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Hoffman Gets Saves Record

He passes Smith on the all-time list with No. 479, and the Padres get a 2-1 win over the Pirates.

September 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — There was no doubt for whom the heavy-metal bells were tolling on Sunday -- Trevor Hoffman and his 479 saves.

The San Diego Padres' 38-year-old closer pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning in front of a roaring crowd to become baseball's all-time saves leader in a memorable 2-1 win for the NL West leaders over Pittsburgh.

As soon as NL batting leader Freddy Sanchez grounded out to shortstop, Hoffman had passed Lee Smith and the celebration was on.

Even the Pirates stuck around, applauding from the dugout. Pittsburgh Manager Jim Tracy, who managed Hoffman the year he was converted from shortstop to reliever in the minor leagues, stood on the top step and clapped.

"It's overwhelming," Hoffman said. "It becomes a very humbling experience. It's hard to put into words what it truly feels like."

When Hoffman saw the Pirates applauding, he doffed his cap toward them, then placed it over his heart.

Commissioner Bud Selig called to congratulate Hoffman. Hoffman's jersey, cap, game ball and cleats will be going to the Hall of Fame.

It was his NL-best 43rd save in 48 chances.

Smith earned 478 saves from 1980-1997. The Padres invited Smith to be in San Diego, but he had prior commitments.

Manager Bruce Bochy said he reflected on all the times Hoffman has closed games.

"It was emotional for me," Bochy said. "He's such a special guy, great teammate. We all know about his talent, but as a person, they just don't get any better."

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Begin text of infobox

Closing the deal

Career save leaders since 1969, when saves became an official major league statistic:

*--* Rk. Player Saves 1. x-Trevor Hoffman 479 2. Lee Smith 478 3. John Franco 424 4. x-Mariano Rivera 413 5. Dennis Eckersley 390 6. Jeff Reardon 367 7. Randy Myers 347 8. Rollie Fingers 341 9. John Wetteland 330 10. x-Roberto Hernandez 326

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x-active

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Source: Associated Press

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