Thursday, August 21, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers Closer Rollie Fingers Gets 300th Save
Fingers started his career as a member of the Oakland Athletics in 1968, the year the team moved from Kansas City to Oakland. He played for the Athletics from 1968-1976, earning himself three World Series titles with the club in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In 1974 he was also named the World Series MVP.
Fingers was a starter with the A’s until 1970 when he began making relief appearances. In 1971 A’s manager Dick Williams made up his mind that Fingers would be a relief pitcher and the rest is history.
In 1977 the San Diego Padres picked up Fingers, where he played from 1977-1980. Fingers won the National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year in 1977, 1978 and 1980 with the Padres. He was also a two-time National League saves champion in 1977 and 1978. In 1980 Fingers broke Hoyt Wilhelm’s record of most saves in a career with his 228th.
In 1981 Fingers was back in the American League with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was continuing to get saves at an impressive rate, and once again won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year award but this time in the American League. He was also the American League saves champion in 1981. But the most impressive feat of all that season was that Fingers was named the American League MVP and the American League CY Young.
In 1982 Fingers recorded his 300th save, and was the first closer in Major League history to do so. When Fingers retired in 1985 he finished his career with 341 saves, 114 wins and 118 losses, making him the first pitcher with 300 saves and also to have 100 wins, he also recorded 1,299 strikeouts in his career.
Fingers was elected into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. Both the Athletics and the Brewers have retired his jersey No. 34.
Fingers is regarded to as one of the pioneers of modern relief pitching, especially for defining the role of the closer.