Mariano Rivera: With Hoffman Gone, Can He Become The All-Time Save Leader

Anthony Pucik@AnthonyPucikCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2011

The Sandman on the hill doing what he does best, closing  out the game for the Yankees in the 9th inning
The Sandman on the hill doing what he does best, closing out the game for the Yankees in the 9th inningStephen Dunn/Getty Images

After 18 years in the major leagues, all-times saves leader Trevor Hoffman has decided to retire from baseball with 601 saves.  Long-time New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera is 2nd all-time with 559 saves.  With Hoffman retiring and Rivera re-signing with the Yankees for two more years, is it possible that "The Sandman" will be able to surpass Hoffman and be the all-time saves leader?

To beat Hoffman, Rivera would have to rack up 43 saves over the course of the next two years (assuming he does not re-sign after his new contract). Many people think Rivera has lost his magic, and he will not be able to surpass Hoffman.

Although Rivera dropped 11 saves from the 2009 season to the 2010 season, he still ended up having 33 saves in 2010.  At that rate, he would have more than enough saves after two years to not only surpass Hoffman, but to set a new standard for anyone who has enough saves to even think of breaking it.

Rivera's devastating cutter has baffled hitters for over 15 years now, and no one has been able to figure it out.  Even though people say he has lost his touch, at the age of 41 he still racked up 33 saves last season with the same pitch he's been pitching since he came up with the Yankees in '95.

Even though Rivera does not have as many regular season saves as Hoffman, Rivera's postseason numbers are infinitely superior. Rivera has five World Series rings to Hoffman's zero, and many of the Yankees victories in the World Series have come courtesy of No. 42. 

Another statistic that catches ones eye is the difference in ERA; Rivera has a ridiculous 0.71 to Hoffman's 3.46.  Rivera's 42 postseason saves don't show up on the all-time list, but his dominance when it comes to winning a big game really shows why some consider him better than Hoffman, whose pitching in October has much to be desired.

He will not surpass him this upcoming season, but I think that before the last time Metallica's "Enter Sandman" echoes through a dark, Bronx night, Mariano Rivera will be the new all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball.