Interestingly enough, Lyle happened to be part of another bullpen that could have been all time if it had been in place all season. The 1980 Phillies had Tug McGraw and Ron Reed (5 times 10 or more saves). Lyle had been acquired in September of that season from the Rangers so he was not eligible for postseason play. They also had a 19 year old by the name of Mark Davis, the same Mark Davis that would win the Cy Young Award for the San Diego Padres as a closer in 1989.
The bullpen that interests me enough to imagine all pitchers in their prime actually comes from an organization that has a bullpen we are likely to remember for a long time. The Kansas City Royals made it to the World Series off the strength of their bullpen, led by closer Greg Holland and setup men Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera. The best all around bullpen in baseball in 2014 also got some contributions, albeit small, from Aaron Crow and Tom Collins. They got larger contributions during the season from one time big league closers Jason Frasor (Blue Jays in 2004 and 2009) and Scott Downs (Blue Jays in 2009 and Angels in 2012) and 2014 first round draft pick Brandon Finnegan. That would make for as strong an 8 man pen as can probably be assembled.
The Royals, at one point, had an even better bullpen than that. The 1988 season started with veteran Dan Quisenberry leading the pen. They also had Steve Farr, who would lead the team in saves that season with 20. There was also the veteran Gene Garber, who led the Phillies in the 1970s and the Braves of the 1980s. If those three would not have been enough, the team had a RHP they acquired from the Cincinnati Reds just a year ago. This pitcher would go on to save over 300 games for them through the 1999 season. Jeff Montgomery turns 53 today. They also had Ted Power, who was the closer for the 1984 and 1985 Reds as well as a 21 year old by the name of Tom "Flash" Gordon.
I cannot imagine a 6 man pen with the talent of the pitchers I just mentioned. Of course, you would need a younger and more prime Garber (who was 40), perhaps the Gene Garber of the 1973 and 1974 before he was dealt to the Phillies. Though he was not the dominant reliever of 3-4 years ago, Quisenberry certainly did not deserve to be released in July of that season.The Royals could have had a 6-7-8-9th inning combo of Garber-Quisenberry-Montgomery-Farr. Of course, Power was a starter again at this point, but him and Gordon made it a fantastic 6 man bullpen.
I like the thought of the group in Kansas City in 1988 the best. What do you think are some of the best bullpens in the history of the game? Not by numbers, but by the accumulation of arms...