MLB's 10 Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

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MLB's 10 Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

10. Robb Nen

Nen was a dominant closer throughout the '90s and into the early 2000's. In his short ten year career, he had a 45 - 42 record, 314 saves, a 2.98 E.R.A., and 793 strikeouts in only 715 innings pitched. He was selected to the All Star team three times and led the NL in saves in 2001 with 45.

His best season came in 1998 when he had a 7 - 7 record, 40 saves, a 1.52 E.R.A. and 110 strikeouts in 88.7 innings. Finally, he was the close of the 1997 Marlins team that won the World Series. However, his career was cut short by several injuries.

9. Troy Percival

Percival was a dominant closer for the Angels throughout the '90s and into the mid 2000's. So far in his thirteen year career, he has a 35 - 42 record, 352 saves, a 3.12 E.R.A. and 774 strikeouts. He has been selected to the All Star team four times and he ranks eighth all time in saves.

His best season came in 2002 when he had a 4 - 1 record, 40 saves, a 1.92 E.R.A. and 68 strikeouts in 56.3 innings pitched. During that season, he helped the Angels win the World Series as he was fantastic in the playoffs, saving seven of the nine games the team won during the playoff run.

8. Bruce Sutter

Sutter was a fantastic closer during the '70s and '80s. In his twelve year career, he had a 68 - 71 record, 300 saves, a 2.83 E.R.A. and 861 strikeouts in 1042.3 innings pitched. He was selected to the All Star team six times and he led the NL in saves five times in a six year stretch.

His best season came in 1979 when he won the NL Cy Young Award. In that season, he had a 6 - 6 record, 37 saves, a 2.22 E.R.A. and 110 strikeouts in 101.3 innings pitched. Finally, he helped lead the Cardinals to a championship in 1982 as he saved three games and won two other games in their six wins in the playoffs.

7. Billy Wagner

Wagner has been a dominant closer since the late '90s. So far in his 14 year career, he has a 39 - 37 record, 385 saves, a 2.40 E.R.A. and 1066 strikeouts in 818 innings pitched. He has been selected to the All Star team six times and he ranks sixth all time in career saves.

His best season came in 2003 with the Astros as he had a 1 - 4 record, 44 saves, a 1.78 E.R.A. and 105 strikeouts in 86 innings. However, he has not played well in the postseason as he has a career 8.71 E.R.A. in six playoff series. Finally, he won the NL Rolaids Relief Award in 1999.

6. Lee Smith

Smith was the all time leader in saves for several years until a couple of years ago when Hoffman broke his record. In his 18 year career, he had a 71 - 92 record, a 3.03 E.R.A., 478 saves and 1251 strikeouts in 1289.3 innings pitched. He was selected to the All Star team seven times.

He led the league in saves four times and his best season came in 1991. In that season, he had a 6 - 3 record, 47 saves, a 2.34 E.R.A. and 67 strikeouts in 73 innings pitched. He won the Rolaids Relief Award three times in the early 90's. However, he never won a championship as his teams only appeared in the playoffs twice.

5. Trevor Hoffman

Hoffman is currently the all time leader in saves. So far in his 16 year career, he has a 56 - 66 record, 554 saves, a 2.78 E.R.A. and 1055 strikeouts in 988 innings pitched. He has been selected to the All Star team six times and led the NL in saves twice in the 1998 and 2006 seasons.

His best season came in 1998 when he had a 4 - 2 record, a 1.48 E.R.A., 53 saves and 86 strikeouts in 73 innings pitched. However, he hasn't been a good postseason pitcher as he only has a 2 -4 record with an average 3.46 E.R.A. Finally, he has never won a championship as his Padres got swept the only time they advanced to the World Series.

4. Rich "Goose" Gossage

Gossage was a great relief pitcher throughout the '70s and '80s and even into the early '90s. In his 22 year career, he had a 124 - 107 record, 310 saves, a 3.01 E.R.A. and 1502 strikeouts in 1809.3 innings pitched. He was selected to the All Star team nine times, saving the game in 1984.

He led the league in saves three times and had his best season in 1980. During that season, he had a 6 - 2 record, 33 saves, a 2.27 E.R.A. and 103 strikeouts in 99 innings pitched. Finally, he was a very good postseason pitcher as he had a 5 - 3 record and 8 saves and helped lead his teams to the World Series three times, winning his only championship in 1978.

3. Rollie Fingers

Fingers was dominant throughout '60s, '70s and into the mid '80s. In his 17 year career, he had a 114 - 118 record, a 2.90 E.R.A., 341 saves and 1299 strikeouts in 1701.3 innings pitched. He was selected to the All Star team seven times and he led the league in saves three times.

His best season came in 1981 when not only did he win the NL Cy Young Award, but also the NL MVP Award. During that season, he had a 6 - 3 record, 28 saves, a 1.04 E.R.A. and 61 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched. Finally, he was fantastic in the playoffs as he had a 6 - 3 record with 10 saves and a 2.35 E.R.A. while helping lead his teams to three championships.

2. Dennis Eckersley

Eckersley was a solid starting pitcher, but a dominanted in relief. In his long 24 year career, he had a 197 - 171 record, 390 saves, a 3.50 E.R.A. and 2401 strikeouts in 3285.7 innings pitched. He was selected to the All Star team six times, saving the game three times. He also led the league in saves twice.

His best season came in 1992 when he won the AL Cy Young Award and the AL MVP award. During the season, he had a 7 - 1 record, 51 saves, a 1.91 E.R.A. and 93 strikeouts in 80 innings pitched. Finally, he was great in the postseason as he had 15 saves and a 3.00 E.R.A., helping lead the A's to a championship in 1989.

1. Mariano Rivera

Rivera is, without a doubt, the greatest relief pitcher ever. So far in his 14 year career, he has a 68 - 49 record, 482 saves, a 2.29 E.R.A. and 934 strikeouts in 1023.7 innings pitched. He has been selected to the All Star team nine times, saving the game three times and he has led the league in saves three times.

His best season came in 2005 when he had a 7 - 4 record, 43 saves, a 1.38 E.R.A. and 80 strikeouts in 78.3 innings pitched. He has had an amazing eight seasons where he had an E.R.A. below 2.00. Finally, he is at his best in the postseason where has a fantastic 17 - 9 record, a record 34 saves and an unheard of 0.77 E.R.A. in 117 innings pitched.

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