Late and Close

A History of Relief Pitching


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SKU: 9780786411627 Categories: ,

About the Book

Relief pitchers have important roles in baseball today, often coming in to pitch at some of the game’s most critical and exciting moments, but they have not always been a part of the game. This work provides a history of relief pitching in the major leagues and explains how, why, and when it began to evolve. It discusses the first managers—John McGraw, Leo Durocher, and Joe McCarthy—who used relief pitchers to win games, and the managers who took full advantage of it in later years—Casey Stengel, Earl Weaver, and Tony LaRussa. It also covers how and when the idea of a pitcher’s hurling a complete game began to disappear, great World Series performances by relievers, how relief pitchers are rated and why, what the future holds for them, and how and when they were used not only to finish games but as long and middle relievers, setup men, and closers. Profiles of leading relief pitchers over the years are also included.

About the Author(s)

Paul Votano is also the author of Tony Lazzeri (2005) and Stand and Deliver: A History of Pinch-Hitting (2003). He lives in LaGrangeville, New York where he operates his own public relations agency.

Bibliographic Details

Paul Votano
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 191
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1162-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8450-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction       1

1 The Early Years (1845–1899)     3

2 The Turn of the Century Brings Changes (1900–1919)      15

3 Newer Pitching Strategies Develop (1920–1945)      27

4 The Relief Specialist as a Profession (1946–1959)      39

5 Relievers Begin Their Domination (1960–1969)     57

6 The Steady Erosion of the Complete Game (1970–1979)      72

7 Middle Relievers, Setup Men and Closers (1980–1989)     89

8 Expansion, Realignment and a “Wild Card” Accentuate the 1990s      104

9 The New Millennium Brings a Mixture of the Old and the New     116

10 The Great World Series Performances      131

11 Evaluating the Relief Corps      151

12 Inside the Bullpen      159

13 Relief Pitching in the 21st Century      171

Bibliography     177

Index     179

Book Reviews & Awards

“the most significant change in baseball strategy over the past 30 years has been the elaboration of a refined philosophy of relief pitching…engaging, chatty, and enjoyable…much to savor”—Choice; “explains how, why, and when relief pitching began to evolve”—The SABR Bulletin.