MILWAUKEE -- It took longer -- much longer -- than he would have liked, but Trevor Hoffman finally has his nice, round number.Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader notched No. 600 on Tuesday night at Miller Park, working around a leadoff single to close out a 4-2 win over the Cardinals.
When Wisconsin's own Craig Counsell fielded a grounder and fired to Prince Fielder for the final out, Hoffman threw his hands in the air and was mobbed by teammates who understood well the magnitude of the milestone, especially considering how hard those final four saves proved to get.With a crowd of more than 33,000 cheering like they did two years ago, when the Brewers punched their ticket to the postseason, the big banner over the left-field bullpen, the one that was stuck on 596 for nearly three months, finally read "600." "It's hard to describe this moment," an emotional Hoffman told the crowd. "Just ... thank you. Thank you to everybody that stuck around. Thanks for enduring a long season. Thank you to my family on the field and the family off the field. What tremendous support I've been given by everyone. ... I appreciate every one of you guys. I hope we all remember this forever. "I think you could feel the energy tonight. ... These fans have been behind me the entire way, and I really appreciate it." Hoffman, a light-hitting shortstop who converted to pitching in 1991 and finds himself bound for Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame when he finally calls it quits, stands 45 saves ahead of the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, who is No. 2 all-time with 555. Lee Smith (478), John Franco (424) and Atlanta's Billy Wagner (417) round out the top five. Who could have seen his march to 600 taking so long? Hoffman notched 37 saves in 2009 and made the National League All-Star team in a fabulous debut season with the Brewers, a seemingly seamless transition from his 16 seasons with the Padres. He entered 2010 with 591 saves but it was a struggle from the start, as he converted only five of his first 10 save chances and lost the closer's job in June to rookie John Axford.
|3||8/6/93||vs. Colorado (first as a Padre)|
|300||8/15/01||vs. New York Mets|
|400||5/6/05||at St. Louis|
|479||9/24/06||vs. Pittsburgh (breaks Lee Smith's all-time record)|
|500||6/6/07||vs. Los Angeles Dodgers|
|555||4/28/09||vs. Pittsburgh (first as a Brewer)|
|600||9/7/10||vs. St. Louis|
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.