Baseball reacts to Hoffman's feat
Players, executives put accomplishment in perspective
Players and executives react over the last two days to Trevor Hoffman's achievement.
Commissioner Bud Selig: "Trevor Hoffman is a Hall of Famer, in my opinion. So is Mariano Rivera. Look, Yogi Berra once said, 'If you ain't got relief pitching, you ain't got nothing.' So where in my mind do you think Trevor Hoffman figures? Relief pitchers are critical."Padres owner John Moores: "Trevor is obviously a gifted athlete. His distinguishing characteristic, however, is his extraordinary conditioning program. There are lots of stories about young guys who asked Trevor if they could join him during his daily exercise regimen. They rarely came back for the second day." Pirates manager Jim Tracy: "What he's accomplished is a credit to him, because he's one of the finest people in our game. It's a tribute to his resiliency. It's a tribute to his work ethic. It's a tribute to his moxie as a person because not everybody can say, 'Hey, I'm going to pitch the ninth inning.' He accomplished something here that in the history of our game is very, very special." Boston second baseman Mark Loretta: "It was fun to watch the highlights and just kind of put myself in that situation, knowing what the atmosphere was with the "Hells Bells" and the sold out crowd. I was proud of him. He's really worked hard and really withstood the test of time with his work ethic. He's a great guy. He's at the top of his game at this age. I appreciated him a lot as a teammate. He was a good leader, a good teammate. He really cares about his peers and doesn't like the spotlight on him, so it's nice for him to get it." Texas reliever Akinori Otsuka: "I'm proud of him. The last two years he taught me everything. In the offseason I was training with him. I think about him as a friend and a brother. I have a lot of respect for him as a pitcher and a friend." Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera: "I think it's great. He's worked hard to get there. If you ask me, he's been a little overlooked. He just broke the saves record and nobody says too much about him. Maybe that's better, because he can just do his job. He's not only great on the field, but off of it as well. He's a great guy." Rockies closer Jose Mesa: "He's amazing. When you used to throw hard and you come back and throw 84 or 85 [mph], a lot of guys start to say, 'I might as well hang it up, because I don't have it anymore.' But he still does what he's always done." Nationals closer Chad Cordero: "That's a lot of saves. That's a lot of hard work. For him to do that is awesome. I want to get as many saves as possible. If I get that many saves, that would be a cool thing. I met him in college. We were playing over at Arizona State. He talked to our team before the game. I thought that was pretty cool. Growing up, he was one of my favorites." Astros reliever Brad Lidge: "He's a master of what he's doing. He's been so good for so long. He's not just getting it done, he has something like a sub-two earned run average. He's one of those guys in the Roger Clemens-mold who never slows down." Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez: "I'm really happy for him. I hope he continues being healthy and continues putting up big numbers. People talk a lot about Mariano because of the postseason, but you have to put Hoffman right up there. ... They have Hall of Fame numbers. I was surprised to hear that Lee Smith was not in the Hall of Fame. But [these closers] are some of the best players to play the game and now the people who vote have to think about the closers because they should be in there. [Dennis] Eckersley and soon Hoffman and Rivera. Those numbers are pretty impressive." Rockies first baseman Todd Helton: "I don't think anybody can ever say they look forward to facing a Hall of Fame pitcher, but you're excited about the challenge, no doubt about that. You know what you're going to get. That's one of the good things about it. He's not going to make anything up. He's got what he's got and he's coming right at you with it." Nationals reliever Ryan Wagner: "I haven't been in the league as long as him, but I know how tough it is to get guys out on a consistent basis. He has done it in save situations, tight games and he's done it 479 times. It's an amazing feat." Astros manager Phil Garner: "It's been my contention for many years that the changeup is the best pitch in baseball. Right now, he's developed perhaps the best changeup in baseball. He's reinvented himself. And I thing that's what great players do." Mariners closer J.J. Putz: "He's unbelievable. That's a lot of saves. Getting a record like that, one that takes a long time, it shows his work ethic, how hard he works to stay healthy, because if you don't have your health you're not going to get close to anything like that. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy." Astros veteran Craig Biggio: "You improvise, you adjust. Same thing with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, they used to throw a lot harder. But you become smarter and you become better. That's part of being a Hall of Famer. He's an animal, he works hard. He works hard on his game and works hard on his body to take care of it." Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn: "Anytime you do your job as well as he has for as long as he has, you have to tip your hat to the guy. No question, he's a future Hall of Famer." Mets closer Billy Wagner: "He went from being a position player to a hard thrower to now being a location guy with probably the greatest changeup in the game. He's been so consistent that he's pushing 500 saves -- it's unbelievable. ... He taught me so much about preparation and how to approach the situations as a closer. I've been able to learn so much from him and I've been able to succeed because of the things he's taught me."
A's closer Huston Street: "It's an unbelievable accomplishment, but I don't think he needed any sort of milestone or number to be recognized for his greatness. His longevity makes him great all by itself."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporters Ed Eagle, Ian Browne, Mark Feinsand, Bill Ladson, Thomas Harding, Mike Scarr, T.R. Sullivan, Mychael Urban and MLB.com associate reporters Zachary Levine and Chris Girandola contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.