30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, May 25, 2015

What a Relief!

Lately... I've been needing a Costco supply of Rolaids, because watching the Oakland Athletics bullpen is like watching Faces of Death as a ten year old kid all over again.  It's painful to watch and leaves me feeling sick... but I just can't turn away.

But who really wants to read a post about me complaining about guys like R.J. Alvarez, Dan Otero, or Fernando Abad.  I mean... it's a holiday weekend.  Let's celebrate with some positivity and avoid any discussion involving the 2015 Oakland Athletics or San Diego Padres.

Instead... let's focus on some of my favorite all-time relief pitchers who don't add stress to my life on a daily basis.

At the top of the list has to be Rollie Fingers:

2007 Sweet Spot Classic Memorabilia #CM-RF

Growing up... Rollie was one of my favorite players... not only because he was an Athletic and a Padre... but because he's my old buddy's uncle.  Plus... he had the coolest mustache in baseball.

Right under him is another hall of fame reliever... Dennis Eckersley:

2004 Topps Retired Signature Edition Auto #TA-DEC

Outside of that painful pitch to Kirk Gibson... there weren't many times that Eck let down A's fans.  He's their all-time saves leader and was a key reason for the A's success in the late 80's/early 90's.

Down in San Diego there's another reliever who's made a name for himself...

1996 Leaf Signature Series #NNO

Trevor Hoffman is the only MLB pitcher, not named Mariano Rivera, with 600 career saves.  He earned 552 of them during his 16 seasons with my beloved San Diego Padres.

I'll wrap things up with a handful of other guys I enjoyed watching close out games over the years...

What about you?

Who are some of your favorite relief pitchers?

As I prepare to enjoy this holiday and hopefully watch both of my teams turn things around... I'd like to take the time to thank all of those who have served in the armed forces.

Today we honor all of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

One of those heroes is former Arizona Cardinal safety, Pat Tillman:

2001 Fleer Tradition Glossy #325
2001 MVP #7

Tillman went to high school a few miles from where I grew up and obviously the story behind his misfortunate death was both saddening and upsetting.  Fast forward eleven years to last weekend when I went to watch a soccer game over at Leland High School.  It was nice to see that they named their football stadium after the man who chose to serve and protect his country, rather than earn millions of dollars playing the sport that he loved.  Now that's what I call a real American hero.

Have a safe holiday weekend.  Happy Monday and sayonara!


  1. Love that Tekulve card. The bright yellow jersey makes it incredible. My top relief pitchers: I liked Eck when he was on the A's and Rivera. My favorite Cardinals closers are Todd Worrell and Jason Isringhausen.

  2. Nice, relievers are so underrated yet so important.

    Most of my favorite relievers are on their way to the Yankees bullpen. Jacob Lindgren (just called and making his MLB debut as I type), Tyler Webb, Nick Rumbelow and Nick Goody.
    Although my hands down favorite reliever is hometown kid Dellin Betances. Signing with his home team. Using his bonus money to buy his parents a new house out of his rough neighborhood. Coming up through the Yankees org. Reinventing himself as a dominant late inning reliever.

  3. Al Hrabosky. As a kid I loved watching his antics on the mound.

  4. Holy crap can I relate to watching Faces of Death at way too young an age with my childhood friends. Some things you can't un-see!

  5. Mine...Tippy Martinez and Tim Stoddard of the Orioles, Luis Arroyo and Ryne Duran of the old Yankee clubs of the 60s.

  6. Eric Gagne was unhittable, the most unhittable reliever for a period that I've ever seen in my life. After that, I liked Takashi Saito a lot. Kenley Jansen is right up there. From the past: I liked Steve Howe a lot before his drug issues.

  7. Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, Al Hrabosky, and Adam Wainwright-mos' def-But I also have to through I gotta Mo Rivera in that group.

  8. I like the fact that guys like Rivera and Hoffman closed all those games with pretty much one pitch. Batters knew the cutter or change up was coming, but they still couldn't hit it.