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Saves the Day

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Trevor Hoffman's record-setting 479th save on Sunday. Hoffman's the type of deceptively good closer who's real status all-time you don't recognize until you take a look at his accomplishments. A converted shortstop, Hoffman has had 20+ saves for the last 13 years, with the exception of 2003. And this year, his ERA (1.95) stands as the second best mark in his 14-year career. He's also going to post his second-highest save total.

Beyond that, Hoffman is a good guy. Pick up the ESPN the Magazine with LaVar Arrington on the cover from a couple of weeks ago (I know, I'm a little late). Or you could read it here if you're like me and were willing to pony up the money for Insider. It bears noting that as automatic as Mariano Rivera is, in 12 seasons Rivera has 413 saves. That's an average of 34.4 saves a year. Hoffman has 479 in 14 seasons. That's an average of 34.2 saves a year, and Hoffman didn't have the benefit of playing on a great team during that time. Rivera's known for his playoff prowess, Hoffman has only pitched 1 playoff game in his career. But he's right up with the best all-time closers.