Awards named after retired closers

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman both put their names in the baseball record books. Now, Major League Baseball is putting their names on a new pair of awards.

Top relievers in each league will now be given either the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award or the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award.

Both retired closers spent their entire careers in just one league -- Rivera pitched 19 seasons with the New York Yankees, and Hoffman saved games for the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers over an 18-year career.

"Both Mariano and Trevor represented our sport magnificently on and off the mound and earned the universal respect of our fans in their legendary careers," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday. "I believe it is appropriate to redefine an existing award in honor of their contributions to baseball, and I am delighted that many of the most decorated relievers in history will select the winners."

The new pair of awards will be voted on by a nine-man panel that consists of the four living Hall of Fame relievers (Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Rich "Goose" Gossage and Bruce Sutter), as well as Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner, who are each in the top five for career saves. Rivera (652 saves) and Hoffman (601) are the top two in career saves and round out the voters.

Previously the award for MLB's top reliever was given to just one player over both leagues and was called the Delivery Man of the Year Award.

Rivera, a 13-time All-Star, retired after last season. Hoffman recorded his last save in 2010.