Brewers closer notches No. 341 to match Milwaukee legend
LOS ANGELES -- Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez says he couldn't grow a handlebar mustache, even if he wanted to. Instead, the veteran closer shares something else in common with Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers.
Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth inning in Friday night's 6-3 win over the Dodgers to earn career save No. 341, matching the former Brewer Fingers for 11th on Major League Baseball's all-time saves list.
"It means a lot, definitely," Rodriguez said. "It's pretty much a lot of work that I've put in has paid off when I go out. It's huge. Hopefully God gives me the opportunity to be healthy for many years to come. I don't want to stop here. I want to keep going."
Rodriguez has never met Fingers, but said he knows the special place the mustachioed one holds in Brewers history. Acquired along with Pete Vuckovich and Ted Simmons from the Cardinals in December 1980 in the greatest trade in Brewers history, Fingers led the Majors with 28 saves in a strike-shortened 1981 season, winning both the American League MVP and Cy Young Awards. Fingers saved 29 more games in '82 and helped Milwaukee win the AL East, but he was sidelined by an arm injury that fall and sat out the Brewers' only trip to the World Series.
After a pause in his own climb up the all-time saves list that began when the Brewers acquired Rodriguez from the Mets the night of the 2011 All-Star Game and installed him as a setup man to John Axford, Rodriguez is piling up the saves again. He has 37 this season, tied with the Royals' Greg Holland for most in the Majors.
Along the way, Rodriguez has passed the likes of Goose Gossage and John Wetteland. Next is Randy Myers, a four-time All-Star who saved 347 games over 14 big league seasons. Passing Myers would put Rodriguez in the top 10 all-time.
Rodriguez insisted he's only been aware of the men he's passing on the all-time saves list because reporters keep asking him about it.
"I don't play this game to break records," Rodriguez said. "I play this game because I like it. It's something that, in the end of my career, I'll be really proud of."