year, would be one six times over his career and accumulate 377 career Saves.

Eligible in 2022.

Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays: 3-2, 45 Saves, 1.73 ERA, 57 SO, AL 2010

Rafael Soriano was in the Majors for 14 seasons, with only one as a Tampa Bay Ray.  That lone year in Tampa, was his best, as this was the only year he was a league-leader in Saves (45) and had a sub-2 ERA.  Soriano also played for Seattle, Atlanta, New York (AL), Washington and Chicago (NL) and had 207 Saves. 

Eligible in 2021.

John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers: 2-2, 46 Saves, 1.95 ERA, 86 SO, NL 2011

This was John Axford’s third season and the best year of his career.  Axford led the NL in Saves this year (46) and was also ninth in Cy Young voting. Axford would later play for St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Oakland, Toronto and Los Angeles and had 144 Saves over his career. 

Eligible in 2024.

Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles: 2-1, 51 Saves, 2.49 ERA, 41 SO, AL 2012

Johnson was a closer for the first time in his career, and he responded by leading the American League in Saves (51).  He led the AL in the same metric the year after (50) as well as finishing atop the AL leaderboard in Games Finished (63).  He was not an elite closer afterward, playing for Oakland, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and the Angels, ending his career with 178 Saves.

Eligible in 2024.

The following are the players who have won the Rolaids Reliever of the Year who are still active.

Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves: 3-1, 42 Saves, 1.01 ERA, 116 SO, NL 2012

In the season before, Craig Kimbrel won the National League Rookie of the Year while leading the NL in Saves (46).  Kimbrel’s save totals were a little less this year (42), but was still league-leading.  What was really eye-popping was his ERA (1.01), SO/9 (16.7), SO/BB (8.29) and WHIP (0.654).  Kimbrel was fifth in Cy Young voting this year and he also led the NL in Saves the next two seasons.  Kimbrel would later win the Delivery Man of the Year of the Award (2013) and Trevor Hoffman Award (2017).

33 Years Old, Playing for the Chicago Cubs.

The Rolaids Reliever of the Year yielded a higher percentage than you would think considering that the Hall of Fame does not have that many Relief Pitchers in the Hall.  As this is now a defunct award, this total is no likely to change much.

So, what is up next?

We are not venturing to far, as we look at another defunct award for Relief Pitchers, the MLB Delivery Man of the Year.

As always, we thank you for your support, and look for that soon.

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