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The closer role has undergone perspicuous changes since baseball began. The first relievers were coined “firemen” because of their ability to get struggling starting pitchers out of jams with minor damage. Pitchers like Dennis Eckersley and Goose Gossage earned their reputation playing this way. Then, in 1969, the “save” became an official statistic. The game has never been the same since. Now, closers are typically the best pitchers on a team. Their pitches either go the fastest, curve the most, or sink the hardest, but they only pitch in the ninth inning when ahead by three runs or less. While I would be perfectly willing to abandon the save rule, the last inning in a baseball game is certainly important. More important than the last three outs of a game in which ...

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Article written by Andrew Kneeland

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