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METS CLOSERS: A RETROSPECTIVE

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Just a quick rundown of the Mets closers since 1990.

YEAR   PLAYER                      IP    ERA    SO   BB   HR   SV
2005   Braden Looper        59.1   3.94    27   22    7   28
2004   Braden Looper        83.1   2.70    60   16    5   29
2003   Armando Benitez      51.0   3.71    35   17    6   21
2002   Armando Benitez      67.1   2.27    79   25    8   33
2001   Armando Benitez      76.1   3.77    93   40   12   43
2000   Armando Benitez      76.0   2.60   106   38   10   41
1999   Armando Benitez      78.0   1.85   128   41    4   22
1999   John Franco          40.2   2.88    41   19    1   19
1998   John Franco          64.2   3.62    59   29    4   38
1997   John Franco          60.0   2.55    53   20    3   36
1996   John Franco          54.0   1.83    48   21    2   28
1995   John Franco          51.2   2.44    41   17    4   29
1994   John Franco          50.0   2.70    42   19    2   30
1993   John Franco          36.1   5.20    29   19    6   10
1992   John Franco          33.0   1.64    20   11    1   15
1991   John Franco          55.1   2.93    45   18    2   30
1990   John Franco          67.2   2.53    56   21    4   33
The Mets have featured only three closers in the past 16 seasons. Johnny Franco was a very good pitcher for a very long time. Armando Benitez' 1999 will go down as one of the single greatest reliever seasons in baseball history. His K/9 rate of 14.77 was the best ever until Eric Gagne bested it a few years back. He also only surrendered four homeruns that year in almost 80 innings.

Looking at these numbers I forgot how good Mets closers have been. We have given them a lot of grief, particularly because of certain blown saves in certain big games. On the whole, Franco and Benitez were terrific, and even Looper had a very good 2004 season before falling in a ditch in 2005.

Billy Wagner probably won't approach the numbers 'Mando put up in 1999, but I expect him to be damn good.