09/25/07 10:00 AM ET
Hoffman a finalist for prestigious honor
Closer has a chance at DHL Delivery Man of the Year Award
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
On Sept. 20, Hoffman extended his own Major League record for seasons with 40 or more saves to nine, as he polished off the Pirates at PETCO Park.
On June 6, Hoffman -- who last season set the Major League career saves record -- earned save No. 500 in a victory over the Dodgers.
"That was a special moment," Hoffman said of notching his 500th save. "You have the opportunity to be recognized by your teammates and address the fans and have a private moment in the clubhouse. It was great to give my teammates an opportunity to let them know how much I appreciate their support."
For this, Hoffman is only a natural finalist for the DHL Delivery Man of the Year Award, as he's enjoyed another blissful run of closing games for the Padres.
The other nominees are J.J. Putz (Seattle), Jonathan Papelbon (Boston), Joe Nathan (Minnesota), Jason Isringhausen (St. Louis), Francisco Cordero (Milwaukee), Jose Valverde (Arizona), Francisco Rodriguez (LA Angels), Takashi Saito (LA Dodgers) and Bobby Jenks (Chicago White Sox).
Sure, there have been hiccups. Hoffman allowed blown saves in consecutive appearances in late April. But Hoffman, proving resilient as ever, bounced back to reel off a run of 25 consecutive saves.
Going into the final 10 days of the regular season, Hoffman had 522 career saves, which begs the question: Can he make a run at 600 saves?
"Without a doubt ... I think he can continue at this rate of performance," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He hasn't shown any signs of losing anything that would keep him from continuing his type of work. Trevor takes great physical care of himself and continues to work at his craft."
Hoffman has no immediate plans of stepping away from the game.
"It [his future] gets brought up because of my age, but I'm in a role here where I'm not going to get pounded on like [starting pitchers] Greg [Maddux] and [David Wells] Boomer ... guys who go out and compete every fifth day and throw 200 innings a season. That's tough.
"Playing in 65 games is difficult but I've learned how to handle it. I've prepared myself to be ready each day, I feel like I'm on top of the ball. I still feel like I could compete for a few more years."
The "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award" winner is selected by a special Major League Baseball "yellow-ribbon" panel that includes Mike Bauman, national columnist for MLB.com; Rich "Goose" Gossage, the nine-time All-Star pitcher; Darryl Hamilton, former Major League outfielder and a member of the MLB On-Field Operations staff; Jerome Holtzman, the official MLB Historian and a member of the writer's wing of the Hall of Fame; and Bob Watson, Vice President of On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball.
At the conclusion of the season, Major League Baseball fans have the opportunity to determine which relief pitcher had the best overall season and deserves the third-annual "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award." A list of finalists will be selected based on statistical qualifiers and fans will be able to vote for the winner online at MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball. The "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award" will be presented during the Major League Baseball postseason.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.