A Baseball Great Gets His Due in the Press

By Noah Davis 

Trevor Hoffman won’t go down as the greatest reliever of all-time. He probably won’t go down as one of the top 10. He’ll enter the Hall of Fame at some point, but more than most will forget the name of Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader (especially after Mariano Rivera passes him next year or in early 2013).

Which is too bad, because he sounds like a stand-up guy.

“He would try to make you feel comfortable, and success never went to his head,” San Diego Padres reliever Dirk Hayhurst told The New York Times after Hoffman retired on Wednesday. “He realized everyone had kind of put him on a pedestal, so for simplicity’s sake, he learned how to perform for the people who had that expectation. But it made me feel so much better to get to know the real Trevor.”

Others were even more effusive in their praise.

“Usually with such great competitors, some guys are really cocky, some guys are all about the money or the fame, some guys don’t want any part of it, some guys are very shy. He wasn’t any of those things.” Hoffman’s replacement Heath Bell said.

The man who retires with 601 saves quietly, consistently went about his business, rarely drawing a second glance. He was efficient, effective, then in the showers; the perfect teammate.

The sad thing about the sports media world today is we only find out how good a guy he was after he’s gone.