Mariano Rivera is the only remaining MLB player wearing No. 42, a number retired in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1997. Rivera trails only Trevor Hoffman in all-time saves and has perhaps the most dominant one-pitch arsenal this side of Phil Niekro. He will be gone soon enough, but for now, it isn't hard to find people who believe he is the best closer in baseball history.
Of course, it's also not hard to find those who think otherwise. Some think Hoffman, or contemporary Billy Wagner, was as good as Rivera. Some remember Dennis Eckersley's MVP season as a uniquely dominant command closer.
Some even reject the premise of an argument for Rivera, insisting that guys like Mike Marshall—who frequently pitched three or four innings en route to his saves and racked up many more frames than the modern closers do—were much more valuable.
Closers are fickle, inconstant creatures, and to have one truly dominate for more than three years is exceedingly rare. More often, a great closer is identified by just how brightly he shined during his window of opportunity, when he was at the height of his powers and seemingly stopped the world 75 times a year. Here, now, are the 50 best closers in MLB history.