Mariano Rivera was voted the "This Year in Baseball" Closer of the Year for the 2004 Major League Baseball season. Nearly 800,000 ballots were cast for this year's awards by baseball fans around the globe. Thanks to everyone who voted.
ARMANDO BENITEZ Benitez had the finest season of his career, posting career bests with 47 saves, a 0.82 WHIP and a 1.29 ERA. Opponents batted just .152 against Benitez and had only 36 hits against him in 69.2 innings.
FRANCISCO CORDERO In his first season as a full-time closer, Cordero was brilliant, converting 49 of 54 save opportunities. He fanned more than a batter per inning (79 Ks in 71.2 IP) and allowed one home run the entire season.
KEITH FOULKE Boston found the dominant closer it needed in Foulke this season. With 32 saves, a 0.94 WHIP, 2.17 ERA and a 3.95 K/BB ratio, Foulke once again proved himself as one of baseball's top firemen.
ERIC GAGNE Gagne extended his record-breaking streak of consecutive saves to 84 games before seeing it come to an end on July 5. He finished 2004 with 45 saves in 47 chances, and struck out 114 batters in 82.1 innings.
TREVOR HOFFMAN After missing most of 2003, Hoffman returned to his old form, saving 41 of 45 opportunities while posting a 2.30 ERA and 0.91 WHIP -- his lowest mark in six seasons. Opponents batted just .211 against him this season.
JASON ISRINGHAUSEN Isringhausen was one of the main reasons St. Louis won a Major League-best 105 games in 2004. He tied a franchise record with 47 saves and posted a 2.87 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and .199 average against.
BRAD LIDGE Lidge was lights out after assuming Houston's closer role in June. He saved 29 of 33 chances, posted a 1.90 ERA and fanned an amazing 157 batters. He also led the Majors with an average of 14.93 Ks per nine innings.
JOE NATHAN Nathan limited opposing hitters to a .187 average, one of the main reasons he was able to save 44 of his 47 opportunities. He also tallied a 1.62 ERA and struck out 89 batters in 72.1 innings.
JOHN SMOLTZ Smoltz saved 44 of 49 chances, thanks in large part to excellent control that saw him finish with a 5.67 K/BB ratio (85 K, 13 BB). He suffered only one loss all year, the lowest mark among closers with 25 or more saves.
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