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The 5 worst saves in MLB history

Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports

On this day 46 years ago, Los Angeles Dodgers hurler Bill Singer made major-league history as the first pitcher to record a save.

Singer wasn't exactly the model closer - in fact, his three-inning relief appearance on April 7, 1969 was his only non-start of the season. But unbeknownst to he or the rest of the league at the time, that "S" designation in the final boxscore set the stage for one of the most contentious debates in baseball over the past three-and-a-half decades.

The biggest issue among the non-save crowd: Players being awarded saves despite being handed large leads and performing terribly. And in honor of Singer's historic save, here are the five best examples of what's wrong with the statistic*:

1973 - Dave Goltz, Minnesota Twins (3 IP, 13 H, 8 ER)

Goltz is the poster boy for the garbage save, making a mockery of the stat in its fifth season of existence. With the Twins enjoying a 9-1 advantage over the Cleveland Indians, Goltz was inserted in the seventh inning - and promptly gave up four home runs over the final three frames. The Twins weren't in any danger thanks to a four-run eighth, but Goltz remains the only pitcher to "earn" a save despite allowing eight runs.

1971 - Phil Hennigan, Cleveland Indians (3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 2 BB)

Two years before Goltz's epic meltdown, Hennigan was the owner of the worst save in baseball. The 25-year-old was tasked with protecting a one-run lead over the Boston Red Sox, and did so - but only after the Indians erupted for seven runs in the seventh to effectively put the game away. Or so they thought. Hennigan coughed up three-run homers to George Scott and Gary Peters before finally putting Boston away.

2012 - Jerome Williams, Los Angeles Angels (4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, BB)

Williams is the only player since 1986 to earn a save despite allowing five or more earned runs. The burly right-hander was brought in to protect a 12-3 Angels lead over the Texas Rangers, and went on to surrender a pair of home runs while throwing just 49 of his 83 pitches for strikes. It's possible the strange outing had a negative effect on Williams, who would allow an earned run in each of his next three appearances.

1986 - Mark Huismann, Seattle Mariners (4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, BB)

Huismann found himself in easy save territory thanks to the Mariners putting up a seven-spot in the third inning of their July 12 encounter with the Milwaukee Brewers. But the lanky 28-year-old served up an RBI single and a run-scoring double in the sixth before allowing a three-run homer to future Hall of Famer Paul Molitor in the ninth. Huismann finished with 11 career saves, allowing just three runs combined in the other 10.

1983 - Jim Slaton, Milwaukee Brewers (3 2/3 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 5 BB)

Slaton's bad save is the most interesting of the bunch, as it nearly wound up a blown save. With the Brewers leading the Indians 10-5, Slaton came on in relief of Mike Caldwell and allowed a pair of RBI sacrifice flies. Milwaukee countered with a run in the eighth, but Ron Hassey made it a one-run game with a three-run homer in the ninth before Slaton retired Alan Bannister on a fly ball to left field to preserve the win.

*Only games pitched after the save stat became official are included.

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