In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer, is a relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading. The role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. Before the 1990s, pitchers in similar roles were …
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, one of the most prominent closers in baseball history, has the most career saves of any MLB pitcher (652).
Lee Smith in 1994 was the first pitcher to start the ninth inning in over 75 percent of his appearances.
By relegating Dennis Eckersley to mostly one-inning save situations, manager Tony La Russa (pictured) was instrumental in the development of the modern closer.