Trevor Hoffman, former closer for the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers, is the all-time saves leader.

In baseball statistics, the term save is used to indicate the successful maintenance of a lead by a relief pitcher, usually the closer, until the end of the game. A save is a statistic credited to a relief pitcher, as set forth in Rule 10.19 of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball. That rule states the official scorer shall credit a pitcher with a save when such pitcher meets all four of the following conditions:

  1. He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team;
  2. He is not the winning pitcher;
  3. He is credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched; and
  4. He satisfies one of the following conditions:
    1. He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning
    2. He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck
    3. He pitches for at least three innings

If the pitcher surrenders the lead at any point, he cannot get a save, but he may be credited as the winning pitcher if his team comes back to win. No more than one save may be credited in each game.

A blown save (abbreviated BS or B) is charged to a pitcher who enters a game in a situation which permits him to earn a save (this does not include entering the game before there is one out in the 7th inning, although pitchers that enter the game before there is an out in the 7th inning and while their team has the lead are in a situation where they could earn a save by pitching the last 3 full innings of the game) (a save situation or save opportunity), but who instead allows the tying run to score. Note that if the tying run was scored by a runner who was already on base when the new pitcher entered the game, that new pitcher will be charged with a blown save even though the run will not be charged to the new pitcher, but rather to the pitcher who allowed that runner to reach base. On the other hand, a tough save occurs when a pitcher enters a save situation with the potential tying run already on base, but still earns the save. Since this is guaranteed to be a high pressure situation, earning tough saves is the mark of the great closer.  

A notable occurrence of the “three innings pitched” save scenario is the save earned by Wes Littleton in the Texas Rangers’ 30–3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on August 22, 2007. Littleton entered the game at the beginning of the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Rangers had a 14–3 lead, and pitched the final three innings. The Rangers subsequently scored an additional 16 runs, resulting in the final 27 run margin. However, despite the final score of the game, Littleton was credited with the save as he met all four criteria: 1) he was the finishing pitcher in the game that the Rangers won, 2) he was not the winning pitcher (the Rangers were leading when he entered the game), 3) he was credited with at least 1/3rd of an inning pitched, and 4) he pitched at least three innings (the 7th, 8th, and 9th).


I often get a little confused about how a pitcher earns a “save” in baseball.  In all the years of watching baseball, especially Longhorn Baseball, I had never read the rule on saves.  So, I decided to read the rules and understand it once and always (unless my memory fails).

I get real excited when the closer (pitcher) comes into a close game.  It takes a certain type of pitcher to take on the roll of closer.  In the last few years at The University of Texas, there have been a couple of closers that have really been impressive:  Huston Street and Chance Ruffin.  The Longhorns have a freshman pitcher this year that has the potential to be a great closer.  There is something special about the closer entering the game.  His job is different from a starter or middle inning relief pitcher.  Most of them seem to be “bulletproof,” with such concentration on the business at hand.  They only have 1 to 3 innings to pitch, so they are able to give their all to the situation at hand.

A “save” in baseball is really exciting to me.  As I pondered this, I can only imagine what a “save” means to God.  There is no comparison in a “save” for a pitcher in baseball and a soul “saved” for God.  Just use you imagination for a moment.  Imagine God looking down from Heaven and seeing the process of a soul being “saved” through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Now that must be an excitement that is beyond our understanding.  Salvation is not just available during the last few “innings” of the game.  It is available in the early innings.  The game I speak of is the game of life leading to eternal life.

When God is concerned, there is no BS (blown save).  When He comes into the game, He can be depended on get the “save” and make certain of the win.


One Response to ““SAVE (BASEBALL)””

  1. Debbie Black Says:


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