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The History of the MLB Closer: Infographic

Although the position is not as popular as the starting pitcher, the closer in baseball has an important role. It’s the person responsible for taking the win home in the 9th inning. The closer doesn’t get much clout, and few who’ve held the title have made it to the MLB Hall of Fame. In fact, only five closers in the history of the game were inducted.


Among the more popular closers of today’s era is Mariano Rivera, with an impressive 602 saves. He retired from the league in 2013 after a knee injury and 19 years in the major leagues. Other players that came close to beating his record include Trevor Hoffman, with 601 saves during his 18 seasons, and Dennis Eckersley, with 390 saves (and an induction into the Hall of Fame).


Closers don’t get much press from fans, but they’re a godsend for relief pitchers. Here’s a look at the best closers and their stats through the decades. Some have hundreds of saves, while others carry a hume few dozen. Regardless as to how many saves, it’s safe to say that these players are the underdogs, but very important contributors to the game.