But Readon’s use was organized around the save, albeit frequently longer saves than today. That evolved into standard strategy in the late 1970s and early ‘80s as managers tried to break their arm-wrecking pattern of overuse of the firemen.
Just as an example of what was happening in that era: Gene Mauch became the Twins manager in 1976 and was fired during the 1980 season. His relief ace’s innings pitched each year during his tenure: 167.2 (Bill Campbell); 146.2 (Tom Johnson; Tom Burgmeier also threw 97 relief innings); 99 (Mike Marshall, who didn’t join the team until mid-May); 142.2 (Marshall again); 136.1 (Doug Corbett).
In contrast, last year Josh Roenicke, then with the Rockies (and now a Twin) led the majors in relief innings with 88. (Reardon had 80.1 in 1987).
Perkins may not throw 60 innings all season. I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to throw 120 out of the bullpen, but 60 is too few — especially when a goodly percentage aren’t of particular importance.
Edward Thoma (344-6377; firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains his Baseball Outsider blog at fpbaseballoutsider.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter @bboutsider.