This might be surprising to Thigpen, but Reardon is not merely the game's leading conservationist; he's an engaging conversationalist, as well. When he was pitching in both Minnesota—where he helped the Twins win a championship in '87—and Boston, his silence was mistaken by some for arrogance. "I might give one-word answers after a game," he says, "but that's just the way I am. I'm quiet."
There is danger in denigrating the record that Reardon is about to fracture. Set aside debate about the save statistic, and what the mark means is that he has done the job asked of him more often than anyone else in the game.
"It is the second-proudest accomplishment of my career," he says.
And the proudest?
The son of a security guard, un-drafted out of college, from a paper-mill town in Massachusetts, Reardon doesn't hesitate. "Pitching the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series," he says.
Naturally, Reardon got the save. Which is not a bad note on which to end this story. Once again, Jeff Reardon has closed successfully.
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