The greatest relief pitcher ever

Last night, at Yankee Stadium, Mariano Rivera reached 40 saves for the season.

Here’s a few facts:

Rivera has 79 saves in 81 opportunities in the last two seasons.

His ERA for this season is 1.69. Unless he has a terrible second half of September, this will be the sixth time in the last seven seasons he has delivered an ERA of less than 2.

In total, he has 9 seasons with an ERA of less than 2.

He has pitched over a 1000 innings for the Yankees in a 15 season career and delivered 522 saves over that period.

His ERA in 31 division series games for the Yankees is a minuscule 0.38

His ERA in 25 championship series games for the Yankees is 0.93

His ERA in 20 World Series games is 1.16

He has 34 post-season saves

He has played 8 times for the American League All-Star team. His ERA for them is 0.00

His OBA for the post-season has only once exceeded .250

Since he became a reliever, his OBA for the Yankees in regular season games has never exceeded .300

He has struck out 998 opponents in regular season play

He has ranked in the top 10 save earners in the American League every year since 1997

Mariano Rivera is certainly the best relief pitcher I have ever seen and I would argue that he is the best relief pitcher ever to grace a baseball diamond.

One thought on “The greatest relief pitcher ever

  1. I agree, but there were different kinds of relief pitchers in the old days (pre-Rollie Fingers, I guess) who pitched different amounts of innings for each go. All of th great closers one hears about, Gossage, Sutter, Eckersley, Lee Smith, and so on, were after the sixties, which was dominated by starting pitchers who completed games and pitched every fourth day. There were 30-game winners and lots of very low e.r.a’s like Bob Gibson’s and Koufax’s. It’s hard to judge pitching over eras.
    Anyway, with his many opportunites in the post season (more playoffs since 1969 + wild car) and being on a great team, Rivera has had ample chances to show himself under pressure. So, he’s the greatest.

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