New York Yankees: The 16th anniversary of Mariano Rivera’s first career save

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Mariano Rivera throws a pitch against the Balt...

Mariano Rivera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prior to his injury on May 4, Mariano Rivera had five saves for the Yankees and was well on his way to leading the Yankees in saves for the 16th consecutive season. With Rivera out for the season, some other reliever not named Rivera will top the team’s saves leader list for the first time since John Wetteland was the team’s closer in 1996 and led the team with 43 saves.

The Yankees thought they had a suitable replacement for Rivera after his injury as David Robertson was going to step into the closer role from his job as set-up man. But the Yankees will have to find other options as Robertson himself went on the 15-day DL with a rib injury.

Rivera began his career in 1995 and got his first save the following season on May 17. That season he collected five saves , compiled an 8-3 record and had 26 holds as Wetteland’s main set-up man. When Wetteland went to Texas as a free agent the next season, Rivera became the Yankees closer in 1996 and never relinquished the position.

From 1997-2011, the Yankees as a team had 711 saves, 607 of them (85.4 percent) by Rivera. Only one Yankees reliever, Steve Karsay, had more than 10 saves in a season when Rivera was the bullpen’s main man. Karsay had 12 saves for the Yankees in 2002 as Rivera’s replacement when he went on the disabled list three times for groin and shoulder injuries. During this 15-year stint as the Yankees closer, 31 different pitchers had one or more save with the team during this time. Here’s a look at those 31 pitchers who had a save during Rivera’s stint as the main closer (1997-2011)

Number of saves, pitcher(s)

16: Ramiro Mendoza

15: Mike Stanton

12: Steve Karsay

7: Jeff Nelson, Kyle Farnsworth

6: Juan Acevedo, Tom Gordon

4: Joba Chamberlain

3: Jose Veras, Phil Hughes, David Robertson

2: Darren Holmes, Jason Grimsley, Dwight Gooden, Jeff Weaver, Tanyon Sturtze, Edwar Ramirez, Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, Rafael Soriano

1: Graeme Lloyd, Todd Erdos, Brian Boehringer, Orlando Hernandez, Chris Hammond, Dan Miceli, Paul Quantril, Chien-Ming Wang, Scott Proctor, Brian Bruney, Sergio Mitre

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