FanPost

FIAR JOAN NAYTHEN

As we all know, Joe Nathan is the game’s worst closer because he cost Max Scherzer his first win of the season. Nathan’s status will remain this way until he proves to the fan base that he can indeed actually lead the team single-handedly to victory.

Within these frustrations, comparisons to Papa Grande and Todd Jones are commonly made. As diehard fans, we see day in and day out the roller coaster ride that is known as the closer. We see the walks, the life shortening situations, and the heart breaking homers. In our eyes, there is certainly no one who suffers anywhere nearly as bad as we do. That just isn’t possible.

However, when it comes down to it, Jose Valverde really was a successful closer in Detroit for a long time. It was only through his instant painful downfall that the memories of the perfect 49 for 49 season with a 2.24 ERA fade away into the unknown. Thus a comparison to Papa Grande really isn’t all that accurate for the world’s worst closer. This recognition bring to light two questions to explore:

1) If Jose Valverde isn’t actually the worst closer ever… well… who is?

2) Can this really make us ever feel any better about our situation?

To seek the answers to this questions, I went over the Fangraphs and created a leader board of blown saves in a single season, while eliminating innings requirements, and then picked the top three worst closers I could find. My official "Awfulness Criteria" for a closer were runners on base (WHIP), heartbreaking homers (HR/9), and unacceptable base runners (BB/9). The winners are….

Number Three: Ron Davis- Twins 1984

Name

Team

Year

Blown Saves

Saves

WHIP

HR/9

BB/9

FIP

Ron Davis

Twins

1984

13

29

1.45

1.19

4.45

4.26

Ron Davis played in the majors for 11 years, but none compared to his 1984 season. While Tigers fans were busy celebrating a World Series year, Twins fans were quickly trying to forget Davis’ record setting 13 blown saves.The irony? Despite failing at a record pace, Davis was still presented with enough opportunities to accumulate 29 successful saves.

Number Two: Brad Lidge- Philadelphia Phillies 2009

Name

Team

Year

Blown Saves

Saves

WHIP

HR/9

BB/9

FIP

Brad Lidge

Phillies

2009

11

31

1.81

1.69

5.22

5.45

Brad Lidge had a terrible 2009 season. The 11 blown saves that he gathered really only touch the surface of his struggles. He had a 5.22 walks per nine that no one would want from a reliever, let alone the closer in high leverage situations. To add to the stinging sensation in the eyes of Phillies fans everywhere, Lidge was just coming off of his 2008 campaign which included zero blown saves and a perfect 41 successful saves. His downfall into one of the worst all-time closer performances is a time that he is sure to much rather forget.

Number One: Ambiorix Burgos: Kansas City Royals 2006

Name

Team

Year

Blown Saves

Saves

WHIP

HR/9

BB/9

FIP

Ambiorix Burgos

Royals

2006

12

18

1.60

2.04

4.58

5.89

Burgos had the single season closer line that made me cringe the most. Why? A measly 60% save percentage, falling one shy of the all-time blown saves record. Combine that with 2.04 homers per nine innings and 4.58 walks per nine, Burgos had runners on base often and gave up the big hits. This proved to be only the beginning of the excitement, as Burgos was traded to the Mets for the 2007 season. The one thing Burgos ended quickly? His career. Burgos was released by the Mets in 2008 and then charged with murder in the Dominican Republic in 2010.

What’s the bottom line? We aren't watching the worst closer ever. That's about it.

But that doesn't matter. Our pain is our pain. The base runners in the ninth are there for torture, and the runs scored are purely evil. We paid good money for Mr. Joe Nathan, and until he proves stability we have no reason to believe that he isn’t the very worst ever to step foot on the mound. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM. The intentional pain inflicted upon Tigers fans is inhumane. We are witnessing history, even though it isn't truly historic.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.

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