New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera and National League all star Trevor Hoffman are being confirmed to have the yearly award for the best relief pitcher of each league renamed after the two bullpen greats leaving both retired legends honored and humbled. Major League Baseball has been no stranger to change as of late. With the expansion and usage of instant replay, it seems the sport is heading towards a direction of change and has their eyes now on its top reliever awards.
Major League Baseball has been actively seeking ways to honor legends of the sport. Recently, MLB added the Hank Aaron award for the top hitters of each league in honor of baseball great Hank Aaron. Two more greats will be honored with the renaming of the reliever of the year awards.
Mariano Rivera has had an amazing career in the American League. The Panama native has played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball and has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees, helping the team win five world series titles. With a cut fastball that is considered the best cutter in baseball, Mariano was able to dissect any batter that came accross from him. Because of Rivera’s pitching style and unique movements during the pitch, many bats were broken during the course of his career. In 2001, Rivera broke an impressive 44 bats during the season. Atlanta Braves baseman Ryan Klesko broke three bats from one plate appearance with Rivera during game 4 of the 1999 World Series.
Trevor Hoffman set the National League ablaze during his playing days. Although Hoffman began his career with the Florida Marlins and ended with the Milwaukee Brewers, the majority of his career was played with the San Diego Padres. In 2006, Trevor Hoffman surpassed Lee Smith’s all time saves record with an impressive 478. Hoffman is also a seven time all-star and a two time Relief Man of the Year award winner
Both Rivera and Hoffman have been able to earn a combined 1,253 saves in their career. With Mariano Rivera reaching a record 652 saves and 601 saves for Trevor Hoffman in their respective league, both relief legends are honored by the award being renamed after the two. With MLB introducing the Reliever of the Year award in 2005, originally known as The Delivery Man of the Year, the award was based off of overall performance. The Relief Man of Award was a former statistically based award in which Rivera actually won a unprecedented five times.
It is save to assume that Mariano Rivera will have the American League’s reliever of the year award named after him while Trevor Hoffman will have the honor of having his name on the National League’s reliever of the year award. Rivera ended his career with a 82-60 record and with a 2.21 ERA while Hoffman was 61-75 and had an ERA of 2.87. Major League Baseball are doing the right thing with renaming their relief pitcher awards for class acts like Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, two of the very best that deserve to be honored not just for their cut throat and win character they display on the mound, but also for their thoughtful and admiring character off of it.
Commentary by Hector Carrion