Officially, the “save” didn’t even exist until MLB recognized the statistic in 1969. The idea of a save actually originated from a sports writer’s suggestion. The official recognition of the stat changed how players were paid. That change in compensation then altered how managers used their best relief pitchers. They began to almost always use them as “closers” – pitching the last outs of the game.
At first, the closer might be used to pitch as much as the last three innings of the game. Then, starting with Tony La Russa, managers began to use their best relief pitcher exclusively in the final inning of a ballgame. Those last three outs became special. Requiring someone with a certain mental fortitude, not to mention lights-out stuff.
So how about the Mets relief pitchers? They’ve had some very memorable relievers come out of the bullpen in their history. But who are the Mets save leaders in a season?
Most Saves in a Season
Mets reliever Jeurys Familia has the most saves in a season. He led the National League with 51 saves in 2016. Familia went 3-4 with a 2.55 ERA that All-Star season. In 77.2 innings he struck out 84, walked 31, and allowed just 63 hits.
But if relievers are anything, it’s mercurial. One season they’re automatic – game over. The next season they can’t seem to get any batter out. Which Mets pitcher showed longevity in the closer role? Who are the Mets all-time save leaders?
Most Saves in History
|Mets Pitcher||Career Saves|
John Franco has the most saves in New York Mets franchise history. The small in stature lefty had 276 saves while pitching for the Mets from 1990 to 2004. Most of those years, it felt like he was always pitching with the bases loaded. Overall in his 21-year career, Franco totaled 424 saves.
Franco’s longevity as a Mets reliever plays a part in his leading the board. But some of it is also a reflection of how managers now use “closers”. Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell both pitched for the Mets in the 1980s. When a reliever would throw multiple innings in an appearance. The same for Tug McGraw in the 1970s. They weren’t going to pitch the next day after going three innings the night before.