By The Numbers: The "Other Guys"
On Sunday afternoon, Rafael Soriano recorded his 13th save of the season, giving him the most in a single season by a Yankees pitcher not named Mariano Rivera since “The Sandman” took over the closer’s role in 1997.
Soriano is just one of 32 men other than Rivera to record at least one save with the Yankees, but is on the precipice of becoming the “all-time best” among secondary sandmen in that time. In his honor, we present a By The Numbers chronicling the current closer and the rest of the “Dirty 30” who have helped pick up Rivera’s slack over the last decade and a half.
729: Through Wednesday, the Yankees have racked up 729 saves as a team since the beginning of 1997. Mariano Rivera has 603 of those, leaving the other 32 men with a grand total of 126.
12: Exactly one dozen was the previous record for most non-Rivera saves in a season, and it was held by Steve Karsay, who saved 12 games in Rivera’s stead in 2002. Oddly enough, despite playing three more years in the Majors, Karsay’s 12th save of 2002 was also the last of his career.
16: The current “career” record for saves in the non-Rivera category is 16, a number that belongs to Ramiro Mendoza, who played in pinstripes from 1996-2002 and again in 2005.
5: Mendoza acquired those 16 saves over five different seasons, notching a pair on 1997, one in 1998, three in 1999, six in 2001, and then four in 2002. That makes Mendoza the only Yankee other than Rivera to record at least one save in five different seasons between 1997 and 2012.
410: In his career, Dwight Gooden started 410 of the 430 games he pitched in, one of which was a no-hitter for the Yankees in 1996. But in those 20 relief appearances, “Doc” earned three career saves, two of which came with the Yankees in his final season in 2000.
4: Since 1997, the highest number of men other than Rivera to record a save in any one season is four, a number that has been reached multiple times (the last in 2009). So far in 2012, three “others” – Soriano, David Robertson, and Boone Logan – have saves, meaning that mark could very well be tied again or even broken this summer.
11: Of the group of 32, 11 of those men have notched just a single save as a Yankee – including Boone Logan, who recorded his first and only (so far) earlier this year.
22: In the late 1990s, the trio of Stanton, Nelson, and Rivera made it seemingly automatic that if the Yankees held a lead going into the seventh inning, the game was over. But while Rivera has 608 saves total in pinstripes, his late-‘90s cohorts have just 22 – 15 for Stanton and seven for Nelson.
7: After that trio came “Quan-Gor-Mo,” as Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon replaced Stanton and Nelson as the main bridge to Mo. Numerically, at least, they weren’t as successful in picking up The Sandman’s slack, as Quantrill and Gordon recorded just seven saves total in their Yankees tenures…and Gordon had six of them.
5: And finally, the Yankees currently have five of the 32 men profiled here in their employ. In addition to the current Soriano-Robertson-Logan trio in the bullpen, Phil Hughes (three saves in 2009) is in the rotation, and Joba Chamberlain (one in 2007, three in 2010) is on the 60-day disabled list.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES