Tuesday, January 26, 2010



Los Angeles – Inspired by Jayson Stark's ESPN.com column suggesting that the Base Ball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) create an award for relief pitchers, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) has established two such awards for its organization.

Stark's column (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&page=rumblings010122) was published on Friday, January 22, 2010, and by Saturday morning the IBWAA had voted to go ahead with an award. Deciding on a name took the rest of the weekend, and with both Rollie Fingers and Hoyt Wilhelm being the runaway relievers of choice, the association decided to honor both men, creating the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year, and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.

IBWAA members discussed the fact that Wilhelm spent more time in the AL than the NL, but decided it was more important to honor him in this way than to quibble, or to choose another man.

Voting will take place in September of each year, with the final day of the regular season serving as a deadline, and results being announced in early November.

Fingers was a seven-time All-Star, an American League Most Valuable Player, a Cy Young Award winner and a World Series MVP. He played a pivotal role in each of the Oakland Athletics' consecutive championship seasons of 1972, 1973 and 1974, saving or winning nine of his team's 12 Series games, and recording a World Series career ERA of 1.35.

Appearing in 907 games as a reliever, Fingers' lifetime marks include 1701 innings pitched, 114 wins, 341 saves, with an ERA of 2.90. He was a second-ballot Hall of Famer, elected by the BBWAA in 1992.

Wilhelm was the long-time leader in career appearances by a pitcher, his 1070 games now ranking fifth all-time, and was the only reliever to win an ERA title (2.43), which he accomplished in his rookie season of 1952. He won a second ERA crown as a starting pitcher, with a 2.21 mark in 1959.

Wilhelm was a seven-time All-Star, holds a career ERA as a relief pitcher of 2.49, saved 227 games, and is baseball's leader in relief wins, with 124. He was elected into the Hall of Fame on his eighth try, in 1985.

The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 by Howard Cole, of BaseballSavvy.com, to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as an alternative voice to the BBWAA.

Among others, IBWAA members include Kevin Braun, freelance writer and former copy editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Tim Brown, YahooSports, Tom Hoffarth, Media/General Columnist, Los Angeles Daily News; Tony Jackson, Dodgers reporter, ESPNLosAngeles.com; Ben Maller, FoxSports.com; David Pinto, BaseballMusings.com; Gary Warner, Travel Editor, Orange County Register; and prominent baseball authors Peter Golenbock, Gabriel Schechter, Dan Schlossberg and Seth Swirsky.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a yearly fee of $20. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available.

For more information, please visit the temporary IBWAA webpage here, http://www.baseballsavvy.com/internetbaseballwriters.html. In the coming months, the IBWAA can be found at www.InternetBaseballWriters.com.


Howard Cole
Acting Director, IBWAA

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