For more great baseball stories like this one, 'like' us on Facebook -

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Robb Nen showed nerves in minors, then became a top bigs closer with Marlins, Giants

Called up to pitch in an exhibition for the Texas Rangers against their AA squad in Tulsa, Robb Nen impressed, The Charlotte Observer wrote.

The single-A pitcher also did it on a seeming big stage, a packed ballpark in Tulsa, The Observer wrote.

"I was real nervous," Nen told The Observer later. "There was a few more people than I was used to. It was nice."

Nen would eventually get used to pitching in front of larger crowds - and on much bigger stages.

He made the majors four seasons later and stayed for a decade. By 1995, he'd become one of the top relievers in the game. He eventually saved 35 or more games in a season seven times. 

Nen also pitched on the biggest stage - the World Series - twice, first for the Marlins and the for the Giants.

Nen's career began in 1987, taken by the Rangers in the 32nd round of the draft out of Los Alamitos High School in California.

Nen started with the Rangers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He first made single-A Gastonia in 1988, then AA Tulsa in 1990. He stayed with Tulsa for two more seasons, before making AAA Oklahoma City and then Texas in 1993.

Nen saw nine outings with the Rangers and then 15 with the Marlins after a trade. He became a regular with the Marlins in 1994, saving 15 in 44 appearances.

He then saved 23 in 1995. Going into the 1996 campaign, Marlins GM Dave Dombrowski expressed confidence in Nen after a patchy 1995, The South Florida Sun Sentinel wrote.

"Our feelings about Robb haven't changed," Dombrowski told The Sun Sentinel. "We think he has the stuff to be one of the best closers in baseball."

Nen then went out and saved 35 in 1996 and 35 more in 1997. He also saved four more in the post-season, including games 1 and 5 of the World Series, while topping 100 on the radar gun.

"When you throw 102 mph, you can put out a lot of fires," Marlins first baseman Jeff Conine told The Associated Press after the Game 1 save. "I'm glad he's on my team."

Nen then went to the Giants in another trade, and he became their closer over the next five seasons. He saved at least 40 in four of them and served as an All-Star in three. 

In 2002, he helped pitch the Giants to another World Series, as he saved 43 in 68 appearances. He saved games 1 and 4 of the Fall Classic, but got the blown save in Game 6.

But shoulder trouble then set in. He tried to come back, but it didn't work. That 2002 campaign proved his last.

The Giants honored him in 2006 with a plaque on their portwalk, noting he was the youngest to reach 300 saves. He ended with 314.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,943
Made the Majors:1,316-33.4%-X
Never Made Majors:2,627-66.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:537-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:328

No comments:

Post a Comment