It’s kind of crazy to sit back and think that a pitcher who only pitches in the ninth inning, and only comes into the game when it’s close would make more money than the starting pitcher who throws hundreds of innings and has much more influence on the game. But there is definitely a reason that the top closers in baseball get paid the way they do. It’s because getting the last three batters out in a game is extremely difficult and intense. It takes a short-term memory to be able to keep doing it for a living for years on end because you can’t let a game-winning run ruin your mentality for the next day. That’s what makes the 10 most dominant closers In Baseball History such a special list of players.
While many of the players that we’ve featured on this list will be judged by the number of saves they managed to accumulate during their careers, some of these pitches have the chance to accomplish a lot more individually, including numerous All-Star game appearances, multiple World Series rings, and even a handful of Cy Young Awards. When you’re closer to getting into the Cy Young Award category, you must be doing something right. With all of that said, we have even included some closers that may never make the Hall of Fame, but all of these gentlemen have racked up at least 300 cities in their career.
The closer’s role in the game is clearly defined these days, but it didn’t always exist, so from that standpoint, these dominant pitchers helped to define the importance of the position and pioneered what it means to be a great closer. Given the increased importance the position has been given over the last 20 years especially, it’s no coincidence that the number one pitcher on this list only retired recently. Here it is for your enjoyment…
10 Tom Henke
9 Billy Wagner
8 John Wetteland
7 Lee Smith
6 Bruce Sutter
5 Rollie Fingers
4 Rich Gossage
3 Trevor Hoffman
2 Dennis Eckersley
1 Mariano Rivera
If there is one closer that isn’t in the Hall of Fame that will no doubt about it claim his spot in due time, the closer will be former New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera. He won five World Series titles with the team and also won the World Series MVP award in 1999. Rivera’s cut fastball would routinely break the bats of the game’s best hitters. That pitch alone is a big reason why he was able to post a whopping 652 career saves. Rivera seemed to have batters beaten before even throwing a pitch. When "Enter Sandman" blazed through Yankee Stadium, you knew the end was coming. Rivera rarely let games slip away from the Yankees and it's a pretty unanimous choice to place Mo number one on our list.
Rivera received the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award back in 2013, and all of those accomplishments are good enough to name him the most dominant closer.
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