St. Louis Cardinals: Top 3 closers in team’s history

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 17: Jason Isringhausen #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game on April 17, 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by John Capella/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 17: Jason Isringhausen #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game on April 17, 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by John Capella/Sports Imagery/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images)
(Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images) /

St Louis Cardinals: Top 3 Closers in Franchise History

1. Jason Isringhausen

Jason Isringhausen began his career with the New York Mets as a starting pitcher. Injuries and ineffectiveness derailed his trajectory to stardom and he sat out the entire 1998 season after having his first Tommy John surgery.

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He returned in 1999, pitched some for the Mets and then was traded to the Oakland A’s. It was in Oakland where he established himself as a topline closer, getting selected to the All-Star team in 2000.

Isringhausen began his St Louis Cardinals tenure in 2002 when he saved 32 games and then became the most reliable closer in the team’s history. He served as the team’s closer for seven years before losing the closing duties to Ryan Franklin mid-way through the 2008 season.

Isringhausen saved a league-best 47 games in 2004 and was an All-Star in 2005 when he went on to save another 39 games. He sits atop the all-time saves leader list in St. Louis Cardinals history with 217 lockdowns. His career 2.98 earned run average is solid and inflated from a subpar performance his final year with the team.

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Jason Isringhausen was steady if not solid during his run as the Cardinals closer. After suffering another setback and Tommy John surgery, Isringhausen returned to the Mets in 2011 to save his final seven major league games, giving him 300 for his career.