Deane: Mariano Rivera, the most valuable player at the most overrated position

From SABR member Bill Deane at WordPress on January 25, 2019:

To no one’s surprise, Mariano Rivera was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week. The former Yankees’ closer became the first ever to gain unanimous enshrinement in the BBWAA election, receiving votes from each of the 425 writers who turned in ballots. They were recognizing his record 652 regular-season saves and microscopic 2.21 ERA, along with his 42 saves and ridiculous 0.70 ERA in post-season, helping the Yankees to five world championships during his tenure. Rivera appears to meet the highest standards of integrity, sportsmanship, and character as well.

I don’t really have a problem with Rivera’s election; more so with the likes of Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, and Trevor Hoffman. In my opinion, the closer is the most overrated position in baseball. It is relatively easy to fill and succeed at, and it does not contribute nearly as much to team success as most people think. I wrote a chapter about this in Baseball Myths (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), and will add to it here.

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Originally published: January 25, 2019. Last Updated: January 25, 2019.