Three ways to earn a save


November 17, 1991

Q. I've often wondered how a relief pitcher earned a save.

T. J. Totushek

Linthicum Heights

A. The word "earned," of course, is a relative one. Does Johnny Carson "earn" his $385 kazillion-per-year salary? Will Glenn Davis "earn" his $2.8 million next season if he is reinjured? Does the person writing this "earn" a salary from The Sun for so little work? (On second thought, let's back up to Johnny Carson.) Anyway, here is the save rule -- adopted in 1975 -- as cited in the Baltimore Orioles media guide:

"Credit a pitcher with a save when he is the finishing, but not the winning pitcher, and when he qualifies under one of the following conditions:

"(1) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning, or

"(2) He enters the game with potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck, or

"(3) He pitches effectively for at least three innings regardless of the club's lead."

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