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Trevor Hoffman

Milwaukee Brewers — No. 51
Relief pitcher
Born: October 13, 1967 (1967-10-13) (age 42)
Bellflower, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
April 6, 1993 for the Florida Marlins
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Win-Loss     59-68
Earned run average     2.73
Strikeouts     1,103
Saves     591 [1]
Career highlights and awards

MLB Records

  • 591 career saves

Trevor William Hoffman (born October 13, 1967, Bellflower, California) is a right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers. A long-time closer, he is currently the Major Leagues' all-time leader in saves with 591, [1] having broken the previous record held by Lee Smith on September 24, 2006. He is considered extremely likely to be elected to the Hall of Fame and would join the five other closers who have received that honor.[2]


Early life

He often accompanied his father to California Angels games. His older brother is the former major league shortstop, Glenn Hoffman, who played from 1980–1989 for the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and California Angels and briefly managed the Dodgers in 1998. He and his brother both attended and played for Savanna High School.

When Hoffman was five weeks old, he had to have a damaged kidney removed because an arterial blockage had formed there.[3]

Personal life

Trevor Hoffman married his wife, Tracy, a former Buffalo Bills cheerleader, during Super Bowl XXVII in 1993.

Pre-professional baseball career

Hoffman played baseball for the Savanna High School "Rebels" in Anaheim, California, and later for the University of Arizona from 1987 to 1989. He played shortstop and led the team in hitting in 1988. In 1989, he had a .371 batting average, 35 points better than teammates J.T. Snow and Jeff Grier.

Professional baseball career

Minor leagues

Hoffman was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in 11th Round (288th overall) of the 1989 amateur entry draft (June-Reg). Hoffman played shortstop and third base for the Reds' Single-A affiliate Charleston. In his first 103 games, he only batted .212 with 23 runs batted in. Hoffman was converted to pitcher in 1991 at the suggestion of Charleston manager Jim Lett. In his first season on the mound, Hoffman threw a total of 47⅔ innings with a 1.89 ERA and 75 strikeouts at Single-A Cedar Rapids and Double-A Chattanooga.

Major leagues (1993–present)


Hoffman was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. He is one of only three currently active players in Major League Baseball remaining from the Marlins' 1993 inaugural season, the others being fellow relief pitcher David Weathers and outfielder Gary Sheffield.

Midway through the 1993 season, Hoffman was traded to the San Diego Padres during San Diego's infamous 1993 fire sale that sent slugger Gary Sheffield from San Diego to Florida. Hoffman is the only prospect acquired from the fire sale to develop into an every day major leaguer.

During the strike-shortened 1994, Hoffman took over closer duties for Gene Harris. Although at the time Tony Gwynn's flirtation with batting .400 was the only truly positive note in that terrible season for the Padres, in retrospect Hoffman's 20 saves and earned run average of 2.57 portended a brighter future for himself and the team.

1995 was a step backward as Hoffman pitched most of the year with a torn rotator cuff which forced him to have off-season surgery. However, this is also the year during which he developed his change up/palm ball.


Petco Park's unique introduction for Hoffman's entrance during his tenure with the Padres.

In both 1996 and 1997, Hoffman pitched over 80 innings, with 111 strikeouts, averaged approximately 40 saves, and had ERAs of 2.25 and 2.66. In 1996, Hoffman defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in LA to the clinch the NL West.

The 1998 season was arguably Hoffman's best. He had a career-high 53 saves and a career-best 1.48 ERA. His 53 saves that year tied the NL single-season record set in 1993 by the Cubs' Randy Myers. His numbers got him into the Cy Young race that year, but he lost to Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves, despite receiving 13 first-place votes to Glavine's 11. Hoffman, along with Adam Wainwright in 2009 are the only two pitchers to ever receive the most first-place votes and not win the Cy Young. Hoffman didn't go unrecognized for his achievements in 1998, however. He won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and the The Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award.

Hoffman led San Diego to the 1998 World Series but lost against the New York Yankees in four games, including a game where he took the loss after allowing a three-run home run while the Padres led 3-2. It was during this year that Hoffman began entering save situations in Padres home games with AC/DC's "Hells Bells" playing over the public address system.[4]


Hoffman followed his 1998 performance by averaging over 40 saves over the next four years (40, 43, 43, 38). His 1998 and 1999 seasons were rewarded with a four-year contract for 2000–04 worth $32 million. Further, his career was beginning to be followed on a national stage and compared to other greats including Dennis Eckersley. Hoffman broke Eckersley's record for most saves with one team (320) in 2002.[5] Significantly, Sports Illustrated dedicated their May 13, 2002 issue to Hoffman calling him the greatest closer in MLB history.[6]


Hoffman sat out most of the 2003 season while recovering from two off season shoulder surgeries, including one that trimmed the tip of his scapula. This year was the first time he had been on the disabled list in 10 major league seasons. In his absence, Rod Beck closed for the Padres. In 2004, Hoffman returned to the closers role. His 2.30 ERA in 2004 was his lowest since 1998.

On May 6, 2005, Hoffman recorded his 400th save against the St. Louis Cardinals and became the third pitcher in Major League history to reach the milestone, following John Franco (424 saves) and Lee Smith (478 saves). On August 24, 2005, Hoffman passed Franco for second place on the all-time saves list with #425 after the Padres beat the Houston Astros 7–4. Against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hoffman clinched the Padres to the post-season.

2006 was a year of several milestones, including one significant disappointment for Hoffman. He was the losing pitcher in the 2006 All-Star Game, despite having two strikes with two outs on eventual MVP Michael Young. On the positive side, August 20 marked Hoffman's 776th outing for the Padres, breaking the Pirates Elroy Face's major league record for most relief appearances with one club, according to the Elias Sports Bureau [3]. Even more significantly, on September 24, Hoffman became the all-time Major League saves leader by saving his 479th career game in a 2–1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, surpassing Lee Smith's record. Hoffman ended the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks in 4 straight clinching playoff appearances.


Hoffman pitching for the Padres in 2008.

On April 29, 2007, Hoffman pitched in his 803rd game for the Padres, breaking the record for games pitched for any one team. The record was previously held by both Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators and Elroy Face of the Pittsburgh Pirates. On June 6, 2007, at PETCO Park, Hoffman recorded his 500th career save against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He struck out Russell Martin looking, with a fastball, to secure the 5–2 win for the Padres. Hoffman was the first pitcher in history to log 500 saves, having been joined by Mariano Rivera on June 28, 2009. On July 1, 2007, Hoffman was named to the NL All Star Team for the sixth time in his career, along with teammates Jake Peavy and Chris Young. On September 8, 2007 (against the Colorado Rockies) Hoffman struck-out his 1000th hitter, a feat matched by only 7 other relief pitchers. On September 27, 2007 (against the Pittsburgh Pirates) Hoffman picked up his 40th save of the 2007 season. This is his ninth season with 40 saves, another Major League record. On October 1, 2007, in the Padres' tie-breaker wild card game against the Colorado Rockies, Hoffman blew a save and his team's 8–6 lead in the 13th inning. He took the loss when he allowed the game-winning run to score on a sacrifice fly.

During Spring Training 2008, Hoffman repeatedly told the sports press that he was looking forward to vindicating his lost save against the Colorado Rockies. On April 1, 2008, during the second game of the season, Hoffman recorded his first save of the 2008 season against the Houston Astros. On August 14, 2008 (against the Milwaukee Brewers) Hoffman reached another milestone – 550 saves. On September 19, 2008 (against the Washington Nationals) Hoffman recorded his 900th career MLB game, Padres won 11–6 in a 5-run 14th inning rally.

It was announced on November 10, 2008, that Hoffman would not return to San Diego in 2009. The Padres retracted the $4 million dollar offer with an option for 2010, which ended his career with the Padres.[7]


On January 13, 2009, Trevor Hoffman signed a one-year $6 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.[8] Hoffman suffered a strained muscle on the right side of his rib cage in Spring Training,[9] and started the season on the DL. Hoffman made his Milwaukee Brewers debut on April 27, 2009 with a 10–5 lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates.[10] Hoffman recorded his first save for the Brewers the next day on April 28, 2009 in a 6–5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.[11]

He was selected as an All Star in 2009 as a late replacement, making his seventh appearance, and first as a Brewer.

Hoffman re-signed with the Brewers for 2010 with a mutual option for the 2011 season.[12]

Pitching style

When Hoffman first came into the league, he threw in the low- to mid-90's with a tight curveball. Hoffman’s repertoire now includes one of the game’s best changeups, a more modest four-seam fastball in the 84–88 MPH range, a slower cut fastball that moves in towards a left-handed batter, and he even mixes in a slider and a curveball a handful of times a year for good measure. However, for all intents and purposes, Hoffman is a two-pitch pitcher, alternating between fastballs and changeups. It is the arm action on the change up and the late sink just before it reaches the plate that has allowed Hoffman to be as successful as he has been over the years. [13]

As recently as 1998, Trevor’s finest season when he finished second in Cy Young Award voting and seventh in MVP voting, he threw a fastball in the low 90’s. However, his velocity has dropped off in recent years. His velocity has actually improved since he had shoulder surgery that forced him to miss most of the 2003 season. Before that procedure, Hoffman’s fastball had slowed to the low to mid 80’s. Despite his diminished velocity, Hoffman’s strikeout numbers remained very good, striking out more than a batter per inning every season up to 2003 and striking out nearly that many in 2004 and 2005. The 2006 season, though, saw his strikeout numbers fall off noticeably.

Trevor Hoffman learned the change up, which he now throws with a palmball [4] grip from teammate Donnie Elliott during the 1994 player's strike. Hoffman's original change-up was a conventional circle changeup taught to him by Cincinnati scout Larry Barton. [13] He began using the palm ball grip in 1995 when he did not have his best fastball because he was pitching most of the year with a torn rotator cuff. Hoffman opted to pitch through the pain and have surgery in the off-season rather than end his season early. He came back the following year to throw in the low 90's, with a tight curveball and that terrific changeup. The key to the pitch, Hoffman explains in the September 11, 2006 edition of ESPN The Magazine, is how he pinches the seam of the ball with his thumb and index finger as he releases it. He throws the changeup with the arm speed used to throw a fastball. In this article, writer Buster Olney attributes Hoffman's initial loss of velocity and torn rotator cuff in 1995 to horsing around at Del Mar Beach near San Diego during the strike. Over the years, Hoffman has lost 10 mph off his fastball. But he has altered his change-up to 7–10 mph slower than his fastball.[13] Until recently, Hoffman kept the grip of his change-up a secret. “I was a little weird about it,” Hoffman said. “I didn't like talking about how I threw the change. I didn't want people to see how I gripped the ball. I thought I'd be giving away something to the hitters.”[13]

Milestone saves

Save Date & Opponent Score Note
1 April 29, 1993 at Atlanta 6–5 First Major League save (with the Florida Marlins)
2 June 7, 1993 at Los Angeles 5–3 Final save with the Marlins
3 August 6, 1993 vs. Colorado 6–3 First save with the Padres
100 April 13, 1997 at Philadelphia 3–1
111 June 23, 1997 at San Francisco 11–6 Broke Rollie Fingers' club record with Padres save No. 109
200 June 10, 1999 vs. Oakland 2–1
300 August 15, 2001 vs. New York (NL) 2–1
323 May 1, 2002 vs. Chicago (NL) 4–3 Broke the Major League record for most career saves with one team (321)
391 September 18, 2004 at San Francisco 5–1 Moved past Dennis Eckersley for third place on the all-time saves list
400 May 6, 2005 at St. Louis 6–5
402 May 9, 2005 at Cincinnati 6–5 400th save with the Padres
425 August 24, 2005 vs. Houston 7–4 Moved past John Franco for second place on the all-time saves list
479 September 24, 2006 vs. Pittsburgh 2–1 Moved past Lee Smith to become the all-time saves leader
500 June 6, 2007 vs. Los Angeles 5–2 Became first pitcher to reach 500 saves.
502 June 26, 2007 vs. San Francisco 3–2 500th save with Padres.
530 May 10, 2008 vs. Colorado 3–2 Saved win No. 350 for Greg Maddux.
550 August 14, 2008 vs. Milwaukee 3–2 550th career save.
554 September 27, 2008 vs Pittsburgh 3–2 Final Save with the Padres.
555 April 28, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh 6–5 First Save with the Milwaukee Brewers


  • 7-time All-Star (1998–2000, 2002, 2006–2007, 2009)
  • 2-time winner of Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award (1998, 2006)
  • Hutch Award for service to the community (2004)
  • Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (2006)
  • 3-time winner of TSN Gatorade Server of the Year Award (1996, 1998, 2006)
  • 2-time National League saves leader (1998, 2006)
  • 2-time NL Pitcher of the month (May, 2005; May, 2009)
  • 774 Games finished, most among any active pitcher (tie 2nd All-Time)
  • Holds MLB record with 8 consecutive seasons with 30 or more saves (1995–2002)
  • Holds MLB record with 15 20-Save seasons [5] (1994–2002, 2004–2009)
  • Holds MLB record with 14 30-Save seasons [6] (1995–2002, 2004–2009)
  • Holds MLB record with 9 40-Save seasons [7] (1996, 1998–2001, 2004–2007)
  • 89.53% career save percentage [8] (522 saves in 583 opportunities) is best in MLB History (minimum 190 opportunities) (as of Sept. 20, 2007)
  • 4-time winner of the “DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award” (May, 2005; September, 2006; May, 2007; May, 2009)
  • In the January 2008 issue of San Diego Magazine Trevor Hoffman was chosen as one of the "50 People to Watch in 2008" [9]

See also


  1. ^ a b Historical Player Stats –
  2. ^ Jerry Crasnick, "Surveying Hoffman's Hall of Fame Case,", 2 June 2007 [1]; Crasnick's survey of 62 eligible Hall of Fame voters showed that 58 intend to vote for Hoffman with the remaining four undecided.
  3. ^ Olney, Buster (2006-09-11). "Change Artist: How did Trevor Hoffman go from a scrawny Minor League shortstop with one kidney to a hall of fame closer? He got a grip". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved 2009-09-27.  
  4. ^ Anthony Tarantino, "For whom the bell tolls: Who'd have thought 'Trevor Time' would start a majorswide trend?" San Diego Union-Tribune, April 19, 2004 [2]
  5. ^ Bernie Wilson, "Hoffman's gone from boos to 321 saves with Padres," A.P. News Wire, May 2, 2002.
  6. ^ The largest story to advance this view is the cover story for Sports Illustrated, May 13, 2002 (see accompanying image).
  7. ^ Bloom, Barry &, Brock, Corey (2008-11-11). "Padres withdraw offer to Hoffman". Retrieved 2009-09-27.  
  8. ^ Sources: Hoffman, Brewers have deal. Retrieved on 2009-01-08.
  9. ^ Brewers' Hoffman still on the mend
  10. ^ Crew keeps cool, pulls out win late
  11. ^ Hoffman cranks up volume in first save
  12. ^ "Hoffman agrees to deal with Brewers", 2009-10-05; retrieved 2009-10-25
  13. ^ a b c d Center, Bill (2006-09-26). "One pitch wound up changing baseball history". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2009-09-27.  

External links

Preceded by
Jeff Shaw
Chad Cordero
National League Saves Champion
Succeeded by
Ugueth Urbina
José Valverde
Preceded by
Jeff Shaw
Chad Cordero
National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year
Succeeded by
Billy Wagner
José Valverde
Preceded by
Lee Smith
All-time Major League Saves Leader
Preceded by
John Smoltz
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Succeeded by
Mike Timlin

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