Spring Premier Auction 2013
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
The coveted Rolaids Relief Man Award began in 1976, and Rollie Fingers ended up waiting a full year before he would win the first of four of the iconic trophies. Reconfigure the Universe just a wee bit and the award could have been named after Fingers, who truly redefined the role in such a fashion that all the modern-day aces should probably send him a rebate check once a year or so. Before Rollie Fingers came along, relief pitching wasn't anywhere close to its current lofty stratosphere in terms of its strategic and tactical role in Major League Baseball. Arriving in the major leagues in 1968 just as the game had reached a lamentable imbalance between offense and defense (hint: pitching stats were lopsided in favor of the moundsmen), and those stalwarts were expected to complete what they started, or at the very least have a pretty good explanation of why not. Oakland A's manager Dick Williams started putting Fingers into the game usually in the sixth inning or even later, and the Save statistic started down a long and winding road toward what it is today. As one of the first practitioners of the new art, Fingers pioneered the idea of frequent but limited use of a bullpen "closer," a notion that has been fine-tuned and calibrated over the ensuing four decades as the role became ever more vital and its parameters ever more narrowly defined.
Rollie Fingers was awarded his first of four Rolaids Relief Man Awards in 1977 after recording a whopping 35 saves in his first season in the National League. By virtue of this sterling season, he was presented with this instantly recognizable 21-inch high trophy with a silver fireman's helmet supported by a silver column on a 10-inch high wooden base. A gold emblem at the front of the helmet features the similarly iconic Major League Baseball red, white and blue logo, along with the words "Rolaids Relief Man Award" and "Major League Baseball." A 4-by-6-inch gold nameplate on the base notes Fingers' name, National League, San Diego Padres and 1977. The trophy is in marvelous condition, betraying only the tiniest specks of scuffing or chipping along the bottom of the wooden base, and is in otherwise in problem-free and virtually as issued condition. The Hall of Famer has added his elegant script black Sharpie autograph on the back wooden panel of the base. Comes with a Letter of Authenticity from Rollie Fingers.
Pre-certified by PSA/DNA.