Roy Face – Detroit Tigers and Montreal Expos
Roy Face is one of the best relievers in Pittsburgh Pirates history, and he’s also the first-ever Pirates closer. At the time, his ten saves in 1957 were the most by any Pirates pitcher. Obviously, that has long been surpassed, but Face still ranks second in fWAR, first in saves, and innings pitched by any Pittsburgh Pirates reliever.
Face had continued to be a dominant force out of the Pirates pen, even into his 40’s. His 1968 season saw him start the year off by posting a 2.60 ERA, 2.35 FIP, and 1.02 WHIP through his first 53 innings. He also recorded 13 saves. But despite this strong start, Face was sold to the Detroit Tigers.
But this was the start of the end for Face’s career. He would go on to pitch just a single inning with Detroit. After the ‘68 season, Detroit decided not to pick him back up for the 1969 season. Instead, the Montreal Expos chose to take a shot on the former six-time All-Star. But he would only pitch 59.1 innings with a sub-par 3.94 ERA, 4.53 FIP, and 1.29 WHIP.
Although Face’s career didn’t end with a bang, he had a tremendous 16-year career that led to him being one of the best relievers in the franchise’s history.