Rolaids Relief Man Award
The Rolaids Relief Man Award is an annual Major League Baseball (MLB) award given since the 1976 MLB season to the top relief pitchers of the regular season, one in the American League (AL) and one in the National League (NL). Relief pitchers are the pitchers who enter the game after the starting pitcher is removed. The award is sponsored by Rolaids, whose slogan is "R-O-L-A-I-D-S spells relief." Because the first closers were nicknamed "firemen," a reference to "putting out the fire" of another team's rally, the trophy is a gold-plated firefighter's helmet. Unlike other awards, such as the Cy Young Award or the MLB Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, the Relief Man is based on statistical performance, rather than votes. Each save is worth three points; each win is worth two points; and each loss is worth negative two points. Beginning with the 1987 MLB season, negative two points have been given for blown saves. In the 2000 MLB season, the term "tough save", which is worth an additional point, was introduced by Rolaids. A "tough save" happens when a relief pitcher enters the game already having a tying run on base, and gets the save. The player with the highest point total wins the award.
The inaugural award winners were Bill Campbell (AL) and Rawly Eastwick (NL); Campbell also won in the following season. Dan Quisenberry and Mariano Rivera have each won the AL award five times, while Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter have won the award four times each. Lee Smith has won the award on three occasions; Campbell, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Righetti, John Franco, Éric Gagné, Randy Myers, Trevor Hoffman, and Francisco Rodriguez have each won the award twice. Sutter (NL 1979), Fingers (AL 1981), Steve Bedrosian (NL 1987), Mark Davis (NL 1989), Eckersley (AL 1992), and Éric Gagné (NL 2003) have won the Relief Man and the Cy Young Award in the same season; Fingers and Eckersley have won the AL MVP as well, in 1981 and 1992 respectively. Todd Worrell won both the Relief Man and the MLB Rookie of the Year Award in the 1986 MLB season. Goose Gossage, Fingers, Eckersley, and Sutter have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Heath Bell is the most recent NL award winner, while Rivera and Joe Nathan are the most recent AL award winners; Rivera and Nathan are the only relief pitchers to have tied in points for the award, and both have been awarded.By The Baseball Page
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