Quiz – How do you spell relief?

Relief pitching as a specialization has become increasingly refined in the past 50 years. Today we have closers, setup men, long relievers, middle relievers, loogies and possibly other sub-specialties.

However, in the live ball era since 1920, these are the only relief pitchers to accomplish two related feats.

What are those two related feats that no other relievers have accomplished since 1920?

Congratulations to John Autin and Brandon who jointly identified the feats that only these eight pitchers have accomplished since 1920. These are the only pitchers with seasons of 30 or more relief appearances and no starts that include one of more seasons averaging less than one inning per appearance and also one or more seasons averaging two or more innings per appearance.

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25 Comments on "Quiz – How do you spell relief?"

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Neil L.
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Doug , I don’t know if we are limited to twenty questions or not, but I’ll kick things off.

Are both of the “feats” things they would be proud of?

John Autin
Editor

Doug — Is “zero starts in the season” one of the requirements for this feat?

John Autin
Editor

Is part of it averaging 2+ IP in 30+ games with no starts?

Doug
Guest

John has the first part right.

Brandon
Guest

At least one season with two innings per game (no starts) plus having another season with more games than innings pitvhed.

bstar
Guest

Is the other part a feat accomplished as a starter?

Doug
Guest

Brandon’s lmost got the second part. Just need to be more precise about the season requirements.

Doug
Guest

Bstar, both parts are about relieving.

e pluribus munu
Guest
It wouldn’t be fair to jump in after Brandon got so close – and even if it were, I’ve already closed down all the windows I opened in my own fruitless attempt to figure this out – but I’ve been waiting for Doug to declare a winner before adding a tangential observation and query, and it’s midnight as I send this; if I wait till morning I’ll have lost track, so . . . I’ve never looked at Alan Mills’ record before – isn’t his unearned run total extraordinarily low: unearned runs less than 5% of total runs (only 7… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

There are 26 pitchers with at least 500 IP with unearned runs totaling no more than 5% of their total runs. Lowest percentage is Gabe White at 2.4%.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Thanks, Richard. I’m surprised there are so many. May I ask how you were able to determine that?

Richard Chester
Guest
Go to the baseball-reference play index. Select season finders–player pitching Select totals for combined seasons. Select minimum IP = 500. You can select any number of innings but I wanted to ensure that Mills would appear on the list. Sort by IP. (You can sort by any parameter.) Under Choose a Stat enter ER>.95*R. Click on Get Report and a list of 26 players who meet the criteria will appear. Then calculate each player’s ratio of ER/R and subtract from 1. This can be done most quickly by entering all the data onto an Excel spreadsheet. By using a method… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Thanks again, Richard. As a non-subscriber I can’t get there, but perhaps it’s time for me to consider changing my status. I appreciate your following up on the R/ER question – unearned run rates are a statistic I’ve always found of interest.

Brandon
Guest

Sorry, didn’t mean to hold you up last night. I took a stab at the answer and went to bed. I figured I probably needed another qualifier in there.
Thanks for the quiz Doug, keep ’em coming.

John Autin
Editor

Doug, good quiz!

John Autin
Editor
How did I crack the “2 IP per game” enigma? Two steps, as I recall: 1) I started off focused on whether they all had seasons as pure relievers (no starts). I recalled Hassler as a swing-man from my Strat-O-Matic days, and didn’t realize he’d gone pure relief in his later years. His first such year was 1980, with 94.1 IP in 47 games as the Angels’ co-closer. I knew that was a high average even for that era (although some closers then did average over 2 IP, like Quis). 2) The next guy I looked at was Bill Henry,… Read more »
Neil L.
Guest

Man, it seems like a childhood spent with Strat-O-Matic is a prerequisite for baseball trivia expertise as an adult. 🙂

I was clueless on this one. Nice work Brandond and John.

Brent
Guest

As a Royals fan, I would suggest the answer and the question are in the caption of the post (yes, that is a Dan Quisenberry joke)

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