Top 10 Closers In The History of Major League Baseball
Over the years in Major League Baseball there have been many big time closers who take their jobs to the next level. One of the hardest things to do in baseball is get the last three outs of a game.
What many baseball fans do not understand is that while we call this era in baseball the "Steroids Era" it could also be known as "The Era of the Closers."
Baseball fans you have been truly spoiled to get a chance to watch some of these select few closers come in and do the dirty work for your baseball team.
What I would like you to focus on while reading this article is What closer would you want closing Game Seven of the World Series for your ball club. You will find out that it may not be as easy a decision as you think.
10. John Franco
John Franco is my 10th best closer in the history of the MLB. He currently ranks fourth all-time in career saves. He spent the majority of his 21 year career (14 years) with the New York Mets.
He has 424 career saves. The funniest thing about Franco is that he has the Brett Favre syndrome and won't retire. He is still considered active in the Majors but is not currently on a roster.
9. Francisco Rodriguez
Francisco Rodriguez is already one of the greatest closers in the history of the game. In just seven years he has 208 career saves.
Rodriguez has a dynamite slider that makes him very difficult to figure out. With much of his career left if he is able to stay healthy Rodriguez will most likely challenge Hoffman and Rivera for the all time saves leader.
8. John Wetteland
John Wetteland is one of the most underrated closers in the history of the game. He pitched 12 seasons in the pros and recorded 330 saves. Wetteland is 11th all time in saves.
I know what you all are thinking how can a guy who is not in the top ten make the top list of the greatest of all time. My answer is he had one of the greatest careers a closer can have and chose to go out on top.
He won a World Series with the Yankees and in that 1996 season recorded 43 saves. Wetteland has a career ERA of 2.93. He was a game breaker and a bulldog on the mound.
7. Rollie Fingers
Rollie Fingers may have been one of the strikeout closers of all time. He ended his career one strikeout away from 1,300. It gives him the second most strikeouts out of the top ten save leaders. He trails only Dennis Eckersley who pitched 24 seasons compared to his seventeen.
Rollie Fingers with great command ended his career with 341 saves which was good for 10th all time. He also had a career ERA of only 2.90.
6. Troy Percival
There may not be a more electrifying closer than Troy Percival. Percival is currently eighth all time in saves but is still closing for the Tampa Bay Rays.
During the middle of his career Percival was able to hit close to 100 mph on his fastball which he also had a really nasty breaking ball to accompany it.
Percival would use this fastball with the Angels to try and intimidate players leading him to were he currently is with 352 career saves.
If Percy would have been able to stay off the DL there is no telling where he would be at among the greats right now.
5. Billy Wagner
Billy the Kid. He like Percival is known for his electric fastball. This lefty was the long time closer for the Houston Astros. He sits at 6th all time in saves with 385.
Wagner would hit time and time again over 100 mph on a radar gun when he was asked to come on and shut the door. Many batters knew it was coming but with the movement and devastating speed they had trouble catching up to him. Wagner posted a career 2.40 ERA one of the lowest ever posted by a closer.
4. Dennis Eckersley
Eckersley ended his career with 390 saves. That was good for fifth best all time. Probably best closer to ever play for the Oakland Athletics.
Eckersley was also an intimidating individual hitting the high ninety's with his fastball. Over his amazing twenty four year career he had a total of 2,401 career strikeouts.
3. Lee Smith
The top three save leaders are the most difficult to decide between. Lee Smith gets my vote for the third best. The great Cardinal closer had a stellar career.
He ended his career with 478 saves a mark that has been proven very hard to reach. When Lee Smith came on in the ninth inning you could almost close up shop.
In 1,022 games he had only 92 losses. For a long time fans had nothing to worry about Lee Smith was on the hill.
2. Trevor Hoffman
Trevor Hoffman is the all time career leader in saves. I find just one closer to be better than him. Hoffman has recorded 554 saves over his sixteen year career.
Hoffman was the go to man in San Diego for many years. With a nasty change up Hoffman turned the 9th inning into no big deal for Padre fans.
Hoffman is still closing for the Brewers but his career is beginning to die down.
1. Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera known as The Hammer of God. He is about as close to automatic as one can be when it comes to closers.
Rivera has 482 career saves which 2nd all time. Rivera made the cut fastball famous by tying up hitters over and over.
He has a career ERA of 2.29 and has lost only forty nine games in fourteen years. When Rivera takes the mound visiting crowds are silenced and Yankee fans come to their feet.
There has not been a closer to this day that has been able to master the Bronx like Rivera has. He hardly screws up which keeps the media quite and keeps the fans happy.
I have watched Mariano Rivera take the mound numerous times and you get the same outcome close to every single time. Three up, Three down!