Saturday, January 29, 2011

Birthdays this past week - Saves

This week we'll look at Saves leaders for the week. Through most of baseball history, saves have not been highly regarded and you'll see that reflected below. In fact, saves did not become an official Major League baseball stat until 1969. This was due to the changing nature of the game. Today, of course, the closer is an important part of baseball.

January 23
1996 Score #202 Mark WohlersMark was born in 1970 in Holyoke MA. With 199 career saves, he leads all relievers born this week. He was the Braves 8th round pick in 1988. He pitched for 12 years but his best years were 1995-1997 with the Braves when he ad 97 of his saves. He also had 10 saves in the playoffs in those years. The Braves won the World Series in 1995. He also appeared in the All-Star game in 1996. In Game 4 of the 1996 World Series he gave up a 3-run homer which allowed the Yankees to tie the game and later to win the game and the series. Wohler's performance seemed to suffer after that. Although he saved 33 games in 1997, he was erratic. He only got 15 more saves in the next 5 years.

January 24
1992 Ultra #187 Rod DibbleNasty Boy was born in 1964 in Bridgeport CT. He was the Reds #1 draft pick in 1983 and came up to the big leagues in 1988. He played 6 of his 7 years with the Reds. His best years were between 1990 and 1993 when he got 85 of his 89 career saves. The Reds won the World Series in 1990, Dibble pitched in 4.2 innings and won a game. He was an All-Star in 1990 and 1991. Dibble was know during his career as a man with a temper. After his career as a player he has made a new name for himself as a cable TV baseball analyst. He was fired last September from MSNBC after making comments about Stephen Strasborg's elbow injury.

January 25
2000 Fleer Gamers #92 Derrick TurnbowDerrick was born in 1978 in Union City TN. He was the Phillies #5 draft pick in 1997, but his 7-year career was split between the Angels and Brewers. He was a reliever, only starting 1 game in his career. He got all but 2 of his 65 saves with the Brewers in 2005-2006. He was an All-Star in 2006. Before the 2006 season he signed a 3-year $6.5 million contract with the Brewers but suffered from wildness most of the season. He was never an effective pitcher again.

January 26
1933 Tattoo Orbit #6 George BlaeholderGeorge was born in 1904 in Orange CA. He spent most of his 11-year career with the St. Louis Browns. He was mainly a starter with a 104-125 career record. His 12 career saves were gathered in his early years. According to Wikipedia, Blaeholder is mostly know for popularizing the slider.

January 27
1992 Stadium Club #768 Rusty MeachamRusty was born in 1968 in Stuart FL. He played from 1991 to 2001 for a number of teams including 4 years with the Royals. He manages to lead all players born this day with 9 saves. He seems to have been mainly a middle reliever.

January 28
1911 Helmar Stamps #71 Tommy HughesSalida Tom was born in 1884 in Coal Creek CO. He was a graduate of Salida High School in Salida CO, which probably accounts for his nickname. He played 9 years for the Yankees and Boston Braves between 1906 and 1918. If we're reaching back a hundred years to find the saves leader for players born on January 28, we can be sure that this is not a big day for relievers. Tom had 17 saves in his career and a 56-39 record.

January 29
1963 Topps # 106 Bobby Bolan
Bobby was born in 1939 in Hickory Grove NY. He played for 13 years, from 1961 to 1973 with the Giants and the Red Sox. He seems to have been mostly a reliever at the beginning and end of his career but got a lot of starts in his middle years. In addition to 50 saves, he also compiled an 88-75 record. His best season as a reliever was his last year when he had 39 appearances with the Red Sox and got 15 saves.

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