Who were the unsung heroes
of 2002 bullpens?

Quietly, setup men and one-out specialists often play a key role in deciding a game's outcome.

Updated: January 7, 2003, 7:00 AM ET
By by Thom Henninger, STATS. Inc.
Let's face it. When it comes to a big league bullpen, the closer gets most of the attention from fans and media. And from his owner, he gets the biggest paycheck among his peers in the pen.

The truth is, though, many games are decided in the frames before the ninth-inning guy enters the fray. Quietly, setup men and one-out specialists often play a key role in deciding a game's outcome.

There's a reason Jesse Orosco keeps finding employment, even at the ripe old age of 45. The lefty specialist, who signed a one-year deal with the Padres in November to return for a 24th big league season, ranked among the best at stranding runners in 2002. Among relievers who inherited at least 30 baserunners last summer, Orosco placed second in stranding the largest percentage of his inheritance.

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