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Worst, Save, Ever?

Posted by Steve Lombardi on July 31, 2009

I was just playing around with's Play Index Pitching Game Finder and I came across this game:

June 6, 1973

Look at that line for Dave Goltz.  Gotta be the worst "save" ever credited in baseball history, right?  If not, for sure, it's in the team picture...

This entry was posted on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 8:23 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.

18 Responses to “Worst, Save, Ever?”

  1. I wonder how many of the 2,033 in attendance stayed to see the very end.

  2. LOL. That attendance total caught my eye too.

  3. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    A reliever is supposed to pitch "effectively" to be awarded a save when pitching at least 3 innings with a big lead. However, the save rules were adjusted a couple times in the early '70s, so it's possible "effective" was not part of the guidelines at that time. Anyone know?

  4. A reliever is not required to pitch effectively to get a save. A reliever does have to pitch effectively to get a win when the starter doesn't last long enough, unless all of the relievers are ineffective.

  5. . . . or if he pitches long enough, effective or not.

  6. leatherman Says:

    From my post on July 10th (post #12 on the June 22nd SUGGESTIONS page):

    194 times a pitcher has allowed 3 or more runs and earned a save: shareit link ends in f7sn.

    6/6/73 - 8 runs allowed in a save. Dave Goltz allows 2 runs in the 7th, 2 in the 8th, and 4 in the 9th, earning him a 3 inning save in a 13-9 game.

    9/4/71 - Phil Hennigan allows 6 runs in earning a save.

    8 run saves: 1
    6 run saves: 1
    5 run saves: 5
    4 run saves: 23
    3 run saves: 164

    As expected, most of these were the 3 inning save variety. Only 73 of the 194 were shorter than 3 innings.

  7. There should be a rule that if your team has to score more runs to secure the win (to overcome the runs you allow), then you don't get a save.

    If the Indians had scored one less run, even under that rule Goltz would have been credited with a save, but it would be an improvement.

  8. is a save that bad if nobody is there to witness it?

  9. Cleveland Stadium was one the the largest parks in MLB history, too. 78,000 seats. The MLB record attendance of 84,587 showed up for a doubleheader in 1954.

    2,033 in that park must have felt extra empty.

  10. Michael Poplawski Says:

    The record for most empty seats at an MLB game must be at Cleveland Stadium, and I have little doubt that there weren't even close to 2,033 people in the park to witness Goltz's amazing relief performance. It was the second game of a doubleheader, the first game going 15 innings and 4:14, second game going over 3 hours.

    I'll give Goltz some credit--at least he threw strikes. That's knowing how to pitch with a lead!

  11. Goes to show how worthless a statistic the "save" is, even today. The win is pretty bad too.

  12. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Andrew, the rule was you had to pitch effectively for at least 3 innings. The B-R bullpen states that "effectively" has now been removed from the rule, but does not say when that occurred. still shows the rule the way I remember it. And according to the Bullpen, effective pitching was required in 1973, and therefore a save should not have been awarded.

  13. Oddly enough Goltz didn't have that bad of a career in the end. He even won 20 games in 1977.

  14. The current save rule definitely does not require effective pitching for a three-inning save--but I looked up the 1973 rule, and effectiveness was required at that time.

  15. Yikes. Goltz shouldn't get a save for allowing 8 runs to the likes of Jack Brohamer, Charlie Spikes, and the immortal Rusty Torres.

    Wow, I noticed Chambliss' BA too. As of June 30, he was hitting .197. He hit .325 the rest of the way.

  16. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Does anyone know when the "effective" requirement was removed from the save rule? I think it was quite recently but I could not find it. As I said, MLB's own site still lists the old rule, which is pretty lame.

  17. When I look up the rule on (, the word "effectively" isn't there. Is it somewhere else on the website, too?

  18. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    They still have the old rule here:
    It's not the official rulebook but it is a page that came up when I was searching on this a couple days ago.