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Indians' Allen ties Bob Wickman for franchise lead in saves

By PAUL HOYNES • Jul 4, 2018 at 7:30 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With a four-out save in Tuesday’s 6-4 win at Kansas City, Cleveland Indians closer Cody Allen tied Bob Wickman for the all-time career saves record. Below is a look at the current top 10 in team history:

No.1. Bob Wickman

Wickman, who pitched for the Indians from 2000-06, no longer has sole possession of the Indians franchise record for saves. Cody Allen tied him Tuesday night with a save against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

They each have 139 saves.

Wickman's best year with the Indians was in 2005 when he saved 45 games in 50 chances to lead the American League. As a boy Wickman had to tip of his right index finger cut off by an electric fan. He said it helped the movement on his pitches.

In a game against the Twins at the Metrodome on May 4, 2005, there was a runner on second base late in the game. Wickman felt he was stealing signs from the catcher and relaying them to the batter so he intentionally balked him to third base before getting out of the inning to earn the save.

Wickman finished his career with 267 saves.

No. 1. Cody Allen

Right-hander Cody Allen tied Wickman for the franchise record in saves on Tuesday night as he went 1 1/3 innings against the Royals for his 17th save of the season in a 6-4 victory at Kauffman Stadium. It was the 139th save of Allen's career.

Allen was a 23rd round pick by the Indians in 2011. He rocketed through the minor league system, making his big league debut on July 20, 2012 against Baltimore.

He has proven to be a durable reliever, who can be counted on in leverage situations. From 2013 through 2017, Allen never made fewer than 69 appearances in a season. He is the franchise leader in strikeouts and appearances for a reliever.

No. 3. Doug Jones

Doug Jones pitched for the Indians from 1986-91, earning 129 saves. He returned for a cameo appearance in 1998.

Jones' best pitch was the circle change up. In the words of former Tribe manager Doc Edward, Jones' change of pace had three speeds — "slow, slower and slowest."

His best season with the Indians was in 1990 when he went 5-5 with 43 saves and a 2.56 ERA. Jones proved to be durable. When he was 40, he saved 36 games for Milwaukee in 1997.

In 16 years, Jones saved 303 games, not bad for a guy who didn't get a real chance in the big leagues until he was 29 because people didn't think he threw hard enough.

No. 4. Chris Perez

Chris Perez, who pitched parts of five seasons with the Indians from 2009 through 2013, saved 124 games in Cleveland. He was known as much for his mouth as his arm.

During his stay with the Tribe, he criticized teammates, the front office and ownership, managers, fans, the media and even Cleveland's sacred cow — the Browns. He went to the All-Star Game in 2011 and 2012, finishing those seasons with 36 and 39 saves, respectively.

The Indians acquired Perez in a trade from St. Louis on June 27, 2009 for third baseman Mark DeRosa. In 2013, authorities raided Perez's Cleveland-area home when a small package of marijuana was delivered to the home. It was addressed to the Perez family dog.

No. 5. Jose Mesa

Jose Mesa is probably the most famous closer in Indians history. Not for his accomplishments — which were many — but his failure to protect a 2-1 ninth-inning lead in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. The Indians lost that game, and the World Series to the Marlins, in 11 innings.

Mesa pitched for the Indians from 1992-98 and saved 102 games. He came to them from Baltimore in 1992 as a so-so starter. In 1994, manager Mike Hargrove and pitching coach Phil Regan moved him to the bullpen.

To say Mesa adjusted quickly is an understatement. He went 7-5 in 51 appearances as a set-up man in 1994. He took over the closer's role in 1995, leading the big leagues with 46 saves in 48 chances.

Mesa's 46 saves are a single-season franchise record. In a 19-year career, Mesa ranks 18th all-time in saves with 321.

CLEVELAND.COM

Cody Allen ties Bob Wickman for franchise lead in saves among Cleveland Indians' Top 10 closers

By Paul Hoynes, cleveland.com | Posted July 04, 2018 at 01:02 AM | Updated July 04, 2018 at 01:05 AM

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Bob Wickman. (Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer)

No.1. Bob Wickman

KANSAS CITY -- Bob Wickman, who pitched for the Indians from 2000 to 2006, no longer has sole possession of the Indians franchise record for saves. Cody Allen tied him Tuesday night with a save against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

They each have 139 saves.

Wickman's best year with the Indians was in 2005 when he saved 45 games in 50 chances to lead the American League. As a boy Wickman had to tip of his right index finger cut off by an electric fan. He said it helped the movement on his pitches.

In a game against the Twins at the Metrodome on May 4, 2005, there was a runner on second base late in the game. Wickman felt he was stealing signs from the catcher and relaying them to the batter so he intentionally balked him to third base before getting out of the inning to earn the save.

Wickman finished his career with 267 saves.

Cody Allen. (Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer)

No. 1. Cody Allen

Right-hander Cody Allen tied Wickman for the franchise record in saves on Tuesday night as he went 1 1/3 innings against the Royals for his 17th save of the season in a 6-4 victory at Kauffman Stadium. It was the 139th save of Allen's career.

Allen was a 23rd round pick by the Indians in 2011. He rocketed through the minor league system, making his big league debut on July 20, 2012 against Baltimore.

He has proven to be a durable reliever, who can be counted on in leverage situations. From 2013 through 2017, Allen never made fewer than 69 appearances in a season. He is the franchise leader in strikeouts and appearances for a reliever.

Doug Jones. (Cleveland Indians archive)

No. 3. Doug Jones

Doug Jones pitched for the Indians from 1986 through 1991, earning 129 saves. He returned for a cameo appearance in 1998.

Jones' best pitch was the circle change up. In the words of former Tribe manager Doc Edward, Jones' change of pace had three speeds -- "slow, slower and slowest."

His best season with the Indians was in 1990 when he went 5-5 with 43 saves and a 2.56 ERA. Jones proved to be durable. When he was 40, he saved 36 games for Milwaukee in 1997.

In 16 years, Jones saved 303 games, not bad for a guy who didn't get a real chance in the big leagues until he was 29 because people didn't think he threw hard enough.

Chris Perez (left), Yan Gomes. (Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer)

No. 4. Chris Perez

Chris Perez, who pitched parts of five seasons with the Indians from 2009 through 2013, saved 124 games in Cleveland. He was known as much for his mouth as his arm.

During his stay with the Tribe, he criticized teammates, the front office and ownership, managers, fans, the media and even Cleveland's sacred cow -- the Browns. He went to the All-Star Game in 2011 and 2012, finishing those seasons with 36 and 39 saves, respectively.

The Indians acquired Perez in a trade from St. Louis on June 27, 2009 for third baseman Mark DeRosa. In 2013, authorities raided Perez's Cleveland-area home when a small package of marijuana was delivered to the home. It was addressed to the Perez family dog.

Jose Mesa. (The Plain Dealer)

No. 5. Jose Mesa

Jose Mesa is probably the most famous closer in Indians history. Not for his accomplishments -- which were many -- but his failure to protect a 2-1 ninth-inning lead in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. The Indians lost that game, and the World Series to the Marlins, in 11 innings.

Mesa pitched for the Indians from 1992 through 1998 and saved 102 games. He came to them from Baltimore in 1992 as a so-so starter. In 1994 manager Mike Hargrove and pitching coach Phil Regan moved him to the bullpen.

To say Mesa adjusted quickly is an understatement. He went 7-5 in 51 appearances as a set-up man in 1994. He took over the closer's role in 1995, leading the big leagues with 46 saves in 48 chances.

Mesa's 46 saves are a single-season franchise record. In a 19-year career, Mesa ranks 18th all-time in saves with 321.

Mike Jackson. (Charles Krupa, Associated Press)

No. 6. Mike Jackson

Mike Jackson pitched for the Indians from 1997-99. He accomplished a lot in a short time, saving 96 games in three seasons.

He saved 15 games in 1997 during the Indians run to the World Series and became the fulltime closer in 1998 when Mesa was embroiled in legal problems at the start of the season. Jackson went 40 for 45 (88 percent) in save situations that year. In 1999, he saved 39 games in 43 chances.

Jackson did not pitch in 2000 because of injury.

In a 17-year career, he saved 142 games. Jackson also pitched for Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Houston and the White Sox.

No. 7. Ray Narleski

Ray Narleski, a two-time All-Star, pitched five years for the Indians from 1954-58. He went 39-21 with 58 saves.

The save didn't become an official stat until 1969, so Narleski's numbers had to be recalibrated. The right-handed Narleski teamed with left-hander Don Mossi to form what some believe to be the first right-lefty shutdown bullpen combination history.

Narleski's best season came in 1955 when he went 9-1 with a 3.21 ERA. He led the big leagues in appearances (60) and saves (19).

When the Indians won 111 games to reach the World Series in 1954, Narleski went 3-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 13 saves.

Narleski finished his career with the Tigers in 1959.

No. 8. Joe Borowski

Joe Borowski pitched just one full season for the Indians, but what a season it was. The Indians signed him as a free agent before the start of 2007 and he led the AL with 45 saves.

Borowski was the classic ulcer-inducing closer. He didn't throw that hard, rarely worked a clean inning, but he was effective and had the trust of manager Eric Wedge.

Still, it was hard to watch him work. He had a 5.03 ERA, averaged 10.6 hits per nine innings and converted just 85 percent (45 for 53) of his save chances. But he helped the Indians win the AL Central, ending a six-year absence from the postseason.

When the Indians eliminated the Yankees in the ALDS, Borowski entered the ninth inning with a 6-3 lead. He allowed a homer to Bobby Abreu, but retired Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada to end it. In the celebration afterward, Indians owner Larry Dolan gave Wedge a kiss, but he told told reporters, half kiddingly, "I don't know how he how he stayed with Borowski."

Borowski, who saved 51 games for the Tribe, pitched 12 years in the big leagues. He went 22-34 with a 4.18 ERA and 131 saves.

No. 9. Steve Olin

How good a closer would Steve Olin have been? We'll never know because his life ended much too soon in a spring-training boating accident on March 22, 1993 in Clermont, Fla.

Olin, 27 when he died, was coming off his best season with the Indians. He went 8-5 with a 2.34 ERA and 29 saves in 1992. Pitching on a Indians team that finished 76-84 — one year removed from setting a franchise record with 105 losses in 1991 — Olin appeared in 72 games and threw 88 1/3 innings.

The 6-3 Olin threw sidearm and was still coming to grips with the strike zone. In 1992, he averaged 4.8 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine innings. He drew an arrow underneath the bill of his cap — it was always pointing toward home plate — to induce him to throw strikes.

Olin had the ability to throw two or three innings at a time and his sidearm delivery made him especially effective against right-handers. Righties hit .188 (33-for-176) and lefties .324 (47-for-145) against Olin in 1992.

The Indians drafted Olin with the 16th round pick in 1987 out of Beaverton (Ore.) High School. He went 16-19 with a 3.10 ERA and 48 saves in his career.

No. 10 (tie). Jim Kern, Sid Monge

Jim Kern and Sid Monge are tied for 10th among the Tribe's top 10 closers with 46 saves each.

Kern, who signed with the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1967, pitched for them from 1974-78. He returned to Cleveland in 1986 for his final season.

The Indians moved Kern into the bullpen in 1976, but this wasn't the era of one-inning saves. This was old school.

Kern went 10-7 with a 2.37 ERA and 15 saves in 16 chances. In 50 appearances that year, he pitched 117 2/3 innings with 111 strikeouts and 50 walks. If a manager let his closer throw 117 2/3 inning now, he'd be fired.

The workload didn't seem to bother Kern. He went to the All-Star Game in 1977 and 1978 for the Tribe and in 1979 with Texas. He pitched 13 years in the big leagues, going 53-57 with 88 saves.

The Indians acquired Monge, a 6-2 left-hander, from the Angels on May 11, 1977. He pitched for the Indians from 1977 through 1981.

Monge, like Kern, was an old-school closer. In 1979, when he went to the All-Star Game, he went 12-10 with a 2.40 ERA in 76 games. Monge saved 19 games, while pitching 131 innings. He struck out 108 and walked 64.

He pitched 10 years in the big leagues, going 49-40 with 56 saves and a 3.53 ERA.

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