Jerome Holtzman, inventor of the save, dies at age 82
Sad news for baseball fans everywhere today: Jerome Holtzman, the Hall of Fame Chicago sportswriter, has died at the age of 82.
In addition to writing the seminal No Cheering In The Press Box , sporting a pair of caterpillar-sized eyebrows and chomping a cigar with the best of 'em, Holtzman is best known for making guys like Eric Gagne insanely rich, having invented the save statistic back in the '60s — for better or worse
— and then seeing it officially adopted by MLB in 1966.
From The Heckler, July 2005:
TH: You are the person responsible for creating the save rule in baseball. How and when did that come about?
JH: I think it came about in 1960. Elroy Face was 18-1 with Pittsburgh in 1959. I was traveling with the Cubs. The Cubs had two relief pitchers: right-hander Don Elston and left-hander Bill Henry. They were constantly protecting leads and no one even knew about it. The year Elroy Face was 18-1 he blew 10 leads. Did you know that? But they had such a good-hitting team they came back in the last inning and won the game for him. Elston and Henry were terrific. I thought it was not fair and that there should be some kind of index for the effectiveness of a relief pitcher. You couldn't judge him by his victories. You couldn't judge him by his earned run average because it should be lower than everybody else's. A lot of the runs a reliever gives up are charged to the preceding pitcher. So I came up with the save rule and obviously it's caught on.