2008 DMBL Dennis Eckersley
Rolaids® Relief Pitcher of the Year Award

The prestigious Dennis Eckersley Award, named after the former Vancouver and Toledo star pitcher who dominated in the early 1990s, is given to the most astounding Relief Pitcher in the DMBL. A series of points are given to score a reliever's Eckersley standings. Two points are awarded for each save and each victory earned in relief and one point is subtracted for each blown save and each loss.

And the award goes to....

Joey Devine, Newark Sugar Bears

Joey DevineDevine not only racked up the most relief points (76) and saves (35) of any pitcher this year, but he also set a new Diamond Mind Baseball League record for highest save percentage (.946) and had the lowest ERA (1.55) of any closer. The 25-year-old right-hander is the first rookie to win the Eck since Roberto Hernandez won the first one way back in 1993; his 76 relief points and 35 saves were the most in the league since John Smoltz's record 94 relief points and 45 saves in 2003... Marietta's Mariano Rivera finished second with 65 relief points, followed by Arkansas's Joakim Soria, Hillsborough's Mike Gonzalez and Carolina's Brian Fuentes.

Last year's winner, Jonathan Papelbon, finished 6th, followed by New Jersey's Bobby Jenks, Vancouver's Billy Wagner and Las Vegas's Brian Shouse... Finishing 10th was Taylor Buchholz, who started the year as Sardine City's closer -- but finished as Shouse's set-up man. Buchholz had 12 saves with the Straphangers, but just 1 with the Rats.

Final Relief Points Standings
Reliever ERA W SV  L BS Pts
Devine,NWK
1.55
5
35
2
2 76
M.Rivera,MAR
1.73
8
29
3
6
65
Soria,ARK
3.79
7
28
6
7
57
M.Gonzalez,HIL
3.88
3
28
1
6
55
Fuentes,CAR
2.63
3
30
5 10
51
Papelbon,DC
2.88
4
24
7
5
44
Jenks,NJ
4.95
8
19
3
5
46
Wagner,VAN
2.89 5
23
8
10
38
Shouse,LV
3.62
3
19
3 4
37
T.Buchholz,SAR/LV
3.45
6
13
4
0
34

The Eck Award has been presented 14 times through the years. (No award was given in 1991, 1992 or 1997, as blown save data wasn't available; no award was given in 1995 due to the strike.) Three relievers have won it twice.

PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE ECK
YEAR PLAYER TEAM  W  SV  L BS PTS
2009 Devine NWK 5
35 2
2
76
2008 Papelbon DC 4 31 3 3 64
2007 F.Rodriguez PHI 4 34 5 6 65
2006 F.Rodriguez PHI 4 34 5 5 66
2005 Isringhausen HBK 8 33 4 6 72
2004 Smoltz NWK 8 34 6 5 73
2003 Smoltz NWK 4 45 1 3 94
2002 Percival PHX 4 34 2 5 69
2001 M.Rivera STP 5 38 3 4 79
2000 B.Wagner VAN 6 41 4 4 86
1999 M.Rivera JER 9 35 4 8 76
1998 Wetteland NWK 5 34 2 3 73
1996 Wetteland NWK 13 7 5 3 32
1994 R.Beck ARK 12 11 6 5 35
1993 R.Hernandez VAN 12 11 2 6 38

Devine's season ties with Mariano Rivera (1999) as the sixth-most relief points in a season. Here's a look at the top seasons by relievers in DMBL history:

TOP 10 RELIEF SEASONS OF ALL TIME
# PLAYER YEAR TEAM  W SV  L BS PTS
1 Smoltz 2003 NWK 4 45  1 3 94
2 B.Wagner 2000 VAN 6 41 4 4 86
3 Nen 2003 BRK 3 41 4 4 80
4 M.Rivera 2001 STP 5 38 3 4 79
5 M.Rivera 2000 JER 14 27 2 3 77
6T M.Rivera,M 1999 JER 9 35 4 8 76
6T Devine 2009 NWK 5 35 2 2 64
8T Wetteland 1998 NWK 5 34 2 3 73
8T Smoltz 2004 NWK 8 34 6 5 73
10 Isringhausen 2005 HBK 8 33 4 6 72