On the heels of Mariano logging his 500th save, I wanted to take this opportunity to illustrate just how great, and how dominant Mariano has been. It’s something we all take for granted, and we all expect to end at some point. But if you consider yourself to be a Yankee fan you should be every bit as familiar with Mariano’s numbers as you are with Ruth’s 714 HR’s, Whitey Ford’s .690 win pct and Gehrigs 2130 consecutive games played. He belongs in that company among all time Yankee greats.
While other closers have been as good for a limited amount of time, nobody has been as dominant for as long as Mariano. Let’s start with the Save. We all know the Save is an overrated stat, since it was designed back in 1969 in an era where relief pitchers were used much differently then they are today. But at 500 career saves, that puts Mo at #2 on the all time list, trailing only the 41 year old Trevor Hoffman by 71 saves. I’ll leave it up to your imagination how Mo would have fared pitching most of his career in the perpetually weak NL West and Trevor Hoffman pitching most of his in the AL East, though we certainly got a taste of that in the 1998 World Series. But I’ll get to Mo’s adjusted numbers in a moment.
His playoff numbers are legendary and unlikely to ever be broken, by anyone. His ERA in the post season is 0.76, ranking him #1 all time. His WHIP in the playoffs is .750, trailing only a fellow Yankee great in Monte Pearson
. He has 34 post season saves in 76 games, both of which are all time records to which no one else is even remotely close.
on the all time list, and Addie Joss, Eddie Walsh and John Ward were all Dead ball era pitchers who for all intents and purposes played a different game. In the modern era, its Mo on top with Trevor Hoffman and Pedro Martinez behind him.
To put Mariano in some historical context, let’s look at his ERA+. ERA+ adjusts for the league, ballpark factors and allows you to compare pitchers across the span of baseball history. Mariano Rivera not only has the all time best career ERA+ at 197, but the next closest pitcher in the history of Baseball is Pedro Martinez, standing at 154. Hoffman trails him by over 50 points at 146. So not only is Mariano the most dominant in his own era, he is the most dominant across the span of history. To simply be on the top of this list would be impressive enough, but he’s on top by a wide margin. That’s almost unfathomable.
Savor the moments you watch this man pitch. He will be remembered as long as they play the game.
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