Kansas City Royals Top Five Relief Pitchers
By David Hill
Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
1. Dan Quisenberry (1979-1988, 15.2 WAR)
A submarine pitcher who relied upon impeccable control and an uncanny ability to generate ground balls, Dan Quisenberry likely would not be a closer in this day and age. In fact, it is worth wondering how much of a chance he would receive, considering he once stated that he did not fear losing his fastball because he did not have one. Quisenberry also once said that he may be the only relief pitcher with more saves than strikeouts, which in 1984, when he struck out 41 batters yet recorded 44 saves, was an accurate assessment.
Yet, despite not being able to throw a baseball through a sheet of paper, Quisenberry was one of the truly elite closers in baseball during his prime. He was a three time All-Star, finished in the top three in the Cy Young ballot four consecutive years and even managed a third place finish in the 1984 MVP vote. Quisenberry also won five Reliever of the Year awards, including four consecutive from 1982 through 1985.
During his time with the Kansas City Royals, Quisenberry compiled 238 saves with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.150 WHiP. Contrary to his self-effacing assessment of his pitching, Quisenberry did manage to strike out 321 batters, giving him just a few more strikeouts than saves. He also walked only 139 batters, 58 of which were intentional, in 920.1 innings. It was truly amazing to watch him pitch.
He may not have been the prototypical closer even back then, but Dan Quisenberry is still the greatest closer in Kansas City Royals history.