The HOF Case for Trevor Hoffman

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Credit: SI

As I begin my time writing here for the East Village Times and the San Diego Padres, I thought that it would only be appropriate that my first article be about someone that I so deeply have enjoyed watching throughout my life: Trevor Hoffman.

Ever since he came over to the Padres way back in 1993, Hoffman was the steady arm at the back of the bullpen that everyone could rely on to lock down those final three outs, as “Hell’s Bells” blared throughout the stadium speakers.

Now, as he continues his quest for baseball immortality, I thought it fitting to take a look as to why he belongs in Cooperstown.

In his first two years on the ballot, Hoffman came close to induction, including coming up just five votes short on last year’s vote.

Now, typically when players get this close to being inducted to the Hall, they eventually become inducted within another year or two. In fact, the six players who came this close or closer than Hoffman did last year were all inducted at some point or another during their time on the ballot. Therefore, it seems as though Hoffman’s case should be foolproof, that there’s no way he won’t get in this year, or next year at the very least.

But, if you need a refresher course as to why Hoffman deserves his spot among baseball’s best, here are just a few of the many reasons as to why:

  • His 601 saves are the second-most all time, and the most among relievers who spent a majority of their time in the National League.
  • He was also the first player to reach the 500 and 600 save milestones, and held the career saves record until 2011 (when it was broken by Mariano Rivera).
  • A seven-time MLB All-Star, Hoffman also finished top ten in the Cy Young Award voting four times, and was the runner-up twice.
  • Since 2014, the N.L. Reliever of the Year Award has been dubbed the “Trevor Hoffman N.L Reliever of the Year Award” (Mariano Rivera owns the title of the A.L. award).

Now, understandably, I can see the case against inducting Hoffman, at least this year. Many baseball writers and voters for the BBWAA believe that Mariano Rivera deserves to go in before or in the same class as Hoffman, since many believe that Rivera is the greatest reliever of all time (Rivera is eligible for HOF induction in 2019).

However, there’s one thing that Hoffman had during his career that set himself apart from other great closers of the time, and that was his mindset, and his ability to stay composed on the mound. When you look out at the mound in the ninth inning today, a lot of the times you see a guy who is teetering on the edge of insanity if he blows a lead (there are exceptions, of course). Hoffman (and Rivera) were the ones who paved the way of how closers should act on the mound, and the mindset they should have when coming into a game.

Sure, some might call it a stretch for a player trying to bring his talents to Cooperstown, but at this point, there’s nothing more that Hoffman, the fans, and the Padres’ organization deserve more. So, if you ever want to re-create the energy and excitement felt by Petco Park (and the Q) whenever that bullpen door swung open in the top of the ninth, just turn on some AC/DC.

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