Sunday, November 25, 2018

Red Sox Awards History: Rolaids/Mariano Rivera Relief Award

The Rolaids Relief Man Award was been given to the best relief pitcher in each league from 1976-2012.  After a one-year hiatus, a new award was born, named after two all-time great relief pitchers from each league.  The National League has the Trevor Hoffman Award.  The American League has the Mariano Rivera Award. 

Three Red Sox relievers have won the Relief Man Award:

I don't get this, and I have talked about it before.  How exactly did Sparky Lyle win the Cy Young Award?  Bill Campbell won this award though, for the second year in a row.  Campbell signed a huge (for the time) free agent contract with the Red Sox before the 1977 season.  He was 13-9 with a 2.96 ERA, leading the league with 31 saves.  He also struck out 114 in 140 innings.  

"Flash" is the Red Sox single-season leader in saves after he notched 46 of them in 1998.  He briefly owned the record for consecutive saves with 54, which he did during the 1998 season into the 1999 season.  Gordon led the league in saves and was 7-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 79.1 innings with 25 walks.  Gordon had been a starter earlier in his career and switched to closer in 1997.  

Kimbrel was a two-time winner of the National League Award while with the Braves.  He picked up the win in the American League after an incredible 2017 in which he was 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA and saved 35 games.  He struck out an amazing 126 batters and walked just 14 in only 69 innings.  

The biggest surprise I think is that Jonathan Papelbon never won the award.  


  1. I was a huge fan of Papelbon, but he was pitching in the same era/league as Rivera, so I'm not totally surprised he didn't win the award that now bears Mo's name. I remember the Sox offering Rivera a contract after Pap left, which was understandable. And Mo didn't even consider it, which was also understandable.

    What's your opinion on the Sox re-signing Kimbrel? I'm certain he'll get the biggest contract ever for a closer-but I'm not certain I want to Sox to give it to him.

  2. I actually am in favor of letting Kimbrel go. I do not see any way he lives up to the contract in the latter years. This was not a particularly great year for him.

    I would rather see them put that money to better use later, trying to lock up Betts and Bogaerts.