A Wing of the BBA Hall of Fame
Sealing the deal. Shutting the door. Closing the game. The way in which the best relievers do their jobs is called by many names, but ultimately their task is simple; win the game when the lights are shining brightest, when the fans are roaring loudest, and when the cost of one mistake is etched into the history books for the rest of time. Those listed here are the fiercest of fireballers, the sultans of the slider, and the captivators of curveballs. Here's to the relievers, who we simply couldn't win without.
1973 - 1980
255 Saves, 2.43 ERA, 399 Ks, 0.80 WHIP, 9.4 WAR
Owner's Choice Reliever Award: 1973, 1974, 1976
All-Star: 1973, 1977
Meyer was a first round pick by Phoenix in 1973 and wasted no time getting to work, winning the Owner's Choice Reliever Award in his first season. In a six-player shake-up in January 1974, the dominant closer was shipped off to Manhattan, where he would go on to win his second consecutive OCRA in his sophomore season. He would then be traded to Vancouver in 1977, and while he spent the longest portion of his career in the city, he was at his least dominant with the Mounties, posting over 30 saves in only one season. Meyer topped the saves leaderboard across the league a couple times in his tenure, first in 1973 (43) and then in 1976 (45). Undoubtedly an impact player at the dawn of the league, the California native retired after just eight seasons in the league, and set an early bar for reliever performance.
1973 - 1985
426 Saves, 3.03 ERA, 916 Ks, 1.14 WHIP, 13.0 WAR
Owner's Choice Reliever Award: 1980
All-Star: 1973, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1981
Landis Memorial Series Ring: 1979
Lombardi was a fifth round pick in 1973 who was strong out of the gate, named an All-Star in his first season and finishing second in saves (42) to only Schmidt Meyer. Except for a brief stint with Salt Lake City, Lombardi spent his entire career with the Crusaders, as he was drafted by and retired with the franchise. In his first ten years in the league, the North Dakota native was one of the most dominant, reliable closers in the game, never finishing below 30 saves in any of the aforementioned seasons. He finished in the top ten in saves every season, except his final one. Lombardi has the 16th most saves all-time, and the 4th most saves by a Hall of Fame pitcher.
1994 - 2016
585 Saves, 3.57 ERA, 1505 Ks, 1.18 WHIP, 26.4 WAR
Gunga Oogalagunga/Jason Egan Award: 2006
All-Star: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010
Meyer went on quite the roller coaster ride over his illustrious 22-year career, coming out of the gate with a truly abysmal rookie season that saw him post a 6.63 ERA and -1.3 WAR. That would be the California native's worst season, and following his trade to Washington in his age 21 season, he made three All-Star teams with Washington over six years. Meyer appeared to be nearing the end of his rope at 30 years old, when he got rocked to the tune of a 4.57 ERA and was traded from Seattle to Greenville. But the closer was resurgent in his new city, rattling off two consecutive 2.2 WAR seasons and earning 90 saves over that time frame. Meyer would bounce around multiple teams after that, but etched his name into the history books after leading the league in saves five times and finishing in second an additional four times.
Jason 'Deacon' Egan
1997 - 2017
753 Saves, 2.91 ERA, 1496 Ks, 1.14 WHIP, 24.3 WAR
Gunga Oogalagunga/Jason Egan Award: 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
Steve Nebraska Golden Arm Award: 2007
All-Star: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
Undoubtedly the greatest reliever in BBA history, Egan's unparalleled run of dominance included a string of 8 consecutive All-Star appearances, and he made the game 15/20 years he was eligible. The Mounties legend was the third pick in the 1997 draft, and is one of the rare elite players to have stayed with one club for their entire career. Egan is the career saves leader by a country mile, and topped the season charts in the category a whopping ten times. In the Canadian's best season, when he won the Nebraska, he posted a 1.19 ERA, 50 saves, a 0.78 WHIP, and an absolutely absurd 366 ERA+. Egan will be the model young relievers hope to follow for years to come, as he set the standard for what it means to be a Hall of Fame closer.
(Atlantic City Gamblers)
1973 - 1985
401 Saves, 3.50 ERA, 912 Ks, 1.23 WHIP, 14.4 WAR
Owner's Choice Reliever Award: 1979
One of the foundational relievers in the BBA, Madisson might not have the same hardware or numbers as his Hall of Fame counterparts, but make no mistake, he was one of the game's first elite closers. The 47th overall pick in the 1973 draft, Madisson wasn't initially identified as a star destined for greatness, but in his first season all he did was impress to the tune of a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves. The southpaw saw his name on the league's top ten saves leaderboard in every one of his first 11 seasons, and was consistently a 1+ WAR arm in the pen. Madisson will always be remembered for his high-grade intelligence and his role in jump-starting the development of the league.
(New Orleans Crawdads)
1982 - 1997
425 Saves, 4,35 ERA, 1022 Ks, 1.23 WHIP, 7.4 WAR
Owner's Choice Rookie Award: 1981
Owner's Choice Reliever Award: 1984, 1986, 1988
All-Star: 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1993
A commanding rookie year, which is lost in the modernized BBA record books, showed why Oogolagunga was the third overall pick as he came firing out of the gate, saving 36 games and earning a 3.07 ERA. He wasn't dominant throughout his entire career, although his three-year stretch of All-Star appearances likely boosted his Hall of Fame stock. In that stretch, Oogolagunga had 3.4 WAR and 115 saves, leading the league in saves two of those years. The Baltimore native never did quite see the level of success with other clubs that he saw with the New Orleans Crawdads, but he secured his place in the Hall of Fame as one of the early pen pioneers.
2016 - 2033
Active Career: 2016-2033 (18 seasons)
533 Saves, 86-70, 1,400 K, 323 BB, 2.57 ERA, 29.9 WAR
4-Time Jason Egan Reliever Award
Glendenning was the premier closers in the league for several years, and perhaps of all time. He played with seven teams, but primarily with Valencia and California in their heyday seasons. Extremely strong JAWS and HOF Standards scores. His 13 All-Star Appearances and 4 Egan awards
stand testament to his place among relievers of his time, and served to secure his place in the pantheon. Inducted in 2036.