These relievers are distinguished from their expansion era brethren by dint of an unusual seasonal accomplishment since 1961. What is it?

Looks as though this one is a stumper. The answer is that the quiz players are the only right-handed relief pitchers to post a season since 1961 with 100 ERA+ in 50+ IP, all in relief, while averaging one IP per apperance and one inherited runner per IP. While neither of those markers is unusual by itself, together they become very unusual indeed. More after the jump.

The reason the two criteria are so unusual together is that pitchers averaging one IP per appearance tend not to be the situational relievers who rack up the inherited runners by being called on in a tight spot to face one or two batters. Here are those seasons for our quiz players.

Rk Player IR GS ERA+ IP G Year Age Tm GF W L W-L% SV ERA FIP
1 Sean Green 68 0 115 68.0 64 2007 28 SEA 10 5 2 .714 0 3.84 3.70
2 Carl Willis 59 0 141 58.0 53 1993 32 MIN 21 3 0 1.000 5 3.10 2.80
3 Bob Reynolds 70 0 127 69.1 54 1974 27 BAL 30 7 5 .583 7 2.73 2.74
4 Orlando Pena 53 0 164 53.0 46 1974 40 TOT 28 5 2 .714 4 2.21 2.77
5 Bobby Bolin 63 0 150 53.1 39 1973 34 BOS 29 3 4 .429 15 2.70 3.41
6 Dave Baldwin 71 0 187 68.2 58 1967 29 WSA 26 2 4 .333 12 1.70 2.45
7 Ed Roebuck 53 0 102 50.1 44 1965 33 PHI 23 5 3 .625 3 3.40 3.07
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/26/2014.

Bobby Bolin’s season stands out on this list with an average appearance of more than 4 outs, and an average IR over 1.2 per IP, and over 1.6 per appearance, true fireman-style credentials.

While these seasons are especially rare for right-handers, they aren’t all that common for left-handers either, with only these southpaws recording such a campaign.

Rk Player IR GS ERA+ IP G Year ▾ Age Tm GF W L W-L% SV ERA FIP
1 Mike Venafro 69 0 155 68.1 65 1999 25 TEX 11 3 2 .600 0 3.29 3.91
2 Dennis Cook 81 0 129 70.1 60 1996 33 TEX 9 5 2 .714 0 4.09 3.51
3 Graeme Lloyd 65 0 151 63.2 55 1993 26 MIL 12 3 4 .429 0 2.83 3.79
4 Ken Dayley 59 0 127 55.1 54 1988 29 STL 21 2 7 .222 5 2.77 2.95
5 Grant Jackson 85 0 132 82.0 72 1979 36 PIT 29 8 5 .615 14 2.96 4.56
6 Al Hrabosky 68 0 115 65.0 58 1979 29 KCR 37 9 4 .692 11 3.74 4.07
7 Dave Tomlin 60 0 145 58.1 53 1979 30 CIN 17 2 2 .500 1 2.62 3.35
8 Darold Knowles 72 0 149 72.0 60 1978 36 MON 27 3 3 .500 6 2.38 3.79
9 Bob McClure 86 0 162 71.1 68 1977 25 MIL 31 2 1 .667 6 2.52 2.98
10 Dave Hamilton 83 0 115 67.1 55 1977 29 CHW 21 4 5 .444 9 3.61 4.03
11 Mickey Scott 69 0 108 68.1 50 1975 27 CAL 21 4 2 .667 1 3.29 4.04
12 Steve Mingori 63 0 269 56.2 54 1971 27 CLE 24 1 2 .333 4 1.43 2.65
13 Don Shaw 54 0 137 51.0 45 1971 27 STL 18 7 2 .778 2 2.65 3.84
14 Sparky Lyle 68 0 103 67.1 63 1970 25 BOS 40 1 7 .125 20 3.88 3.65
15 Joe Hoerner 71 0 127 66.0 57 1967 30 STL 32 4 4 .500 15 2.59 2.96
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/26/2014.

Like Bobby Bolin’s season, Dennis Cook’s campaign stands out on this list, with average IP and average IR both significantly above one.

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