The Trevor Hoffman (Memorial?) National League Reliever of the Year Award

Yesterday news broke that MLB will be re-naming their top closer award’s the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award and the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award for the two  respective leagues. I was confused by this. And I’m not talking about the extremely long title for both.

It’s not that I don’t like Hoffman, or Rivera for that matter, nor do I think that neither one is worthy of such an honor. They were two of the greatest closers in the history of baseball and sit in the top 2 spots on the all-time Saves list. However it just seems odd to me. Normally that is something reserved for memorial type honors.

The Cy Young award was named after Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young in 1956, one year after he passed away in 1955. The Roberto Clemente award was named after Roberto Clemente in 1973, less than a year after he passed away in a plane crash. The Hank Aaron Award was named after Hank Aaron in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of him breaking Babe Ruth‘s all-time home run record. All of these seem like logical choices for such a high honor. Rivera retired after last season and Hoffman retired after the 2010 season. The two of them haven’t even been off the ball field for 5 years combined yet.

The awards will replace the Rolaids Relief Man Award (1976-2012) and the DHL Delievery Man of the Year Award (2005-2013). The Rolaids award was officially recognized by MLB until 2006, yet Rolaids continued to hand out the award until the 2012 season. This was awarded based on a point system that included Saves (+3), Wins (+2), Losses (-2), Blown Saves (-2) and Tough Saves (+1). In the 37 years, the Padres led the National League with 8 wins (Rollie Fingers ’77/’78/’80, Mark Davis ’89, Hoffman ’98/’06 & Heath Bell ’09/’10). The DHL award was voted on by the fans off a list of 10 of the top closers in all of baseball. Bell won that award while with the Padres in 2010.

The new awards will be voted on by a top notch group who may know a thing or two being a closer…

Here’s a thought: Clearly both Rivera and Hoffman were considerably more talented, but what if the award had been named the Lee Smith Award back in 1997 or 1998 because he was the current Saves leader at the time? After 12 attempts Smith is still not in the Hall of Fame. He has 3 more years left, but with a 29.9% showing on the most recent ballot, the odds are not looking good for him. Would it be safe to say that the league would be questioning that choice right now? It’s pretty clear that Rivera will be in the Hall of Fame but there is still a question mark attached to Hoffman. I personally think he is a Hall of Famer, however you never know what the voters are going to do. Hypothetically, what happens if he doesn’t make the Hall of Fame?

I guess I’ll get used to the new names after a few years and should just shut my yap since MLB is actually honoring a Padre. Just ignore this whole post. Congrats Trevor!

Rick posts as RJ’s Fro at Padres Public every Thursday….unless it’s not Thursday.
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