New York Mets closers have given us joy, stress, and despair. It’s in the job description. They are the last in line to secure the final three outs of the game.
Naming a best closer in franchise history is a bit tough because as far as saves are concerned, guys like Jesse Orosco and Tug McGraw don’t compare to more modern pitchers. Orosco and McGraw helped invent the closer job. Back then, guys were getting more than three outs in an appearance and often not racking up saves the way they do in the modern era.
Still, the Mets have had the luxury of employing some of baseball’s greatest at accumulating saves.
The Mets have had three of the game’s all-time save leaders
Mariano Rivera (652) and Trevor Hoffman (601) are the only two players in MLB history to top 500 saves in their career. In third place, we have Lee Smith with 478.
It’s the next three names on the list that have ties to the Mets. If you had to guess without looking, you might not even know the correct order.
Only three men have saved more games in their career than Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod as he was known during his career signed with the Mets after the 2008 season. He had just finished third in the Cy Young race with 62 saves highlighting his season. He would finish his career with 437 of them.
Rodriguez’s stay with the Mets from 2009 through mid-2011 wasn’t nearly as perfect. His 3.05 ERA was good but not superb. He did still manage to save 83 games. In Mets history, it puts him eighth all-time between Roger McDowell and Neil Allen.
Not far behind Rodriguez on the all-time list of saves is a far more prominent and successful Mets closer. John Franco managed to save 424 in his career. Among them, 276 came representing the team from Queens. He’s the all-time franchise leader in this category.
Finally, there’s Billy Wagner. Sixth on MLB’s all-time list with 422 saves, he joined the Mets prior to the 2006 season. He would end up saving 101 games for the club, putting him fifth on the franchise’s list, right between Orosco and McGraw.
If there’s still room on your scorecard, the Mets have employed three others in the top 25. Randy Myers is 14th with 347 saves, Robert Hernandez is 19th with 326, and Rick Aguilera is 23rd with 318. None were longtime closers for the Mets but at one point in their careers, they also wore the orange and blue.