Top 10 bullpens in MLB history
January, 21, 2013
By Buster Olney | ESPN.com
Jeff Carlick/Getty ImagesA year after learning his famous cutter, Mariano Rivera led the best bullpen of all time.For most of the first five decades of Major League Baseball, managers preferred to rely on their starting pitchers through the late innings. It wasn't until the '40s and '50s that managers began to regularly use pitchers like Joe Page, Hoyt Wilhelm, Lindy McDaniel and Elroy Face as late-inning specialists, in roles that have become more refined -- closers, and then right-handed and left-handed specialists, and then setup men, and then sixth- and seventh-inning guys, and sinkerballers who can get ground balls and hard throwers who can get a strikeout with a runner at third.
Last year, the Orioles utilized almost their entire staff in relief roles at one time or another: Just 67 of Baltimore's 162 games were started by pitchers used exclusively in the rotation.
Something to keep in mind: Deep, balanced bullpens are still a more recent part of the game framed against history, so the best are simply more recent. That noted, we present the top 10 bullpens of all time: