St. Louis Cardinals: All-time top five Cardinals closers
Jason Isringhausen closed things out during a run of historic success for the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Mandatory Credit: Redbird Rants
1) Jason Isringhausen, Closer – St. Louis Cardinals, 2002-2008
The run of success in the early 2000s put together by the St. Louis Cardinals was one that left little hope in the hearts of fans of other National League Central clubs.
It was almost a forgone conclusion that St. Louis would win the division and take aim at the Fall Classic and it was with Jason Isringhausen at the back-end that the club experienced its greatest success.
Reaching the World Series twice and winning it once with Izzy as the closer, St. Louis re-invigorated a fan base that had waned, at times, after the Home Run Era drew to a close and allegations poured in against slugger Mark McGwire.
Ahead of the 2002 season, St. Louis signed Isringhausen as a free agent and changed the make-up of the bullpen for years to come. Over the course of the next seven years, the right-hander averaged 31 saves for the Cardinals, including a league-leading 47 in 2004.
For the better part of a decade, the former Oakland reliever handled the late-inning duties for the Cardinals and manager Tony LaRussa, amassing 217 saves in the process – a franchise record that stands to this day.