Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Reliever – Dan Quisenberry
These days, the idea of a pitcher like Dan Quisenberry as a closer would seem completely bizarre. A submariner who once said that he did not need to worry about losing his fastball since he did not have one, Quisenberry relied on getting the opposition to hit the ball into the ground instead of the generating strikeouts. As arguably the best reliever in baseball in the early to mid 1980’s, Quisenberry did his job for the Kansas City Royals.
If Quisenberry was to even receive a chance in the majors in this day and age, it would likely have been as a righty specialist. If so, his abilities would have been lost, as he notched 238 saves while posting a 2.55 ERA and a 1.150 WHiP. Despite striking out only 321 batters, Quisenberry walked only 139 batters, and 58 of those walks were intentional.
A perennial candidate for the Cy Young award, Quisenberry finished in the top three in balloting from 1982 through 1985. He won five Relief Pitcher of the Year awards, and even finished third in the 1984 MVP vote. He was, quite simply, the premier closer during the first half of the 1980’s.
Dan Quisenberry may not get a second look these days, but he could be considered the greatest closer in Kansas City Royals history. That ability to generate ground balls and frustrate the opposition certainly worked well, and earns him a place on the Royals all time 25 man roster.
Next: The all time saves leader