San Francisco Giants: A history of relief pitchers in the All-Star Game

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JUNE 22: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants delivers a pitch during the ninth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 22, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Giants won 7-4. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JUNE 22: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants delivers a pitch during the ninth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 22, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Giants won 7-4. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants will almost certainly have just one All-Star representative this year. Closer Will Smith is the overwhelming favorite to get the nod.

Closer Will Smith is by far the best candidate from the San Francisco Giants for a spot on the National League All-Star team this year.

The 29-year-old is a perfect 21-for-21 on save chances this season with a 2.16 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and a 51-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33.1 innings.

He’s positioned himself to be one of the most sought after commodities on this year’s trade market, and there’s a case to be made that he’s the best rental reliever to hit the trade block since Aroldis Chapman in 2016.

In honor of what will almost certainly be an All-Star bid once the reserves are announced, we decided to take a look back at past San Francisco Giants relievers to be named to the All-Star team.

Hoyt Wilhelm: 1953

The Hall of Fame knuckleballer was in just his second big league season at the age of 30 when he made the NL All-Star team. Wilhelm led the NL with 68 appearances that season while tallying 15 saves and posting a 3.04 ERA in 145 innings.

Marv Grissom: 1954

Claimed off waivers from the Boston Red Sox midway through the 1953 season, Grissom racked up 17 saves and also threw a shutout in one of his three starts. His other 53 appearances came out of the bullpen and he posted a 2.35 ERA in 122.1 innings.

Stu Miller: 1961

After leading the NL with a 2.47 ERA in 1958, Miller moved into the bullpen where he continued to confound opposing hitters. During the 1961 season, he led the NL with 17 saves, while going 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 122 innings over 63 appearances.

Gary Lavelle: 1977, 1983

Lavelle spent 11 seasons with the Giants, logging 127 saves in 647 appearances during that span. He had 20 saves during both of his All-Star seasons, which were good for a career-high. He was traded prior to the 1985 season in a four-player deal that sent starter Jim Gott to the Giants.

Greg Minton: 1982

Minton played with the Giants for 13 seasons and during the five-year stretch from 1980 to 1985 he piled up 111 saves while posting a 2.91 ERA in 348 appearances. During his All-Star season in 1982, he tallied a career-high 30 saves and finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting and eighth in NL MVP voting.

Scott Garrelts: 1985

After posting a 4.46 ERA in 80.2 innings over his first three seasons in the majors, Garrelts took a major step forward in his age-23 campaign in 1985. In a team-high 74 appearances, he logged a 2.30 ERA with 13 saves and 106 strikeouts in 105.2 innings. He was one of the few bright spots that year on a 100-loss team. He eventually moved to the rotation and led the NL with a 2.28 ERA during the team’s NL pennant run in 1989.

Jeff Brantley: 1990

One of the most underrated closers of the 1990s, Brantley was in his first season in the ninth-inning role in 1990. The 26-year-old saved 19 games with a 1.56 ERA in 55 appearances to make what would wind up being his only All-Star appearance. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds in free agency following the 1993 season.

Rod Beck: 1993, 1994, 1997

Beck replaced the aforementioned Brantley as the Giants’ closer in 1992. The following season, he saved 48 games in 52 chances with a 2.16 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 76 games to make his first All-Star appearance. He was named to the Midsummer Classic two more times and had 199 saves total during his seven seasons in San Francisco, before signing with the Chicago Cubs in free agency following the 1997 campaign.

Robb Nen: 1998, 1999, 2002

After a solid run with the Florida Marlins, Nen was traded to the Giants following the 1997 season in exchange for three prospects as part of a major fire sale. He was one of the best closers in baseball during each of his five seasons in San Francisco, saving 206 games while posting a 2.43 ERA and 10.8 K/9. He made three NL All-Star rosters during that span.

Brian Wilson: 2008, 2010, 2011

The closer position was a bit of a revolving door for the Giants from the time that Robb Nen departed following the 2002 season until Wilson took over ninth-inning duties in 2008. He saved 163 games during the four-year span from 2008 to 2011, posting a 3.00 ERA and 10.1 K/9 while earning three All-Star nods.

Sergio Romo: 2013

After several years as a standout setup man for Brian Wilson, Romo took over the closer’s role in 2013. He saved 38 games in 43 chances and posted a 2.54 ERA and 1.08 WHIP to earn his only All-Star appearance.

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There’s a very good chance that Will Smith will join this distinguished group of San Francisco Giants relievers when the 2019 All-Star reserves are announced on Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. ET.