"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Rare Air

He’s no Mo, as our man William pointed out, but Tim Marchman thinks that Trevor Hoffman still deserves our admiration:

If we’re honest, we’ll admit that Hoffman has never, with the exception of his glorious 1998, really been a great pitcher. This has less to do with closers being inherently overrated than with how good he’s been. The average, competent closer will have an ERA of somewhere between 2.50 and 3.00; Hoffman’s career ERA is 2.87. He’s had better years and a few lesser ones, but he’s mainly spent two decades being pretty good.

Being pretty good for that long is difficult, maybe more to some ways than being great. A truly great player will adapt as he ages because he does several things well and can get better at some even as he gets worse at others. A player who does one thing well — and that describes the vast majority of even good major leaguers, who can maybe field a bit or hit a home run now and then or throw a nice fastball — has almost no margin for error.

Hoffman has always been such a player. He had some significant virtues such as composure and the ability to pitch an inning every third day without hurting himself, but basically he owed his success to one thing: a change-up. In his prime it was just hideous, and then as he lost a bit to age he figured out how to keep it working well enough to do his job, solidly and well, for long enough that he’ll almost certainly make the Hall of Fame.


1 RIYank   ~  Sep 10, 2010 1:04 pm

Damn, Neyer appears to be offended by William's blog post. I had to read his reply a couple of times to be sure, because it just seems so weird. And I still can't tell whether he's offended on behalf of Hoffman, or on his own behalf.
And he says that William's post shows an inability to "let your ego go."


Oh well. I guess it's kind of cool that Neyer is reading The Captain's Blog.

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 10, 2010 1:42 pm

[1] Unless Rob Neyer is a huge Yankee fan that lives in Milwaukee, that's a different Rob that is posting on William's site.

3 RIYank   ~  Sep 10, 2010 1:50 pm

[2] Oh yeah.
I'd only read the second comment by him; "the point of my post" sounded like he meant Neyer's article.
Well, that's kind of a relief!

4 Shaun P.   ~  Sep 10, 2010 2:08 pm

There's something to be admired about both Mo and Hoffman, and that's part of the beauty of the game. You can have success in baseball in a bunch of different ways.

Marchman's take on Hoffman was really eye-opening, and I enjoyed it. Thanks, Alex.

5 thelarmis   ~  Sep 10, 2010 2:22 pm

[3] RI - i left you a message yesterday at the triple crown post.

l'shana tova

6 RIYank   ~  Sep 10, 2010 4:19 pm

[5] Back at ya!
And did you notice that jjmerlock wished us all the same?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver