Earlier today it was reported, that all-time major league saves leader Trevor Hoffman would be retiring. “Hells Bells” will ring no more. No longer will it strike fear into the National League West. Never again will we hear it ring through Miller Park. Trevor Hoffman, the man, the myth, the change up.
Hoffman was drafted in 1989, by the Cincinnati Reds as a shortstop. Got off to a rough start in Single-A. His minor league manager noticed Trevor’s ability to throw the change up and converted him to a pitcher in 1991. In his first season as a pitcher he had a 1.89 ERA with 75 strikeout in a little more than 47 innings.
In 1992 he was taken by the Florida Marlins, in that nutty expansion draft. Midway through the 1993 season he was traded to San Diego, in exchange the Marlins got Gary Sheffield (ex-Brewer). How gnarly was Trevor Hoffman? 1995, he pitched more than half of the season with a torn rotator cuff. Saved 31 games that season. Had surgery and the change up became legendary.
Over the next 15 seasons, Mr. Hoffman was surgical. He was saving games, like surgeons save lives. Very efficiently. This man saved 549 games for the Padres and appeared in over 900 games. During his time in San Diego he joined the 500 saves club, of which Mariano Rivera is the only other member.
Trevor Hoffman was a 7 time All-Star. He holds the major league record with nine 40-Save season. Recipient of the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 2006. This guy holds just about every record for a career closing pitcher. Without a doubt, his most important statistic is his 601 career saves. Hoff is the only member of the 600 saves club.
The Milwaukee Brewers were very fortunate to add Trevor to the team in January of 2009. In his first season with us he was nothing short of breath taking. 37 saves and a 1.83 ERA. Then something changed in 2010 and Trevor began to get rocked. It was not easy, but Trevor did not let it get him down. Rather than complaining or mouthing off about it, he taught and mentored our new closer John Axford. Axford flourished and Hoffman took a backseat while he tried to get his stuff back on track. Eventually he worked some things out and Ken Macha gave him some closing opportunities. On September 7th, 2010, “Hells Bells” rang for the 600th time.
It has been a long journey for the shortstop from California. Trevor Hoffman was amazing to watch. He was sort of a symbol for the every man. There is nothing amazing about his stuff. He would just go out and dare you to hit his pitches every single night. Most of the time, that was a dare batters would lose. As a Brewers fan, Trevor gave us an amazing piece of history to embrace. Plus, any guy who proposes to his wife at halftime of the Super Bowl, is a good guy in my book.
Trevor, Reviewing the Brew would like to wish you the very best of luck at your new post in the Padres front office. Your time in Milwaukee was a gift and a pleasure. Let’s do an interview sometime.