Legendary closer Trevor Hoffman was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, becoming the first Arizona Wildcat enshrined in Cooperstown.
Hoffman spent 18 seasons in the MLB (1993-2010), logging 601 saves, the second-most in MLB history. He spent most of his career with San Diego Padres, but did have short stints with the Florida Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers.
The seven-time All-Star had a career 2.87 ERA and allowed 6.99 hits per nine innings, which is the seventh-best mark ever among pitchers with at least 1,000 career innings.
Hoffman’s 9.36 strikeouts per nine innings rank 11th all-time, and he closed out 88.8 percent of his save chances, which is the third-best rate among closers with at least 300 saves.
The Bellflower, California native was a third-ballot Hall of Famer, receiving 79.9 of the vote. (75 percent is required for induction.)
“It’s hard to describe the emotions that flood you right away,” Hoffman said after the votes were cast in January. “I know it’s a very standard line, but so many things go through you. You think of your early days in the game, you think of parts of your career, you understand what you put in on a daily basis. To be sitting at this stage, seven years after you retire, it just comes full circle. It’s the cherry on top of a sundae.”
Hoffman was a shortstop at the University of Arizona, and he led the Wildcats in hitting in 1988 with a .371 batting average. The Cincinnati Reds selected him in the 11th round of the 1989 MLB Draft, but he struggled in his first couple years in the minors, so the Reds moved him to the bullpen in 1991.
Hoffman was chosen by the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft, and made his debut with the club that year before being shipped to San Diego.
The rest is history. Hoffman used a devastating combination of hard fastballs and wicked changeups to stifle batters for nearly two decades. He was the all-time saves leader when he retired after the 2010 season.
“I couldn’t have imagined being in a different role,” Hoffman told MLB.com. “There’s nothing better than flying those doors open, hearing some cool music, getting the fans riled up and having that home cooking to go out and get things done. It’s a great role. It’s something I cherished.”