Elroy Leon Face (born February 20, 1928 in Stephentown, New York) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. During a 17-year baseball career, he pitched from 1953–1969, primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates. A pioneer of modern relief pitching, he was the archetype of what came to be known as the closer, and the National League's greatest reliever until the late 1960s, setting numerous league records during his career.
Face was the first major leaguer to save 20 games more than once, leading the league three times and finishing second three times; in 1959 he set the still-standing major league record for winning percentage (.947), and single-season wins in relief, with 18 wins against only one loss. He held the NL record for career games pitched (846) from 1967 until 1986, and the league record for career saves (193) from 1962 until 1982; he still holds the NL record for career wins in relief (96), and he held the league mark for career innings pitched in relief (1,211⅓) until 1983. On his retirement, he ranked third in major league history in pitching appearances, behind only Hoyt Wilhelm and Cy Young, and second in saves behind Wilhelm. Nicknamed "The Baron," he holds the Pirates franchise records for career games (802) and saves (188).
By Dean Hanley
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