I've been saying this for years: If Trevor Hoffman had been playing in a major media market like New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles there would be no doubt in anyone's mind that he would be a first ballot Hall of Famer. I believe that Hoffman through his pitching cemented himself as being the second best closer in the history of the game (after Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees) and in five years he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. That is my point of view and I know there are some who would disagree. Let's take a look at Trevor Hoffman.
In a career that spanned 18 seasons, Hoffman was a model of consistency in the closer role which has led to his being the Major League Saves leader. Hoffman was originally drafted in 1989 by the Cincinnati Reds. He would later be selected by the Florida Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft, reaching the majors during the 1993 season. Hoffman's career would forever be changed by his being traded to the San Diego Padres with Andres Berumen and Jose Martinez for Rich Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. It was in San Diego that Hoffman's career would flourish.
Aside from missing the majority of the 2003 season with shoulder injuries, Hoffman saved 554 games for the Padres including a career high 53 saves in 1998 helping the Padres make the World Series for the second time in their franchise history. Hoffman saved another 47 games with the Milwaukee Brewers including his 600th and 601st career save making him the only pitcher to pass the 600 save mark. For his career, Hoffman was 61-75 with a 2.78 ERA. In 1089.1 innings pitched, Hoffman struck out 1133 while walking only 307 and giving up 846 hits for a WHIP of 1.058. His 88.8 career save percentage ranks sixth all time.
Arguably his best season came in 1998 when he 4-2 with a 1.48 ERA in 66 games. In 73 innings pitches, Hoffman struck out 86 while walking 21 and giving up 41 hits for a WHIP of 0.849. What seems to stand out the most about Hoffman is not his statistics but his affect on his team with his professionalism. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig puts it as so:
"All the great statistical accomplishments of a marvelous 18-year career on the mound do not tell the story of Trevor Hoffman. He is retiring from the game with a Major League record total of 601 career saves and seven All-Star selections, but it is Trevor's class and leadership that has always stood out to me. He earned the universal respect of his peers and the people throughout our game, and he built a profound legacy in the city of San Diego and in his two years in Milwaukee.
"Trevor Hoffman has been the consummate professional, representing all the best of our national pastime. I am delighted that he is setting out on a new course in a role with the Padres, the club with which he will be forever linked. I have truly appreciated Trevor's friendship over the years, and on behalf of Major League Baseball and his admirers throughout the game, I wish him and his wonderful family all the best in the years to come."
As Hoffman ends his playing days, he joins the San Diego Padres as a part of their front office.
I asked my buddy Mickey Koke of the Friarhood Blogpage for some insight on Trevor Hoffman from the point of view of a San Diego Padres' fan and here is what he had to say:
Trevor Hoffman and the "Hells Bells" song, transcended the sport of baseball and the way that closers come out. Uplifting the crown in such a way of entertainment and excitement he bestowed upon fans, his fellow peers, managers and anyone who watched him pitch, realize just how truly extraordinary he was on and off the field. Starting the true trend of the walk in closer songs throughout baseball. There was nothing in baseball like listening to "Hells Bell's" in San Diego at Qualcom Stadium or Petco park, Nothing. The excitement was unparalleled to anything I have witnessed as a Padre fan, or a baseball fan. Trevor Hoffman was and still is a class act and a the exemplar player to look up to as a role model. He was not "Mr Padre", (Tony Gwynn) but he will always be remembered as a Padre through and through right into Cooperstown. He will be forever loved and remembered by the great fans in San Diego, Trevor, you were the best!
As I stated earlier, I believe Trevor Hoffman to be a future Hall of Famer. No doubts. Regardless if Mariano Rivera passes him on the all time saves list, which can happen within the next two seasons if not this season since he is 42 saves behind, I believe Hoffman won't be tarnished. On the contrary, I believe that time will be generous to Hoffman, unlike how it has been to Lee Smith and John Franco in their attempts to join their peers in Cooperstown.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access Trevor Hoffman's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com
- Click Here to read Bill Center's article Hoffman retires, will wear 'different hats' for the Padres from the San Diego Union-Tribune's webpage dated January 11, 2011
- Click Here to read Bailey Stephens' article Hoffman ready for next challenge with Padres from MLB.com dated January 12, 2011
- Click Here to read Buster Olney's article Opening up on Trevor Hoffman from his blogpage at ESPN.com
- Click Here for Richard Dorsha's article Trevor's Time from The Friarhood.com dated January 12, 2011
- Click Here to read Cyril Morong's blogpost Trevor Hoffman Retires With Highest Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio from the Cybermetrics blogpage dated January 12, 2011
- Click Here to read the article Is Trevor Hoffman a Lock for the Hall of Fame (or Even a Worthy Candidate)? from the Captain's Blog Page dated January 12, 2011