One of the greatest closers in MLB history will finally receive the recognition that he deserves this July when he joins Dave Winfield and Tony Gwynn as the only San Diego Padre to be inducted into the National Hall of Fame. Trevor Hoffman was one of four All-Time Greats to appear on 75% of the ballots in the 2018 Hall of Fame Election joining Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, and Chipper Jones.
Trevor Hoffman’s road to Cooperstown is very unusual and just shows you the if you work really hard, you can make it in this game. In 1991, Hoffman was a minor league shortstop in the Cinncinati Reds organization, struggling to prove he belonged. Then-manager Jim Lett suggested a switch and the rest is history.
Hoffman went on to revolutionize the closer role and set the bar at 601 career saves, a number that has only been reached once (Mariano Rivera 642). In addition to being one of two men in history to compile 600+ Saves, Trevor also was selected to play in 7 All-Star Games, had two top 2 Cy Young Award finishes and finished in the top 30 in 3 MVP races. Hoffman accumulated 1133 strikeouts with a 1.058 WHIP, and an ERA of 2.87 in 1089.1 total innings pitched. Not bad for a failed shortstop who made 25 error by the break in A-Ball.
“You don’t play this game thinking you’re going to be part of a 1 percent,” Hoffman said. “The numbers are mind-boggling. You ultimately have to put your head down, believe in what the work’s going to take, believe in that process and continue to refine your craft, no matter what it is. Having started as an infielder and to ultimately make it to the mound and get an opportunity to do it for a while isn’t a normal progression that you get at this point in your life. But I had great examples in my two bigger brothers, my parents, a wonderful woman that I’ve been able to share three great children with.”
Hoffman was traded from the Florida Marlins to the San Diego Padres in the middle of the 1993 season after making just 67 relief appearances with the Marlins in his rookie year. Trevor would play for San Diego for the next 15 of his 18 career seasons. After he had established himself as one of the greatest players to ever wear a Padres jersey, Hoffman was traded to the Brewers, where he would play the final two years of his career.
After coming agonizingly close to induction in 2017 and being on 74% of the ballots (5 votes short), Hoffman has finally been elected to the Hall of Fame after garnering 79.9% of the votes. Hoffman truly went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, going from a failed shortstop that likely wouldn’t have made it to the show, to one of the greatest closers ever, and he will now forever be immortalized in Cooperstown with his name in bronze.