Major League Baseball has announced their plans to rename two end of the season awards with each respected league naming the top relief pitcher after Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman.
Rivera spent 20 seasons in New York pinstripes, where he accumulated a league record of 652 saves. The American League will name their top reliever award after the Yankee legend. Hoffman played for three teams in the National League, including the Marlins, Padres, and Brewers, but was best known for his time with the Padres from 1993-2008, where he had 552 of his 601 saves. The National League will award their top relief pitcher the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award. Between the two men are 1,253 saves and a combined ERA of 2.54.
“Both Mariano and Trevor represented our sport magnificently on and off the mound and earned the universal respect of our fans in their legendary careers,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday. “I believe it is appropriate to redefine an existing award in honor of their contributions to baseball, and I am delighted that many of the most decorated relievers in history will select the winners.”
Prior to these new awards, the top relief pitcher each season would receive the Delivery Man of the Year Award. The new awards will be voted on by a nine-man panel that includes Hoffman, Rivera, Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, “Goose” Gossage, and Bruce Sutter, as well as Lee Smith, Billy Wagner, and John Franco.
While it is almost certain that both men will grace the halls of Cooperstown in a few years, the award recognition serves as a reminder to their greatness during the last 20 years. I predict that Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves and Koji Uehara of the Boston Red Sox will be this season’s inaugural winners.