Today is the day we've waited for since Trevor Hoffman announced his retirement
five six seven years ago. Today, the greatest closer in National League history was elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. There was some question as to whether Trevor would make it on the first second third ballot, with some suggesting he shouldn't going in before fellow great Mariano Rivera, and others wondering if he (and closers in general) really belonged in the Hall at all.
Of course, the position here at Gaslamp Ball has always been that Trevor is obviously Hall of Fame material. In his 18 seasons, 16 of which he spent in Padres colors, he collected 601 saves, utterly obliterating Lee Smith's previous record. If the counting stats don't do it for you, there's the 2.87 ERA and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He was on seven All-Star teams and came in second in Cy Young voting twice, and the award given to the best reliever in the National League bears his name.
It's an impressive career that started with little fanfare. Hoffman was drafted out of college by the Reds in the 11th round of the 1989 amateur draft. Originally a shortstop, he took up pitching in 1991. He went to the Marlins in the expansion draft a year later and made his big league debut in 1993. Shortly after that he joined the Padres as the most notable return from Tom Werner's fire sale, and the rest is history.
There's a lot he'll be remembered for beyond the 601 saves. His changeup is the stuff of legend, making even the greatest hitters throughout the league look foolish. In 1998 he became part of the first Padres team to play in the World Series in 14 years, capping off a season where he earned a career-best 53 saves. That season saw his first All-Star appearance, and even more importantly, was when his name became indelibly attached to AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," the song he would enter to until his very last game.
Hoffman will be inducted into the Hall on July 29th with his fellow inductees. Congratulations, Trevor. We can't wait to see you at Cooperstown.