In baseball statistics, a relief pitcher is credited with a game finished (denoted by GF) if he is the last pitcher to pitch for his team in a game. A starting pitcher is not credited with a GF for pitching a complete game.
Mariano Riverais the all-time leader in games finished with 952. Rivera is the only pitcher in MLB history to finish more than 900 career games. Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith are the only other pitchers to finish more than 800 games in their careers.
|Rank||Rank amongst leaders in career games finished. A blank field indicates a tie.|
|Player (2021 GF)||Number of games finished during the 2021 Major League Baseball season|
|GF||Total career games finished|
|*||Denotes elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame. |
|Bold||Denotes active player. |
|Rank||Player (2021 GF)||GF|
|1||Mariano Rivera *||952|
|2||Trevor Hoffman *||856|
|3||Lee Smith *||802|
|5||Rollie Fingers *||709|
|8||Goose Gossage *||681|
|11||Hoyt Wilhelm *||651|
|21||Dennis Eckersley *||577|
|37||Craig Kimbrel (43)||520|
|Kenley Jansen (52)||519|
|41||Bruce Sutter *||512|
|48||Aroldis Chapman (46)||465|
|Rank||Player (2021 GF)||GF|
|57||Joakim Soria (20)||427|
|Mark Melancon (53)||406|
|86||J. J. Putz||357|
|88||Greg Holland (23)||353|
In baseball, a save is credited to a pitcher who finishes a game for the winning team under certain prescribed circumstances. Most commonly a pitcher earns a save by entering in the ninth inning of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and finishing the game by pitching one inning without losing the lead. The number of saves or percentage of save opportunities successfully converted are oft-cited statistics of relief pitchers, particularly those in the closer role. The save statistic was created by journalist Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official MLB statistic in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for pitchers before that date. Mariano Rivera is MLB's all-time leader in regular-season saves with 652, while Francisco Rodríguez earned the most saves in a single season with 62 in 2008.
Mariano Rivera is a Panamanian-American former professional baseball pitcher who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, from 1995 to 2013. Nicknamed "Mo" and "Sandman", he spent most of his career as a relief pitcher and served as the Yankees' closer for 17 seasons. A thirteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, he is MLB's career leader in saves (652) and games finished (952). Rivera won five American League (AL) Rolaids Relief Man Awards and three Delivery Man of the Year Awards, and he finished in the top three in voting for the AL Cy Young Award four times. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of its class of 2019 in his first year of eligibility, and was the first player ever to be elected unanimously by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).
In baseball and softball, a relief pitcher or reliever is a pitcher who enters the game after the starting pitcher is removed due to injury, ineffectiveness, fatigue, ejection, or for other strategic reasons, such as inclement weather delays or pinch hitter substitutions. Relief pitchers are further divided informally into various roles, such as closers, setup men, middle relief pitchers, left/right-handed specialists, and long relievers. Whereas starting pitchers usually rest several days before pitching in a game again due to the number of pitches thrown, relief pitchers are expected to be more flexible and typically pitch more games but with fewer innings pitched. A team's staff of relievers is normally referred to metonymically as a team's bullpen, which refers to the area where the relievers sit during games, and where they warm-up prior to entering the game.
John Anthony Franco is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a left-handed relief pitcher between 1984 and 2005. Franco established himself as an All-Star player with the Cincinnati Reds before spending the majority of his career with the New York Mets. He ended his 22-year career with one final season with the Houston Astros.
Howard Bruce Sutter is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1976 and 1988. He was one of the sport's dominant relievers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, making effective use of the split-finger fastball. A six-time All-Star and 1982 World Series champion, Sutter recorded a 2.83 career earned run average and 300 saves, the third-most in MLB history at the time of his retirement. Sutter won the National League's (NL) Cy Young Award in 1979 as its top pitcher, and won the NL Rolaids Relief Man Award four times. He became the only pitcher to lead the NL in saves five times.
Richard Michael "Goose" Gossage is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. During a 22-year baseball career (1972–1994), he pitched for nine different teams, spending his best years with the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres.
Lee Arthur Smith is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) for eight teams. Serving mostly as a relief pitcher during his career, he was a dominant closer and held the major league record for career saves from 1993 until 2006, when Trevor Hoffman passed his total of 478. Smith was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2019 by the Today's Game Era Committee.
Trevor William Hoffman is an American former professional baseball relief pitcher who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1993 to 2010. A long-time closer, he pitched for the Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, and Milwaukee Brewers, including more than 15 years for the Padres. Hoffman was the major leagues' first player to reach the 500- and 600-save milestones, and was the all-time saves leader from 2006 until 2011. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018. Hoffman currently serves as senior advisor for baseball operations for the Padres.
Joseph Michael Nathan is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs. Nathan started out his baseball career as a shortstop in high school and in college for Stony Brook, but converted to a pitcher after being drafted by the Giants. He worked his way through the minor leagues, alternating between spots in the rotation and the bullpen.
In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 300 save club is the group of pitchers who have recorded 300 or more regular-season saves in their careers. Most commonly a relief pitcher earns a save by being the final pitcher of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and pitching at least one inning without losing the lead. The final pitcher of a game can earn a save by getting at least one batter out to end the game with the winning run on base, at bat, or on deck, or by pitching the last three innings without relinquishing the lead, regardless of score. The statistic was created by Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official statistic by MLB in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for past pitchers where applicable. Hoyt Wilhelm retired in 1972 and recorded just 31 saves from 1969 onwards, for example, but holds 228 total career saves.
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In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer, is a relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading. The role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. Before the 1990s, pitchers in similar roles were referred to as a fireman, short reliever, and stopper. A small number of closers have won the Cy Young Award. Eight closers have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm.
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The "Core Four" are former New York Yankees baseball players Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. Each member of the Core Four was a key contributor to the Yankees' late-1990s and early 2000s dynasty that won four World Series championships in five years.