On Sunday, Bobby Parnell notched his sixth save of the season, recording the final three outs of the Mets’ 4-3 victory over the Cubs. With the save, Parnell now has 20 in his six-year career with the Mets. Now that may not seem like much, but it does give Parnell a special title.
Tell me, my fellow Mets fans. Do you know which homegrown Met has the most saves in team history? That would be Tug McGraw, who had 86 saves in a Mets uniform. (Jesse Orosco, who had 107 saves in Flushing, made his major league debut with the Mets, but was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins and made his professional debut in their minor league system.)
Did you notice that all of the homegrown relievers ahead of Parnell pitched for the Mets exclusively in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s? When Randy Myers was traded for John Franco after the 1989 season, that began a nearly quarter century stretch in which the Mets went with closers whom they traded for or signed as free agents.
First it was John Franco (acquired from Cincinnati). Then it was Armando Benitez (acquired from Baltimore). Benitez was followed by Braden Looper (free agent signing), Billy Wagner (free agent signing), Francisco Rodriguez (free agent signing) and Frank Francisco (yup, another free agent signing). During that 20-plus year stretch, homegrown pitchers were used to close games primarily when the incumbent closer needed a day of rest or was on the disabled list.
So since the departure of Randy Myers following the 1989 campaign, which homegrown pitchers have registered the most saves for the Mets? Here is the top three list:
The only homegrown pitchers to record at least ten career saves for the Mets since Randy Myers’ last season in New York are Anthony Young and Bobby Parnell. Young is also the only homegrown closer since 1990 to record an individual season of more than seven saves when he saved 15 games in 1992 – the same year he began his major league-record 27-game losing streak.
Bobby Parnell has been given the closer duties by manager Terry Collins. He is the first homegrown pitcher since 1989 to earn that responsibility out of spring training. And he is now the team’s all-time saves leader for homegrown pitchers since that year.
The Mets have not developed many closers over the past quarter century, choosing to bring in closers from other teams. Bobby Parnell is finally getting a chance to become the next Tug McGraw, Roger McDowell or Randy Myers. If he succeeds, he stands to join those pitchers as the best homegrown closers in franchise history.
Our ninth inning savior has finally arrived! And his name is Bobby Parnell. It sure is nice to see a familiar face on the mound in the ninth inning instead of a recruit from another team.