VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top-10 Closers in MLB History

Top-10 Closers in MLB History

The men you could rely on most to secure your team's lead
Publish Date: 12/22/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

10)  Robb Nen (314 Saves)

The Los Alamitos, California product would enter the waterfront AT&T Park to Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and dominated hitters with his high-90s fastball and a filthy slider nicknamed the “Terminator.” Nen was a three-time All-Star and won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997.

He would probably rank much higher if not for a torn rotator cuff.

Video: 1997 WS Gm7: Nen shuts down Indians in relief

1997 WS Gm7: Nen shuts down Indians in relief

9) Lee Smith (478 Saves)

His intimidating size (6’6”) and mid-90s fastball made Lee Smith a formidable closer.  He spent eight out of his 18 years with the Cubs making a name for himself before setting a National League record for saves with 47 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1991.  He led the league in saves for the Baltimore Orioles in 1994.  Lee was a seven-time All-Star and was the all-time saves leader until Trevor Hoffman passed him in 2006.

Smith may be best known for a poor performance in game 5 of the 1984 NLCS; even with that, Smith was one of the greatest closers ever. It does hurt that he did not have much postseason success. In his defense, he wasn’t always on the most talented teams.

Video: 1984 NLCS Gm2: Smith shuts the door in NLCS Game 2

1984 NLCS Gm2: Smith shuts the door in NLCS Game 2

8) Billy Wagner (422 Saves)

His stuff was nasty as he averaged almost 12 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched.  He threw in the high-90s with his fastball and ended up using a slider as his second pitch. However, the fastball did most of the damage.

As a young boy, he learned to throw the ball left-handed after twice breaking his arm.

Video: Billy Wagner [Enter Sandman by Metallica]

Billy Wagner [Enter Sandman by Metallica]

7) Hoyt Wilhelm (227 Saves)

The first reliever to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, he had to make this list.  He is the only closer to make this list that threw a devastating knuckleball, which gave him the longevity to pitch until he was almost 50.  He had a 2.52 career ERA, was a five-time All-Star.

Video: Rare Video of Hoyt Wilhelm and his Knuckleball

Rare Video of Hoyt Wilhelm and his Knuckleball

6) Bruce Sutter (300 Saves)

Sutter was known for a nasty split-finger fastball. He won a Cy Young Award in 1979 for the Cubs and closed out the World Series for the Cardinals in 1982 versus the Harvey Wallbanger’s Brewers squad.

Video: Bruce Sutter - Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

Bruce Sutter – Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

5) Trevor Hoffman (601 Saves)

He was also known for his high leg kick and a stare similar to Dave Stewart. He made walk-in music famous with the legendary AC/DC hit “Hells Bells.” He was a seven-time All-Star and had his jersey (No. 51) retired by the San Diego Padres.

He developed one of the most unhittable change-ups in baseball history after a torn rotator cuff.

Video: Trevor Hoffman records his 479th career save to become the all-time saves leader

Trevor Hoffman records his 479th career save to become the all-time saves leader

4) Rich “Goose” Gossage (310 Saves)

He was the most recognized Yankee closer before Mariano Rivera took that role.  He won a World Series in 1978 with the Yankees and made nine All-Star appearances.

Video: Goose Gossage - Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

Goose Gossage – Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

3) Rollie Fingers (341 Saves)

He was instrumental in the Oakland A’s back-to-back-to-back World Series Championships in 1972-74, earning the World Series MVP in 1974.  His signature was and still is his waxed handlebar mustache, the precursor to the current Giants closer, Brian Wilson’s beard.

Fingers were the first modern-day closer and are in the hall of fame.

Video: Rollie Fingers - Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

Rollie Fingers – Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

2) Dennis Eckersley (390 Saves)

From 1988 to 1992, he was the most dominant closer in the league and earned both the Cy Young and the AL MVP in 1992.  He basically invented the 9th inning closer role, remember he also won 20 games as a starter earlier in his career.

Video: Dennis Eckersley - Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

Dennis Eckersley – Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

1) Mariano Rivera (608 Saves)

This, to me is a no-doubter. He was dominant into his late 30s and early. When “Enter Sandman” came on, the game was over.

Video: Mariano Rivera Ultimate Career Highlights

Mariano Rivera Ultimate Career Highlights

Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Read Also
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Elmer Ray: The Humble Man of Hastings
"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for ...
SI Sportsbook Promo
Top 50 NBA players under 25 years old in 2021: Doncic bests Young
This year’s playoffs confirmed that the NBA is in good hands. The ...
Predicting the next five Pro Football Hall of Fame classes
Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Ranking the 50 best current NBA players entering the 2020 season
Welcome to the third edition of my annual NBA top 50 player ...
Black Heavyweight Champion Frank Childs vs. Former Colored Heavyweight Champion Bob Armstrong in Cincinnati (Robinson’s Opera House — 3/4/1899)
Bob Armstrong’s reputation as Colored heavyweight Champion – despite the same promotional ...
Cincinnati Christmas Boxing Arrest of John L. Sullivan (12-25-1880)
Professor John Donaldson from Cleveland held a reputation as “Champion of the ...
The Army Boxer Who Knocked-Down Muhammad Ali (1960)
I had wanted to write a boxing story about Junebug Hudson for ...
Selecting the Best Player on Every NFL Team Heading into 2019
This article lists the best player on every team in the NFL ...
Sportsbook of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Top Brands
Top Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
99/100
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
96/100
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Review
96/100
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Review
95/100
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
95/100
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
9.9/10
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Bonus
7,000 Gold Coins + 10 Sweeps Coins
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Bonus
Join GOLDEN2000 for 2,000 FREE coins
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
140k GC + 400 FC
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
Latest News
Betfred granted sports betting license for Mohegan Casino Las Vegas
British bookmaker company Betfred has been granted a ...
Top-15 Players in Cincinnati Bengals History
I am limiting this list to retired players ...
Wayne Simpson: What Might Have Been
Wayne Simpson was born on December 2, 1948, ...
Betting Tips
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: AFC 🏈Championship Game Preview: Bengals vs Chiefs
AFC Championship Game Preview: Bengals vs Chiefs
Video: NFC🏈 Championship Game Preview: 49ers vs Eagles
NFC Championship Game Preview: 49ers vs Eagles
Video: Bengals🏈 Weekly Show W/Joe Kelly: Bengals vs Chiefs Preview
Bengals Weekly Show W/Joe Kelly: Bengals vs Chiefs Preview
Sportsbook of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Top Online Casinos
Top Casinos Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
99/100
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
96/100
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Review
96/100
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Review
95/100
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
95/100
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
9.9/10
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Bonus
7,000 Gold Coins + 10 Sweeps Coins
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Bonus
Join GOLDEN2000 for 2,000 FREE coins
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
140k GC + 400 FC
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Review
97/100
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
96/100
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
94/100
PointsBet
PointsBet
PointsBet Review
94/100
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
93/100
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Bonus
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
First deposit only | 21+ & located in VA | Promo code as seen| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly - Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500 | Full T&C apply
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.3/10
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsMark Lewis
+8
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
Author Icon
Daniel Kornhauser
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Author Icon
Buddy Gibbs
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”

Contact us: [email protected]

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

sdfgfdgcsdfgfdgcww
Move to Top
Close
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Copy
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+
Payment Methods
Bitcoin
Litecoin
Ethereum
Dogecoin
Highlights
  • Social casino loved by Drake!
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Dice
Crash
Plinko
Mines
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site