Pitcher wins and losses will always rely on so many factors that they’ll never be a good way to accurately analyze how good/bad a pitcher did. However, because so many factors play into a pitcher receiving a W or L on their record sheet, you can get a lot of weird records, such as what Roy Face accomplished in 1959.
Roy Face was what you might consider the Bucs’ first closing pitcher. He was the first Pirates pitcher to record 10+ saves in a season. 1959 was his sixth big league season and his first all-star selection. Face pitched 93.1 innings, all out of the bullpen (57 total appearances). Face owned a strong 2.70 ERA (143 ERA+/70 ERA-), 2.60 FIP (69 FIP-), and 1.24 WHIP. His 18.1% strikeout rate, along with a 6.6% walk rate, and 0.48 HR/9 were all well above the league averages of the time.
However, Face somehow ran into 18 wins while only receiving a single loss. It is the most wins a reliever has ever recorded without starting a game in one season. The next closest is John Hiller, who took home 17 wins for the 1974 Detroit Tigers. Hiller worked 150 innings in just 59 games, recording 3+ innings on 18 different occasions. However, he also took 14 losses.
Even though he blew nine saves, he only took one L during the season. At one point, Face had 17 straight wins with no losses to his name. Four of Face’s blown saves still resulted in a win on his part. Face just happened to pitch at the very right moment in 1959. After that, he eclipsed double-digit wins as a reliever just once over the ten seasons that followed 1959.
This could be the easiest or hardest record to break, depending on your opinion. It could be extremely easy because skill is out of the question. The pitcher doesn’t need to be good, and they could even blow the lead. Four of Face’s wins in 1959 were also blown saves. Only one of his nine blown saves ended in a loss. However, they have to be in the right place at the right time, 19 times. They must be pitching when their team takes the lead, and to do that 19 times requires perfect timing, which really is completely out of the pitcher’s hands. In essence, any pitcher could break this at any time. They just need to be really lucky.