Up on the blog today, we move along in my on-going “expanded league leaders” thread, with the top relievers in the American league for 1974, shown on a 1975 three-spot league leader card as opposed to the original one-and-one Topps issued way back when:
We begin with Chicago White Sox reliever Terry Forster, who paced the league with his 31 “points”, seven wins to go with his league-leading 24 saves, while appearing in 59 games and pitching 134.1 innings.
It wasn’t exactly a dominating season as evidenced by his 3.62 earned run average and eight losses, but in the days before true “closers” it was good enough to have him come out on top.
Just one point behind with 30, the A.L.’s top reliever of 1973, and arguably of 1974 as well, Detroit Tiger pitcher John Hiller, who posted 13 saves while also posting an incredible 17 wins in relief!
Over his 59 appearances, Hiller went 17-14, with a nice 2.64 ERA over a staggering 150 innings, with the aforementioned 13 saves, closing out 52 of his games.
The previous season he was all-world with his record breaking 38 saves, as well as 10-5 record with a microscopic 1.44 ERA over 65 games, 60 of which he closed out, throwing 125. 1 innings out of the bullpen.
Also coming in at 30 points, tied for second place, Milwaukee Brewers reliever Tom Murphy, journeyman righty who had a very nice 1974 season, saving 20 while posting a record of 10-10 over 70 appearances, finishing up with a 1.90 ERA over 123 innings pitched, all out of the ‘pen.
A converted starter, he’d pitch through the rest of the decade in relief, putting in 12 years in the Majors and finishing up with 62 wins and 59 saves over 439 appearances and 1444 innings.