Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Trevor Hoffman Saves Number 600

Milestones! We love them in baseball, don't we? Our passion for them is unlike any other sport. A quarterback reaches 100 touchdown passes. So? But young pitcher like Felix Hernandez who notches his 100th win? Now that's big news. We had ourselves another milestone on Tuesday night as Trevor Hoffman picked up his 600th save. People say that anyone can save a ball game. It's just three outs in the grand scheme of things. But the Fan is looking around and nobody else has ever done what Hoffman just did. That, friends is a milestone.

Kudos to the Brewers for giving Hoffman the chance to get the milestone. For a while there, there seemed to be doubt that the Brewers were let Hoffman give it a go. Hoffman's season has been well chronicled. He's had a bad season by his standards. But really, he had two bad months. He's been decent since the end of May. He's been pretty darn decent since the end of May for a guy who is going to turn 43 in October. Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman was drafted 21 years ago. The Fan was a hardy young man back then. He was drafted by the Reds in the eleventh round. Hoffman was a shortstop back then like his older brother, Glenn Hoffman. The hitting thing wasn't happening for Trevor and his minor league manager suggested he try pitching. Without that suggestion, it's likely Hoffman wouldn't have had a major league career at all, never mind a seventeen year one.

The Fan never knew until researching this post that Trevor Hoffman made his MLB debut in 1993 for the Florida Marlins. That was the Marlins' first season and they picked up Hoffman in the expansion draft. He's the only player still playing from the Marlins' first season. Halfway through that season, the San Diego Padres were stripping themselves of all of their expensive (for them) players. The sell off was famous for a long time. Hoffman was part of the deal where he was sent to San Diego for Gary Sheffield. That's a pretty good guy to be traded for.

The Padres made Hoffman their closer in 1994 but the strike ended the season early and Hoffman finished his first season as the full time closer with 20 saves. He's been off an running ever since. Hoffman's best statistical seasons were from 1996 to 1999. He was nearly unhittable during that period and it was 1997 when he set the NL record for most saves in a season with 53.

There aren't too many people that would call Hoffman a power pitcher. He is more known for his change up. But in his younger days, he threw heat. Shoulder problems took away his velocity. Even so, in ten of Hoffman's seventeen seasons, he averaged over nine strikeouts per nine innings. In fact, his career K/9 is 9.4. That is very impressive over that long a time span.

Some of Hoffman's statistics:

  • 1032 games
  • 853 games finished - a major league record.
  • A career K/BB  ratio of 3.69
  • Over 40 saves nine times.
  • A career WHIP of 1.060
  • A career average of 7.0 hits per nine innings.
  • A career average of 0.8 homers per nine innings

Many like to compare Trevor Hoffman to Mariano Rivera, who most consider the best closer to ever live. But you can't short shrift Hoffman. It doesn't appear likely that Rivera will catch Hoffman's record total. In this Fan's opinion, Hoffman is a Hall of Fame career type of player. Congratulations to Trevor for save # 600 and to the Brewers for making it happen.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Hellickson reminds me a little of Hoffman, in terms of his motion and his changeup.

I love that old SportsCenter commercial where they have Hoffman come on the set to relieve an anchor who is struggling.