Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MLB Closers That Had Fans Stressing Out

Billy Koch

The former Clemson Tiger stud would hit 100 mph all the time when closing games with Blue Jays, A's, White Sox, and Marlins. Sure he could hit 100, but fans would still hold their breath because he was very prone to coughing up runs at an even quicker pace than his pitches.

Koch's career really went down hill after he gave up a ninth-inning home run to Minnesota's A.J. Pierzynski in the deciding game of the A's first-round playoff series in 2002. Koch was quoted as saying that he felt like "shooting himself" after that loss.

Mark Wohlers

The native of Holyoke, Massachusetts was known for his years in Atlanta from 1991 to 1999. He had a solid career and hit 103 mph in a Spring Training game, which at the time was the fastest recorded pitch in history (later eclipsed by Detroit's Joel Zumaya).

His career fell off the second Jim Leyritz sent an 0-2 slider over the fence for a three-run jack in the 1996 World Series. Maybe you remember him as the guy that couldn't throw a strike after that devastating World Series appearance.

Byung-Hyun Kim

2001 World Series. Enough said. The South Korean will always be remembered for blowing game after game in the series versus the New York Yankees. Lucky for Kim, Luis Gonzalez nestled a ball into the outfield to bring home a title for him and the Diamondbacks.

Billy Taylor

The guy made his MLB debut at the "young" age of 32, and was known for his years in Oakland and his one season for the Mets, when he was traded for Jason Isringhausen. Even though he was a solid closer, every time he came in the game was a stressful one for his team's fans.

Jose Mesa

He has 319 saves, which puts him sixth all time, and at times he was a dominant closer. However, in big games, he was a choke job ready to happen. He blew the 1997 World Series for the Indians.

Shortstop Omar Vizquel ripped Mesa in his autobiography, writing, "The eyes of the world were focused on every move we made. Unfortunately, Jose's own eyes were vacant. Completely empty. Nobody home. You could almost see right through him. Not long after I looked into his vacant eyes, he blew the save, and the Marlins tied the game." Take that, Mesa.

Armando Benitez

The headcase of all headcases on the bump in the ninth inning. Fans hate him on every team he has played on. Sure, he would throw high 90s with a nasty splitter, but between the ears, he was a joke. Gamblers who bet against his team over the years won so much money after all the games Benitez blew.

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