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“Hall’s of Relief”—Final Analysis (Really), Pt. III
2004-02-19 17:42
by Mike Carminati

Previous entries:

The 1870s, '80s, and '90s
The 1900s and '10s
The 1920s, '30s, and '40s
The 1950s
The 1960s
The 1970s
The 1980s
The 1990s and 2000s
2003 Notes: Part I & II
Final Analysis: I, II, III, and IV.


One result that I found interesting was a comparison of the Relief Win average for various reliever types over time. Here is a table per decade for each type:

TypeDecade#PR avgRwin AvgMin PRMax PRMin RWinMax RWin
A (Clint Brown)1870s70.470.08-8.594.61-1.460.78
B (Elroy Face)1870s2-2.63-0.51-3.30-1.97-0.64-0.38
C (Hoyt Wilhelm)1870s8-0.22-0.05-4.381.27-0.980.28
D (Bruce Sutter)1870s70.450.09-0.072.14-0.020.45
E (Robb Nen)1870s3-0.44-0.10-1.450.26-0.310.06
M(iddle Relief)1870s87-1.18-0.20-16.301.32-2.120.23

I find it interesting that the average reliever didn't prevent runs better than the average pitcher all-around until the Eighties. Also, middle relievers as a whole have never been better than average in this area.

The Relief Wins also show you when the various types took hold. A higher total indicates that the style was used more often and was successful. It also indicates that the better pitchers were assigned to the given role. The Nen type saw its Relief Wins climb in the Eighties and peak in the 2000s. The Sutter-type Relief Wins started to climb in the Seventies and then more than doubled in the Eighties before disappearing altogether. The Wilhelm type held sway in the Sixties but even though its numbers decreased it still captured high RWins until the specialization of the Nineties. The Face crew witnessed a lower peak but it did start in the Fifties. The Brown group actually didn't peak until the Eighties, I believe because of the resurgence of the long reliever in that era and because the talent assigned to the role when it was first used extensively was not the best on the staff but rather the tail-end staffers.

Now here are the top 10 (or so) for each archetype:

Clint Brown Type (Clint Brown was 219th with 1.43 Rwins)

1Hoyt Wilhelm13.93
2Greg Harris9.79
3Tug McGraw8.55
4Dick Hall8.49
5Bob Miller8.32
6Ed Roebuck8.32
7Bill Henry7.98
8Keith Foulke7.88
9Gary Lavelle7.86
10Clay Carroll7.45

Elroy Face Type (Face was 114th with 2.41):

1Hoyt Wilhelm15.99
2Ron Reed12.11
3Bob Stanley9.80
4John Hiller8.13
5Sparky Lyle7.88
6Clay Carroll7.42
7Bob Locker7.39
8Kent Tekulve7.27
9Gary Lavelle7.20
10Elias Sosa7.16

Hoyt Wilhelm Type:

1Rich Gossage21.90
2Hoyt Wilhelm16.94
3Dick Radatz16.54
4Jim Kern12.08
5Mike Marshall11.84
6Stu Miller11.24
7Doug Corbett10.25
8Aurelio Lopez10.14
9Bob Lee9.77
10Rollie Fingers9.66

Bruce Sutter Type:

1Dan Quisenberry26.95
2Bruce Sutter21.81
3Rich Gossage16.60
4Rollie Fingers11.70
5Lindy McDaniel9.88
6Ellis Kinder7.70
7Ron Perranoski7.66
8John Hiller7.28
9Lee Smith6.93
10Ted Abernathy5.57

Robb Nen Type:

1Mariano Rivera27.77
2John Wetteland26.13
3John Franco25.06
4Tom Henke24.12
5Robb Nen23.79
6Roberto Hernandez23.48
7Trevor Hoffman22.11
8Billy Wagner20.05
9Jeff Montgomery18.18
10Dennis Eckersley18.03
11Lee Smith17.66
12Troy Percival16.80
13Gregg Olson16.24
14Doug Jones16.11
15Armando Benitez15.64
16Randy Myers14.85
17Rick Aguilera14.66
18Ugueth Urbina14.15
19Keith Foulke13.49
20Jeff Shaw12.05
21Jeff Russell11.30
22Rod Beck11.11
23Todd Worrell10.85
24Dave Righetti10.74
25Bryan Harvey10.07

Middle Relievers:

1Paul Quantrill24.95
2Steve Reed21.96
3Jeff Nelson20.25
4Mark Eichhorn15.49
5Paul Shuey13.84
6Arthur Rhodes12.99
7Eric Plunk12.70
8Octavio Dotel12.31
9Jim Corsi11.94
10Mike Remlinger10.88
11Felix Rodriguez10.32

Now here are the top relievers ranked by Relief Wins per year:

RkNameRWin# YrsRWin Per Yr
1Oscar Villarreal4.2414.24
2Mariano Rivera34.6093.84
3Brendan Donnelly7.6723.83
4Keith Foulke22.0573.15
5Luis Ayala3.0213.02
6Jeff Zimmerman8.5032.83
7Derek Lowe13.5052.70
8Dan Quisenberry29.69122.47
9Mark Eichhorn24.22102.42
10Troy Percival21.6792.41
11John Smoltz7.2132.40
12Eric Gagne9.5942.40
13Octavio Dotel11.9352.39
14Billy Wagner21.0992.34
15Hoyt Wilhelm46.68212.22
16Jose Valverde2.2012.20
17Robb Nen21.95102.19
18La Troy Hawkins10.9452.19
19John Wetteland26.18122.18
20Trevor Hoffman23.11112.10
21Paul Quantrill24.95122.08
22Rafael Betancourt2.0512.05
23Roberto Hernandez26.22132.02
24Shigetoshi Hasegawa14.0872.01
25Tom Henke28.07142.01
26Jason Isringhausen9.9952.00

Here are the Worst based on per-year RWins:

RkNameRWin# YrsRWin Per Yr
1Connie Grob-5.231-5.23
2Stu Flythe-3.961-3.96
3Jim Brady-3.761-3.76
4Roberto Vargas-3.231-3.23
5Herm Holshouser-3.211-3.21
6Duke Simpson-3.151-3.15
7Bill Kerksieck-3.061-3.06
8Rube Dessau-2.891-2.89
9Bobby Coombs-5.622-2.81
10Ernie Beam-2.711-2.71
11Jeff Farnsworth-2.711-2.71
12George Tsamis-2.701-2.70
13Jaret Wright-5.272-2.63
14Ed Lagger-2.621-2.62
15Scott Forster-2.601-2.60
16Dutch Romberger-2.581-2.58
17Matt Skrmetta-2.521-2.52
18Rusty Gerhardt-2.471-2.47
19Ray Daviault-2.471-2.47
20Brent Billingsley-2.421-2.42
21Matt White-2.381-2.38
22Dick Welteroth-7.103-2.37
23Mike Dupree-2.351-2.35
24Doug Simons-4.692-2.35
25Ernie Alten-2.341-2.34
26Ralph Botting-2.311-2.31
27Jeff Cornell-2.291-2.29
28Dutch Schesler-2.241-2.24
29Augie Walsh-2.231-2.23

Note that most are one-year tryouts. The worst with at least 5 years was Dan McGinn: -5.92 Total RWin over five years for a -1.18 yearly average. The worst 10-year vet is the great Pat Mahomes: -7.15 RWin over 10 years or -0.715 per year.

Next, here are the top relievers broken down by handedness. First, lefties:

1John Franco32.74
2Sparky Lyle24.30
3Jesse Orosco22.97
4John Hiller21.56
5Billy Wagner21.09
6Tug McGraw19.05
7Ron Perranoski17.64
8Gary Lavelle16.58
9Tom Burgmeier16.47
10Dan Plesac15.14
11Randy Myers14.82
12Willie Hernandez14.76
13Arthur Rhodes12.99
14Mike Remlinger12.48
15Mike Stanton12.21
16Terry Forster11.69
17Steve Howe11.66
18Jim Brewer11.41
19Paul Assenmacher11.40
20Al Hrabosky10.48
21Darold Knowles10.02

Now righties:

1Hoyt Wilhelm46.68
2Rich Gossage38.77
3Mariano Rivera34.60
4Dan Quisenberry29.69
5Tom Henke28.07
6Kent Tekulve27.81
7Lee Smith27.35
8Roberto Hernandez26.22
9John Wetteland26.18
10Doug Jones25.60
11Paul Quantrill24.95
12Mark Eichhorn24.22
13Rollie Fingers23.72
14Trevor Hoffman23.11
15Bruce Sutter22.68
16Mike Jackson22.66
17Jeff Montgomery22.61
18Keith Foulke22.05
19Steve Reed21.96
20Robb Nen21.95
21Troy Percival21.67
22Dennis Eckersley21.17
23Jeff Nelson20.97
24Mike Marshall19.62
25Bob Stanley18.81
26Armando Benitez18.34
27Gene Garber18.18
28Bob Wickman17.94
29Rick Aguilera17.79
30Jeff Reardon17.40
31Mike Timlin17.13
32Clay Carroll16.75
33Ellis Kinder16.48
34Jeff Shaw16.40
35Mike Henneman16.38
36Eric Plunk16.25
37Rod Beck16.14
38Don McMahon15.94
39Dave Veres15.22
40Stu Miller15.21
41Dave Smith15.20
42Jeff Russell15.16
43Tim Burke15.13
44Greg Minton15.07

Finally, here are the top performers by decade:

1870sCherokee Fisher1.17
1870sAl Spalding0.80
1870sEd Pinkham0.26
1870sJohn Ward0.24
1870sCharlie Gould0.21
1870sJohn Hatfield0.13
1870sJoe Blong0.13
1870sDeacon White0.11
1870sDickie Flowers0.10
1870sBobby Mathews0.10
1880sBill Sowders1.73
1880sTony Mullane0.93
1880sCharley Radbourn0.93
1880sCharlie Ferguson0.71
1880sMyron Allen0.55
1880sGeorge Bradley0.54
1880sBob Caruthers0.53
1880sJack Stivetts0.51
1880sJohn Ward0.43
1880sHenry Boyle0.40
1890sKid Nichols5.20
1890sCy Young4.07
1890sNig Cuppy2.33
1890sAmos Rusie1.96
1890sJack Stivetts1.45
1890sWin Mercer1.43
1890sPink Hawley1.28
1890sFrank Dwyer1.05
1890sTed Breitenstein0.99
1890sTed Lewis0.97
1900sMordecai Brown4.43
1900sRube Waddell3.07
1900sEd Walsh2.43
1900sChristy Mathewson2.15
1900sCy Young2.06
1900sEd Reulbach1.84
1900sLew Richie1.61
1900sJoe McGinnity1.59
1900sAddie Joss1.54
1900sOrval Overall1.32
1910sWalter Johnson8.02
1910sEd Walsh4.60
1910sEddie Cicotte3.64
1910sJoe Wood3.45
1910sPete Alexander3.12
1910sClaude Hendrix2.79
1910sMordecai Brown2.65
1910sSlim Sallee2.59
1910sEddie Plank2.55
1910sDutch Leonard2.38
1920sEddie Rommel8.17
1920sFirpo Marberry6.74
1920sGarland Braxton5.61
1920sWilcy Moore3.37
1920sUrban Shocker3.29
1920sJack Quinn3.27
1920sLefty Grove3.03
1920sHerb Pennock2.33
1920sGuy Bush2.18
1920sHal Haid2.14
1930sLefty Grove6.75
1930sCarl Hubbell5.27
1930sClint Brown4.57
1930sIvy Andrews4.53
1930sDizzy Dean4.15
1930sMel Harder4.10
1930sBump Hadley3.63
1930sWaite Hoyt3.17
1930sJack Wilson3.10
1930sHi Bell2.96
1940sJoe Page8.10
1940sJohnny Murphy6.88
1940sJoe Berry5.95
1940sJoe Beggs5.68
1940sJoe Heving5.08
1940sGordon Maltzberger4.78
1940sTom Ferrick4.67
1940sTed Wilks4.52
1940sMace Brown4.24
1940sAl Benton4.18
1950sEllis Kinder15.33
1950sHoyt Wilhelm13.40
1950sMarv Grissom10.34
1950sHarry Dorish6.51
1950sJim Konstanty6.43
1950sClem Labine6.29
1950sGerry Staley6.13
1950sRyne Duren5.67
1950sRay Narleski5.54
1950sBill Henry5.19
1960sHoyt Wilhelm32.17
1960sRon Perranoski18.26
1960sStu Miller13.90
1960sDick Radatz11.71
1960sFrank Linzy10.75
1960sTed Abernathy10.01
1960sDon McMahon9.59
1960sLindy McDaniel9.21
1960sAl McBean9.04
1960sDick Hall8.12
1970sSparky Lyle23.23
1970sJohn Hiller20.91
1970sMike Marshall18.82
1970sRich Gossage18.09
1970sRollie Fingers15.21
1970sClay Carroll14.80
1970sJim Kern14.50
1970sBruce Sutter14.32
1970sKent Tekulve13.12
1970sBill Campbell11.30
1970sTug McGraw11.30
1980sDan Quisenberry30.47
1980sRich Gossage19.06
1980sLee Smith17.69
1980sJesse Orosco16.51
1980sDave Righetti15.38
1980sJohn Franco15.12
1980sBob Stanley14.85
1980sKent Tekulve14.68
1980sTom Henke14.05
1980sJeff Reardon13.78
1980sDave Smith13.78
1990sJohn Wetteland25.14
1990sRoberto Hernandez21.52
1990sMariano Rivera20.01
1990sRick Aguilera18.23
1990sTrevor Hoffman17.68
1990sJeff Montgomery17.58
1990sMike Jackson16.29
1990sJeff Shaw15.54
1990sDoug Jones15.06
1990sEric Plunk14.91
2000sKeith Foulke15.90
2000sMariano Rivera14.60
2000sOctavio Dotel12.06
2000sDave Weathers11.09
2000sLa Troy Hawkins10.99
2000sPaul Quantrill10.94
2000sBilly Wagner10.16
2000sShigetoshi Hasegawa9.85
2000sRobb Nen9.78
2000sByung-Hyun Kim9.75

Hall Pass

I now feel comfortable in comparing relievers based on our new measure, Relief Wins. But how do they compare against starters in general and Hall of Fame pitchers specifically? How many relievers deserve to be in the Hall? Do any?

To determine this, I used James' conversion for prevented runs to wins above average for starting pitchers. Here is a list of all of the Hall of Fame pitchers with the Starting and Relief Wins above average (including Monty Ward but not Babe Ruth). Also, listed are the average for all HoF pitchers, the standard deviation from the average, and the range that these two values prescribe:

NameSWinRWinTot Win
Cy Young89.986.1396.12
Walter Johnson72.769.4382.19
Lefty Grove69.099.8078.89
Kid Nichols69.695.0674.75
Pete Alexander57.284.3361.61
Hoyt Wilhelm7.0446.6853.72
John Clarkson51.780.7252.50
Tom Seaver48.540.3348.88
Christy Mathewson44.883.9648.83
Amos Rusie45.331.0946.41
Carl Hubbell39.705.6845.38
Tim Keefe44.310.0144.31
Warren Spahn41.371.0042.37
Whitey Ford37.512.2439.74
Bob Gibson39.17-0.2738.89
Jim Palmer38.47-0.1438.33
Bob Feller35.862.1938.05
Mordecai Brown29.577.0836.65
Hal Newhouser32.284.1436.42
Ed Walsh29.237.0236.25
Ted Lyons35.660.4936.15
Gaylord Perry36.48-0.6535.84
Phil Niekro31.922.3334.25
Red Faber29.134.5933.72
Charley Radbourn32.151.0733.22
Dennis Eckersley11.9421.1733.11
Eddie Plank28.853.1131.96
Dazzy Vance31.380.4831.86
Stan Coveleski30.191.4431.63
Steve Carlton32.46-1.0231.44
Lefty Gomez28.520.9029.43
Rube Waddell26.562.8129.37
Eppa Rixey27.371.9629.34
Juan Marichal29.100.1929.29
Robin Roberts28.610.4829.10
Don Drysdale27.231.4228.65
Sandy Koufax27.890.6028.49
Fergie Jenkins26.890.9027.79
Nolan Ryan26.680.0626.74
Addie Joss23.381.5624.94
Dizzy Dean20.754.1024.85
Joe McGinnity22.552.1824.73
Bob Lemon22.921.7524.67
Vic Willis22.711.4024.12
Rollie Fingers0.2823.7224.00
Jim Bunning22.480.2022.67
Mickey Welch22.64-0.0822.56
Waite Hoyt17.324.9622.28
Red Ruffing22.23-0.6021.64
Don Sutton18.120.0418.16
Pud Galvin17.02-0.0516.97
Early Wynn13.201.2814.48
John Ward12.670.6713.34
Burleigh Grimes13.46-0.1813.28
Jesse Haines10.702.2712.97
Chief Bender10.911.7912.70
Jack Chesbro10.35-0.2610.09
Herb Pennock10.70-1.559.15
Catfish Hunter6.70-0.416.29
Rube Marquard4.11-1.122.98
Std dev17.94

Therefore, a reliever with 33.31 RWins is "better" than the Hall average pitcher. And pitchers within 15.37 and 51.25 are in theory within the Hall range.

Here are a few other Hall of Famers who went in as position players:

NameSWinRWinTot Win
Babe Ruth8.050.158.21
Bobby Wallace4.550.525.07
Jesse Burkett-2.70-0.99-3.70
George Sisler0.520.511.03
Jimmie Foxx0.330.691.02
Sam Rice0.140.060.20
Roger Bresnahan0.080.150.23
Tommy McCarthy-1.30-0.39-1.69
Buck Ewing0.23-0.220.01
Dan Brouthers-0.64-1.48-2.12

And here are some pitchers who are not in the Hall of Fame (Spalding and Griffith are in as executives):

NameSWinRWinTot Win
Roger Clemens69.74-0.0169.73
Greg Maddux63.03-0.1562.88
Randy Johnson52.650.2752.93
Pedro Martinez49.613.0852.70
Kevin Brown40.48-0.1040.38
Bert Blyleven36.650.0736.72
Al Spalding33.100.8033.89
Tommy Bridges32.571.0133.59
Tony Mullane30.751.3332.08
Curt Schilling30.511.2231.73
Clark Griffith29.860.7230.58
Dutch Leonard23.226.6229.83
Bret Saberhagen28.110.4828.60
Silver King27.980.3628.33
Urban Shocker24.123.8727.99
Nig Cuppy25.192.5327.73
Billy Pierce26.171.4927.66
Eddie Rommel18.858.4127.26
Dave Stieb27.39-0.2027.19
Dizzy Trout24.242.7026.93
Jack Stivetts24.911.9626.87
David Cone26.81-0.3726.44
Jimmy Key26.19-0.3425.85
Jack Quinn20.245.4325.67
Kevin Appier25.340.2425.59
Dolf Luque23.082.2825.35
Harry Brecheen21.953.1925.14
Jim McCormick24.340.2624.61
Eddie Cicotte20.423.8824.30
Chuck Finley23.870.3424.20
Bob Caruthers24.47-0.4724.00
Carl Mays22.221.2123.43
Lon Warneke21.561.3422.91
Wes Ferrell20.901.1022.00
Mel Harder20.631.2121.84
Will White21.680.1121.79
Tommy John21.470.2321.70
Larry French17.753.8421.59
Sadie McMahon20.650.5221.17
Bucky Walters20.180.6020.78
Noodles Hahn20.180.5520.73
Wilbur Cooper19.920.7520.67
Thornton Lee20.110.5120.62
Sam Leever18.362.0620.42
Ron Guidry20.39-0.0320.37
Rick Reuschel20.250.0920.35
Virgil Trucks17.153.0520.20
Luis Tiant18.481.4619.93
Frank Dwyer18.841.0919.93
Sal Maglie16.892.9619.85

Now, here are the Relief and Starter Wins for our relievers (minimum of 5 Relief Wins and 10 total wins above average):

NameRWinSWinTot Win
Cy Young6.1389.9896.12
Walter Johnson9.4372.7682.19
Lefty Grove9.8069.0978.89
Kid Nichols5.0669.6974.75
Hoyt Wilhelm46.687.0453.72
Carl Hubbell5.6839.7045.38
Mordecai Brown7.0829.5736.65
Rich Gossage38.77-2.4636.31
Ed Walsh7.0229.2336.25
Mariano Rivera34.60-0.7233.88
Dennis Eckersley21.1711.9433.11
John Franco32.7432.74
John Smoltz7.2122.6329.84
Dutch Leonard6.6223.2229.83
Dan Quisenberry29.6929.69
Tom Henke28.0728.07
Kent Tekulve27.8127.81
Lee Smith27.350.4227.77
Eddie Rommel8.4118.8527.26
Jack Quinn5.4320.2425.67
Roberto Hernandez26.22-0.5525.67
John Wetteland26.18-0.7425.44
Doug Jones25.60-0.4525.16
Paul Quantrill24.95-0.2824.67
Sparky Lyle24.3024.30
Rollie Fingers23.720.2824.00
Mark Eichhorn24.22-0.4423.78
John Hiller21.562.1123.67
Trevor Hoffman23.1123.11
Jesse Orosco22.97-0.0122.96
Mike Jackson22.660.0222.69
Bruce Sutter22.6822.68
Jeff Montgomery22.61-0.1522.46
Ellis Kinder16.485.9522.44
Steve Reed21.9621.96
Troy Percival21.6721.67
Bob Stanley18.812.6021.41
Robb Nen21.95-0.8421.11
Billy Wagner21.0921.09
Jeff Nelson20.9720.97
Firpo Marberry8.7411.5320.27
Keith Foulke22.05-2.3219.73
Bobby Shantz9.169.9319.09
Derek Lowe13.505.0418.55
Mike Marshall19.62-1.1318.48
Armando Benitez18.3418.34
Gene Garber18.18-0.2117.98
Ron Perranoski17.640.1517.79
Stu Miller15.212.5017.72
Mike Timlin17.130.4417.57
Rick Aguilera17.79-0.3117.48
Jeff Reardon17.4017.40
Tug McGraw19.05-1.6517.39
Bob Wickman17.94-0.7017.24
Clay Carroll16.75-0.1416.61
Gary Lavelle16.58-0.1116.47
Mike Henneman16.3816.38
Tom Burgmeier16.47-0.2316.24
Rod Beck16.1416.14
Wilbur Wood6.919.2016.10
Don McMahon15.94-0.1615.78
Steve Farr14.880.8415.73
Tim Burke15.130.1215.26
Dan Plesac15.140.0915.24
Dave Veres15.2215.22
Dave Smith15.20-0.0415.16
Randy Myers14.820.2415.06
Lindy McDaniel14.400.2914.70
Shigetoshi Hasegawa14.080.4614.54
Willie Hernandez14.76-0.2314.53
Jeff Shaw16.40-1.8814.52
Ugueth Urbina14.250.2314.48
Greg Minton15.07-0.8914.18
Al Brazle5.708.4314.14
Bryan Harvey13.9113.91
Larry Andersen13.85-0.1513.69
Greg Harris14.20-0.9013.30
Eric Plunk16.25-2.9713.27
Tom Gordon8.364.4512.81
Paul Shuey12.7612.76
Jeff Russell15.16-2.4712.69
Dave Righetti8.653.7112.36
Johnny Murphy9.123.1012.23
Mike Stanton12.210.0112.22
Ron Reed11.031.1212.15
Hank Aguirre7.294.6811.97
Steve Bedrosian11.050.9211.96
Jim Corsi11.940.0011.93
Gregg Olson11.8211.82
Dick Radatz11.7111.71
Steve Howe11.6611.66
Mike Fetters11.95-0.3211.62
Todd Worrell11.6111.61
Jay Howell14.47-2.9011.56
Frank Linzy11.69-0.1411.55
Greg McMichael11.5211.52
Paul Assenmacher11.400.1011.51
Terry Forster11.69-0.2211.47
Don Mossi5.006.2811.29
Gerry Staley9.112.0711.19
Octavio Dotel11.93-0.9311.01
Roy Face12.35-1.4110.93
Bob Locker10.9110.91
Byung-Hyun Kim9.631.1710.80
Mike Remlinger12.48-1.8310.64
Danny Darwin6.574.0710.64
Greg Swindell8.222.3310.56
Bill Henry9.461.0110.47
Roger McDowell10.310.1410.46
Al Hrabosky10.48-0.0410.44
Jim Brewer11.41-1.0710.34
Doug Corbett10.110.1810.29
Danny Graves12.13-1.8710.27
Alan Levine9.340.8410.18
Jim Kern10.29-0.1210.17
Duane Ward10.45-0.3010.15

So using our Hall of Fame average of 33.31, two pitchers not in the Hall would qualify. There are Goose Gossage and Mariano Rivera. I hope these results help solidify Gossage's standing as a solid Hall of Fame candidate. Rivera is still one year shy of qualifying for the Hall and, as with any active player at his peak, may suffer a decline that will negatively impact his Relief Win totals. However, he looks like he'll be a solid pick upon retirement.

There are 50 others that meet our Hall "range" (15.37 to 51.25 RWins). Of those I expect no more than a handful to get serious support (Sutter and Lee Smith and perhaps Franco and Smoltz). However, it is gratifying to see luminaries from relief pitching history "qualifying": Dan Quisenberry, John Hiller, Eddie Rommel, Ellis Kinder, Firpo Marberry, Mike Marshall, Ron Perranoski, and Stu Miller

I'd like to look at one more aspect of this Hall of Fame argument. Given that Relief pitching perhaps more than any other role is dependent upon trailblazers, men who establish the manner in which the reliever is used and whom others then lemming-like follow, then establishing who those pathfinders have been may be illuminating. Of course, this is highly subjective, but given that I have looked at relief pitching in every era throughout major-league history, I feel that I can provide a list of the more salient suspects. I'll split the list between the pitchers themselves and the men behind the scenes (mostly managers and Jerome Holtzman, inventor of the save stat) who made a difference:

First, here are the pitchers that have been the most influential:

1. Bruce Sutter
2. Dennis Eckersley
3. Joe Page
4. Doc Crandall
5. Firpo Marberry
6. Iron Joe McGinnity
7. John Hiller
8. Kid Nichols
9. Hoyt Wilhelm
10. Roscoe "Rubberlegs" Miller

Now the non-players:

1. John McGraw
2. Harry Wright
3. Herman Franks
4. Tony LaRussa
5. Bucky Harris
6. Walter Alston
7. Clark Griffith
8. Connie Mack
9. Leo Durocher
10. Jerome Holtzman

I think that the trailblazer argument could be used to help Sutter's and maybe even Firpo Marberry's Hall of Fame case. If the history of relief pitcher were reduced to one man, it would be Sutter. Is that reason enough to put him in the Hall? Probably not, but couple that with his very good career, and he has a good case.

To be completed...

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