Annual pitching award named for Trevor Hoffman

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SAN DIEGO — The National League’s annual award for the best reliever will be named for retired San Diego Padres great Trevor Hoffman, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday.

Trevor HoffmanThe American League version will be named for Mariano Rivera, who ended his career after last season. Rivera and Hoffman rank first and second on baseball’s career saves list, with 652 and 601, respectively.

Hoffman served as the Padres closer from 1994 to 2008, tossing a wicked change-up that threw hitters off balance. He was also a fan favorite, entering games to the tune of AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells.”

“Both Mariano and Trevor represented our sport magnificently on and off the mound and earned the universal respect of our fans in their legendary careers,” said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said. “I believe it is appropriate to redefine an existing award in honor of their contributions to baseball, and I am delighted that many of the most decorated relievers in history will select the winners.”

A panel of nine former relief pitchers will choose the award winners.

Beside Hoffman and Rivera, the panelists will be Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner. Fingers and Gossage are also former Padres relievers.

The nine voters will rank the top three relief pitchers in each league based on regular season performance, with the winners being the ones who collect the most points, according to Major League Baseball.

The new honors will replace the Delivery Man of the Year Award, which was presented to one winner in all of Major League Baseball from 2005-2013.

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