Friday, November 16, 2012

Putting Out The Fire

I have always been a fan of fire engines. So imagine the excitement when I came across the Fleer Ultra sub-set Ultra Firemen. What isn't there to love about a set that honors the men who come in and preserve the lead in the close game and a fire engine background. Add in that the fronts of these cards are the men in action instead of just standing there and you have a great set.

                                                    1.  Jeff Montgomery
Jeff saved 304 games and had a 3.27 ERA and struck out 733 hitters while doing it. The worst part of the ERA came in his final season. A season that he only saved 12 games in.

                                                     2. Duane Ward
Duane saved a measly 121 games with a 3.28 ERA and 679 strikeouts. Unfortunately when this set was made his career was over. 1995 he played in four games getting no saves.

                                                    3. Tom Henke
Tom saved 311 games had a 2.67 ERA and 861 strikeouts  The 1993 season was his best with 40 saves and solidified his name in this set. He finished his career in 1995 but not before getting 51 more saves in 1994 and 1995.

                                                     4. Roberto Hernandez
Roberto saved 326 games had a 3.25 ERA and 945 strikeouts in a 17 year career. When this set was made Roberto was more of a prospective closer as he had 50 saves in three season with 38 coming in 1993. While he had some great seasons from the pen he had his fair share of forgettable ones as well.

                                                     5. Dennis Eckersley
When people run through the list of greatest closers of all time Dennis Eckersley is always on people's list. Where on that list is up to whomever made the list but he's on there. Playing 24 seasons and not getting the closers role until 13 years into that career. Dennis accumulated 390 saves with a 3.50 ERA and an amazing 2401 strikeouts. When you figure that all but three of those saves were in his last 11 seasons. It's no wonder he's considered one of the all-time greats.

                                                             6. Randy Myers
Tossed around from team to team during his entire 14 year career. Playing for 7 teams during that span. When you put him with this group I always make the mistake of forgetting him. While not being as colorful of a character as the other closers on this list. Compared career wise to the other 9 he was quietly one of the top three if not top two. Acquiring 347 saves a 3.19 ERA and 884 strikeouts.

                                                               7. Rod Beck
With his intimidating look, I see Rod Beck as one of the old school closers. The type of guy who looked like if you saw him in a dark alley or on the mound pitching you knew it was over. Having 286 saves an ERA of 3.30 and 644 strikeouts in a 13 year career. Unfortunately his life was cut short when he was found dead in his home in 2007.

                                                              8. Bryan Harvey
Another member of this group who has you asking what is he doing in this set. Bryan saved on 177 games with a 2.49 ERA and 448 strikeouts in 9 seasons, With 45 saves in 1993 we'll have to go with that being the lone reason he made this list.

                                                             9.  John Wetteland
Another of the guys who came in and got things done without all the antics of other closers Wetteland amassed 330 saves an  2.93 ERA and 804 strikeouts in 12 seasons. Playing for 4 teams I remember him most for his time with the Rangers more than the other teams he played for.

                                                            10. Mitch Williams
 The 'Wild Thing' has to be the craziest guy in this set. With 1993 being his career best season of the 11 he played. Mitch had 192 saves an ERA of 3.65 which was made higher due to a 10.00 ERA in his final season of 1997. With 660 strikeouts and 544 base on balls it was easy to see where he got the nickname.

As you will also notice I only pictured 8 of the ten cards in this set. I'd love to add the last two cards and complete this set. So if you have a spare #2 Duane Ward and/or #6 Randy Myers lets get a trade done.

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