The evolution of the cheap save record (CORRECTED)
by Bob Timmermann
The save became an official stat in 1969.
The first save was recorded by Dodgers pitcher Bill Singer on April 7, 1969, in an opening day win at Cincinnati. The Dodgers won 3-2. Singer pitched the last three innings in relief of Don Drysdale.
The next day Chuck Hartenstein of the Cubs got a save in San Francisco in a 6-2 win by Chicago in 14 innings at Candlestick Park. So quickly the record for biggest winning in a save went from +1 to +4. (The save rule was a bit different in 1969.)
On April 12, Wayne Granger of the Reds moved the mark to +9 in a 12-3 Cincinnati win over the Braves.
Locker's place in history lasted all of two days. Clay Carroll of the Reds got a save on April 22, 1969 in a 14-0 Cincinnati win at Houston. Carroll's save in a +14 game would hold up as the mark to beat for the rest of 1969.
Carroll's mark was not tied until July 7, 1971 when Astros reliever Jim Ray got a save in an 18-4 win over the Giants at Candlestick Park. Paul Linblad of Texas became the first AL pitcher to get +14 save on May 27, 1972 at Minnesota.
The next +14 save would come on May 1, 1975 as Jim Colborn of Milwaukee got the save for Pete Broberg in a 17-3 win at Detroit. The Tigers were the next victim of a +14 save when Dennis Leonard of Kansas City got one on April 9, 1977 when the Royals won at Tiger Stadium 16-2.
The +14 barrier was finally shattered, in an event as momentous as Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, when Ramon Hernandez of the Cubs got a save in a 23-6 win over the Padres at Wrigley Field on May 17, 1977. The record was now +17.
Hernandez's mark would not be match for nearly nine years. Mickey Mahler of Texas got a save in a 19-2 win by the Rangers over the Indians at Cleveland on May 12, 1986.
Stan Belinda upped the ante on September 4, 1999 while pitching for the Reds. He pitched the last three innings of Cincinnati's 22-3 win at Philadelphia. Actually, Ed Vosberg had a +19 save first on April 19, 1996 pitching for Texas against Baltimore in a 26-7 game.