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09/16/08 10:23 PM ET

Righetti part of saves leader tradition

Giants pitching coach congratulated Thigpen in 1990

PHOENIX -- Dave Righetti relinquished the single-season saves record 18 years ago, but the Giants pitching coach always will be part of passing the torch.

Righetti, who set the Major League saves mark with 46 for the New York Yankees in 1986, sent a note of congratulations to Bobby Thigpen four years later when the Chicago White Sox closer established a new record with 57 saves. Thigpen continued the tradition by writing a similar letter to Francisco Rodriguez after the Los Angeles Angels right-hander passed him with his 58th save Saturday night.

Righetti's not sure when the tradition began, but Tuesday he recalled being approached by Kansas City's Dan Quisenberry, whose record he broke, in the outfield before a game.

"That was back when nobody talked to anybody on the other team, unless he was an ex-teammate, and even then you wouldn't let anybody see you do it," Righetti said.

Righetti added that Quisenberry and Royals teammate Bud Black also telephoned him in Boston to offer congratulations.

"That was pretty cool," Righetti said.

Asked how high he thought the saves mark could climb, Righetti said that Rodriguez's total was impressive enough.

"How can it go that high?" he said. "Just to get that many opportunities."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.