Relief pitchers are an interesting and unique group compared to other positions in Major League Baseball. The best of the best only come in for three outs and appear in 60 to 70 games a season. They have to have a very specific mindset and mental capacity to come through in high-leverage spots to nail down a win or to alleviate the threat from the opposition.
The Philadelphia Phillies have had some incredible relievers, ranging from shutdown closers recording the final outs in World Series victories to Swiss Army knife types who could come in during any situation.
Similar to the other rankings in this series, we’ll weigh the overall career of the players, the specific time they’ve spent with the Phillies, how successful their teams were, and lastly, what they mean to the city of Philadelphia and the fans.
Before we jump into the top five, let’s look at who just missed the cut in our honorable mentions.
Jim Konstanty was with the Phillies from 1948 through 1954. He's most known for his one spectacular season with the Phillies in 1950. He appeared in a league-high 74 games, registered a 2.66 ERA, a league-high 22 saves, and went 16-7. Not only did he appear in his lone All-Star appearance that year, but he also won the MVP award.
Ryan Madson played in Philadelphia for nine seasons and was a huge part of the World Series-winning team in 2008. He finished his Phillies tenure with a 3.59 ERA and 52 saves, which ranks him 15th on the all-time list. Madson’s 8.6 fWAR with the Phillies ranks third all-time among relief pitchers.
Mitch Williams, also known as "Wild Thing," was in the Phillies organization for just three years but finished with a 3.11 ERA and accumulated 102 saves, fourth on the all-time saves list for Phillies relievers. He was also the closer for the team that won the NL pennant in 1993.
Now, let's get into ranking the top five greatest relief pitchers in Phillies history.