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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adieu, Trevor Hoffman

Sure, Trevor Hoffman only pitched for the Brewers for two years. And yes, he almost single handedly put the Brewers in a hole in 2010 from which they were never able to climb out. But no one can deny the positive impact he had on our favorite club over the past two seasons, both on and off the field. If nothing else we can be grateful that our new closer, John Axford, benefited from Hoffman's insights. He will undoubtedly be a better closer and pitcher for having spent time under Trevor's tutelage.

Hoffman pitched brilliantly in 2009, logging 54 innings pitched, 37 saves in 41 attempts, and 1.83 ERA on the season. After joining the team late due to a strained oblique, he pitched 18 consecutive scoreless innings. With a year like that no one can blame Doug Melvin for exercising Hoffman's $7.5 million option for 2010.

Alas, a repeat performance was not meant to be. Hoffman struggled early in 2010, due to what was later revealed to be tendinitis of the elbow. Through sheer hard work and determination, Hoffman rebounded and pitched quite well during the second half of 2010. Unfortunately for him, though not for the Brewers, then manager Ken Macha had by that time given the closer's role to John Axford. Hoffman handled his demotion with typical class. As Mike Bauman wrote yesterday, "Hoffman was first class all the way."

Thankfully, Hoffman eventually proved to Macha that he could again handle closing games for the Brewers, allowing him to reach 600 career saves, a milestone he admitted meant a lot to him. Hoffman finished his career with 601 saves, exiting The Show as the current all-time saves leader.

Great careers often do not end well-- just ask Ken Griffey, Jr. Kudos to Trevor for knowing when to hang up the spikes. Your style, grace, and signature changeup will be missed.

Today's trivia question: For what 2 teams did Trevor Hoffman record his first and last career saves?

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