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When did the all-time Saves leaders get their first RBI?

Posted by Andy on June 30, 2009

I thought it would be fun to see when each of the top 10 pitchers in career saves got their first RBI as batters. Mariano Rivera got his in the same game as his 500th career save.

Here are the saves leaders through Monday morning:

  Cnt Player             **SV** From  To   Ages   G   GS  CG SHO  GF  W   L   W-L%   IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO    ERA  ERA+  HR   BF  IBB HBP  BK  WP Teams
+----+-----------------+-------+----+----+-----+----+---+---+---+---+---+---+-----+------+----+----+----+----+----+------+----+---+-----+---+---+---+---+-----------+
    1 Trevor Hoffman      571   1993 2009 25-41  953   0   0   0 794  57  67  .460 1010.2  779  341  310  279 1074   2.76  146  90  4062  54   8   0  47 TOT-SDP-MIL
    2 Mariano Rivera      500   1995 2009 25-39  881  10   0   0 740  69  51  .575 1054.1  828  292  270  247  973   2.30  197  58  4218  31  37   3  11 NYY
    3 Lee Smith           478   1980 1997 22-39 1022   6   0   0 802  71  92  .436 1289.1 1133  475  434  486 1251   3.03  131  89  5387 100  10   4  47 CHC-BOS-TOT-STL-BAL-CAL-TOT-MON
    4 John Franco         424   1984 2005 23-44 1119   0   0   0 774  90  87  .508 1245.2 1166  466  400  495  975   2.89  137  81  5312  78  22   9  54 CIN-NYM-HOU
    5 Dennis Eckersley    390   1975 1998 20-43 1071 361 100  20 577 197 171  .535 3285.2 3076 1382 1278  738 2401   3.50  116 347 13534  91  75  16  28 CLE-BOS-TOT-CHC-OAK-STL
    6 Billy Wagner        385   1995 2008 23-36  765   0   0   0 637  39  37  .513  818    555  243  218  270 1066   2.40  180  76  3269  23  29   1  40 HOU-PHI-NYM
    7 Jeff Reardon        367   1979 1994 23-38  880   0   0   0 695  73  77  .487 1132.1 1000  426  397  358  877   3.16  121 109  4720  65  27   4  20 NYM-TOT-MON-MIN-BOS-CIN-NYY
    8 Troy Percival       358   1995 2009 25-39  703   1   0   0 546  35  43  .449  708.2  479  271  250  306  781   3.17  146  85  2915  25  27   2  32 CAL-ANA-DET-STL-TBR
    9 Randy Myers         347   1985 1998 22-35  728  12   1   0 548  44  63  .411  884.2  758  338  314  396  884   3.19  122  69  3744  43  12   2  32 NYM-CIN-SDP-CHC-BAL-TOT
   10 Rollie Fingers      341   1968 1985 21-38  944  37   4   2 709 114 118  .491 1701.1 1474  615  549  492 1299   2.90  119 123  6942 109  39   7  40 OAK-SDP-MIL

Trevor Hoffman's first RBI came in this game in 1995, and is typical of what I'd expect to see for closers. He came in during extra innings and stayed in the game to bat after throwing 19 pitches in the bottom of the 9th. In the top of the 10th, Hoffman his a 2-run double as part of a 9-run rally.  Hoffman pitched the bottom of the 10th, allowing a solor homer to Charlie Hayes but earning the win.

Mariano Rivera got his first RBI on Sunday night, drawing a bases-loaded walk off Francisco Rodriguez. This is particularly surprising given that Mark Teixeira was batting after Rivera. You'd think K-Rod would have gone after Mariano.

Lee Smith's first RBI came in this 1982 game where he was the starting pitcher. He hit a solo homer off Phil Niekro in the top of the 2nd.

John Franco's only career RBI came in 1985, in a very similar situation to that of Trevor Hoffman. He pitched the bottom of the 10th, hit a bases-loaded single to score 1 run as part of a 7-run rally in the top of the 11th, then retired the Braves in the bottom of the inning. 1 win and 1 RBI.

Dennis Eckersley's first RBI came in 1984 when he joined the National League. He hit a run-scoring single as the starting pitcher. Later in 1986, he had 10 RBI in one season!

Billy Wagner's only career RBI to date came in 2003, again in similar fashion to Hoffman and Franco. He finished off the 8th, was part of a 4-run rally in the 9th (getting his RBI on a bases-loaded walk like Rivera) and finished up the 9th. The only difference here was that the Astros were already leading when Wagner came in so he earned a save, not a win.

Jeff Reardon's first RBI came in the same circumstance as Wagner's in this 1982 game. He came in to pitch the 8th inning with the Expos already leading, hit an RBI double during a 2-run 9th inning, then pitched the 9th. As the Expos were already ahead 9-3 when Reardon came in, he didn't get a save or a win.

Troy Percival has never had an RBI!  He's had only 5 career plate appearances, 4 of them coming during his lone year in the NL and all of them resulting in strikeouts. He did have a runner on first 3 times.

Randy Myers spelled David Cone with one out in the 8th inning of this 1988 game and then batted in the 9th, doubling in a run. He then retired the side in the 9th for a save.

Rollie Fingers pitched much earlier than rest of these guys and  consequently had a fair number of plate appearances even when pitching as a reliever (since, back in those days, even closers often pitched 2 or 3 innings routinely.) But it was a the starting pitcher in this 1970 game that Fingers got his first RBI, coming on a solo homer in the 9th off John Gelnar that padded the score to 4-1. Fingers notched the complete-game victory.

Well that was a fun little exercise. Totally meaningless, but fun!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 7:44 am and is filed under Game Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “When did the all-time Saves leaders get their first RBI?”

  1. "Mariano Rivera got his first RBI on Sunday night, drawing a bases-loaded walk off Francisco Rodriguez. This is particularly surprising given that Mark Teixeira was batting after Rivera. You’d think K-Rod would have gone after Mariano."

    I'm sure he was! All pitchers lose the strike zone on occasion.

  2. kicking222 Says:

    Love that tenth inning in the Hoffman game- nine runs on six hits and no errors, and Hoffman gets the only XBH.

  3. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I remember that Hoffman game all too well, although I didn't remember his specific role in it. I saw it on T.V. The Padres had the bases loaded with two out in the top of the ninth against Heathcliff Slocumb at the Vet. The Phillies led by one. The count was 3-2 on Jeff Reed. The next pitch looked like strike three to everyone watching with one exception. Of course, that was the home plate umpire. So, the bases-loaded walk tied the score, giving Slocumb a blown save, of course. The next batter, a pinch hitter for the previous pitcher, made the third out. The Phillies didn't score in the bottom of the ninth, opening the floodgates for the Padres' nine-run 10th.