Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Best Relief Pitchers in Franchise History

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PITTSBURGH, PA – CIRCA 1964: Roy Face #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for this photo before the start of a Major League Baseball game circa 1964 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Face played for the Pirates from 1953-68. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – CIRCA 1964: Roy Face #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for this photo before the start of a Major League Baseball game circa 1964 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Face played for the Pirates from 1953-68. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Roy Face

Roy Face was the original closer in Pittsburgh Pirates history. He was the second Pirate ever to record double digits in saves, that being in 1957. Face is the leader in innings pitched out of the bullpen in Bucco history, and is one of just two relief pitchers with 1,000 innings pitched out of the bullpen. We’ll get into the other one later on.

Face owned a career 3.15 ERA, 3.21 FIP and 1.22 WHIP across 1,195.2  innings pitched with the Pirates. Overall, his strikeout numbers do not look overly impressive. With the Pirates, Face had a 5.92 K/9 rate and 16% strikeout rate. However, during his 15 year run with the Pirates, he only dipped below the league average in a season three times. He was also consistently above the league average in walk rate. In his career, Face has a 2.49 BB/9 and 6.4% walk rate. His walk rate is the sixth lowest in Pirate history as well.

In 1960, he pitched 114.2 innings and posted 2.90 ERA while recording 24 saves. That postseason, he pitched 10.1 innings while helping the Pirates capture a World Series Championship.

Throughout his career, Face is considered an above average relief pitcher. From 1956 to 1967, Face had an 83 ERA-, 90 FIP- and 110 ERA+.

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