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Hoffman's career full of milestone moments

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Hoffman's career full of milestone moments play video for Hoffman's career full of milestone moments

SAN DIEGO -- As arguably the greatest closer the National League has ever produced, Trevor Hoffman owns several signature moments against a wide variety of teams.

Lowest Average vs. Hoffman
Rank Player BA
1. Mickey Morandini .000
2. Kevin Young .071
3. Dave Hansen .091
4. Vinny Castilla .095
5. Rich Aurilia, Craig Counsell .111
Minimum 15 plate appearances

Throughout his tenure with the Padres, the team's fiercest rivals changed, as the Rockies, D-backs, Giants and Dodgers all had their ups and downs between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s.

So while it might be hard to pinpoint one specific moment that defines Hoffman's legacy, there's no shortage of options.

There's Hoffman's record-setting 479th save against Pittsburgh in 2006, the division-clinching save against Arizona less than a week later on the final day of that regular season and his four-out save in Game 3 of the 1998 NL Championship Series against Atlanta that gave the Padres a commanding 3-0 series lead.

But Hoffman was at his best against San Diego's Southern California rivals, both in terms of numbers and clutch performances.

Highest average vs. Hoffman
Rank Player BA
1. Eddie Taubensee .533
2. Todd Helton .520
3. Mike Piazza .438
4. Scott Rolen .429
5. Shawon Dunston .400
Minimum 15 plate appearances

As the 1996 regular season wound down, the Padres found themselves two games behind the Dodgers with just three games left in the regular season -- all at Chavez Ravine. Naturally, Hoffman closed out each of the last three games as San Diego shocked Los Angeles and captured its first division title in 12 years.

Two years later, Hoffman saved an 8-7 win over the Dodgers on Sept. 12 to clinch San Diego's second division title in three years.

Nearly a decade after that, Hoffman became the first player to notch 500 saves when he tidily completed a 5-2 win over Los Angeles on June 6, 2007.

Lowest On-base Percentage vs. Hoffman
Rank Player OBP
1. Mickey Morandini .063
2. Vinny Castilla .091
3. Rich Aurilia .105
4. Matt Williams .125
5. Three-way tie .133
Minimum 15 plate appearances

By the time he hurled his final trademark changeup, Hoffman racked up 68 saves against the Dodgers -- 14 more than he did against any other opponent.

The next team on that list is the Rockies, but facing the Blake Street Bombers wasn't exactly a cakewalk -- Hoffman had a 3.57 ERA against the Rockies, one of only two NL teams in which his career ERA was higher than 3.00, along with Philadelphia.

Some of Hoffman's career lows came against Colorado, too -- the usually reliable right-hander lost a two-run lead in the 13th inning of San Diego's NL Wild Card tiebreaker game against the Rockies in 2007, taking the loss in what would be his last chance to return to the postseason.

Compounding that is the fact that perhaps Hoffman's greatest nemesis is considered a legend in Denver.

Highest On-Base percentage vs. Hoffman
Rank Player BA
1. Eddie Taubensee .563
2. Todd Helton .556
3. Larry Walker .476
4. Scott Rolen .467
5. Barry Bonds .458
Minimum 15 plate appearances

Former Rockies first baseman Todd Helton collected more hits (13) against Hoffman than anyone -- five more than the next closest player. Among batters with at least 15 plate appearances against Hoffman, Helton had the second-highest batting average (.520), second-highest on-base percentage (.556) and fourth-highest OPS (1.316).

But fittingly, Hoffman has a landmark milestone in the books at the expense of Helton -- he induced a rare whiff from the slugger on July 1, 2007, to become just the eighth reliever to reach 1,000 career strikeouts.

"Obviously, it's been a bit lopsided in the success ratio," Hoffman said at the time about his history with Helton. "It's nice to get a guy once every 80 at-bats."

Will Laws is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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