Today, Trevor Hoffman is being inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame. He had his number retired last year, so I guess a Hall of Fame induction is the next step? The homer in me wants to say that he's the greatest closer of all time, but it's hard to argue against Mariano Rivera.
Let's take a quick look at the numbers, using a quick home-made chart with help from the omniscient baseball-reference.com:
Alright, so Mo's got the edge in every category besides blown saves, but the one defense that all Padre fans will defend to the end is that Rivera's Yankees were always better teams than Hoffman's Padres, so he had more save opportunities. Might've also had a little more margin for error at the end of the game, but I don't want to try to dig through those numbers.
Overall, Rivera has a lower ERA (as well as WHIP and FIP, though not shown here) than Hoffy, and his save percentage is lower (though still pretty close). It looks even closer when looking at the "162 game average" that Baseball Ref does:
Kinda weird to think that on average, both Mo and Hoffy would only have 39 saves a year, but I think this paints a pretty clear picture: Mo is the best, but the difference between the two is slighter than many would think.
I'll also concede that part of what makes Rivera great is his work in the post season, which I'm not including here.
After all, this isn't about who's got the better numbers, it's about the impact that Hoffman has had on the Padres. He is, after all, the greatest Padre who's not named Anthony.
And so, without further ado, here are all of Trevor Hoffman's Topps cards. Well, I mean, I guess I already started at the very top, with his first card from his Marlins days, so we'll look at the rest of them now.
I'd say that the '99 card (middle row, far right) is my favorite, with Trevor's signature leg kick, though the lack of border make it look more like an Upper Deck card than a Topps card. The '02 card, featuring him signing for some fans is a cool shot, as well as the one next to it, with the ball hurtling through the foreground.
Did it seem weird that if he really had a "signature leg kick", as I mentioned above, that it was only shown once on his first ten cards? Well, the final nine made up for it, showing it five times. The worst card here is easily the '10 card, bottom row middle, which features a weak design and shows too much of the Brewers uniform. Hoffman as a Brewer? Maybe this is what Braves fans felt like when they saw Greg Maddux as a Padre. Still, I think my favorite card from here is his first as a Brewer. Really great shot.
Here's the back of Trevor's last card, from 2011. Hoffman didn't pitch in 2011, so this shows all of his career stats. Every one of his 601 saves. Pretty rad, if you ask me. Even though I can't make this picture any bigger, I'm still squinting to see it all. He only led the league in saves twice.
Rivera led the AL in saves three times.
One upped again!
Seriously, though, Trevor Hoffman is a beast. Will be very disappointed if he's not a first ballot Hall of Famer. Regardless, he's the best Padre alive and San Diegans have been fortunate to watch such a great player over the years.
One edge Hoffman has on Rivera: AC/DC > Metallica