On Friday night, in Atlanta, Red Sox rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 21st save of the season, moving into a tie with Jeff Reardon (21 in 1990). In doing so, Papelbon passed Rick Aguilera (20 in 1995), John Wyatt (20 in 1967), and Sparky Lyle (20 in 1970) on the Sox single-season saves list.
Then this afternoon, the power-pitching rookie matched Dick Radatz (1965) and Bob Stanley (1984) with his 22nd save of the season.
Believe it or not, with just two more saves (which will likely come before this month is over), the hard-throwing youngster will, incredibly, enter the top ten for single-season saves by a Red Sox closer. That 24th save will also tie the Sox rookie record for saves, currently held by Dick Radatz.
Next up, each with 24 saves, are Derek Lowe (2001), Tom Burgmeier (1980), and Dick Radatz (1962) -- good enough for 10th place on the list.
As promised, I will continue to update Papelbon's performances and chart his progress as he moves along. With each successive outing, Papelbon continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year. As it stands, the Louisiana native's 20 successful save opportunities to start this season are an MLB rookie record.
Here's a look at the Red Sox all-time single-season saves leaders:
1. Tom Gordon - 46 saves in 1998
2. Derek Lowe - 42 saves in 2000
T- 3.Ugueth Urbina - 40 saves in 2002
Jeff Reardon - 40 saves 1991
T- 4. Jeff Russell - 33 saves in 1993
Bob Stanley - 33 saves 1n 1983
5. Keith Foulke - 32 saves in 2004
T- 6. Heathcliff Slocumb - 31 saves in 1996
Bill Campbell - 31 saves in 1977
T- 7. Lee Smith - 29 saves in 1988
Dick Radatz - 29 saves in 1964
T- 8. Jeff Reardon - 27 saves in 1992
Ellis Kinder - 27 saves in 1953
T- 9. Lee Smith - 25 saves in 1989
Dick Radatz - 25 saves in 1963
T- 10. Derek Lowe - 24 saves in 2001
Tom Burgmeier - 24 Saves in 1980
Dick Radatz - 24 saves in 1962