Six former Phillies eligible for 2021 Hall of Fame honors
By Matt Rappa
2. Billy Wagner, 6th year eligible
Billy Wagner is sometimes forgotten in Phillies history, as he was the team’s closer nearly leading up to Brad Lidge and his perfect 2008 season that ended with a parade down Broad Street. Coincidentally, the team acquired the hard-throwing left-hander via trade from the Houston Astros following the 2003 season, just as they would do with Lidge a few years later.
Looking back, Wagner only played two seasons in red pinstripes across his 16-season career, 2004 and 2005. Combined, he went 8-3 with a 1.86 ERA and 59 saves, all the while striking out 146 batters and walking just 26 through 126 innings.
Wagner also blew only seven saves combined between 2004-05, which compared to 2020 Phillies bullpen numbers, seems Hall of Fame-worthy in it of itself; he received 31.7 percent of the vote in 2020, and has five years left of eligibility to reach the 75 percent mark.
Overall in his career, Wagner recorded 422 saves, which ranks as the sixth-most all-time, trailing only Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), Francisco Rodriguez (437), and John Franco (424).
His seven career All-Star appearances are more than the average relief pitcher garners; the Virginia native even received Cy Young Award and MVP consideration twice each, including 1999 when he went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA, 0.777 WHIP, and recorded 39 saves while blowing just three for the Astros.
In his career, Wagner appeared for the Astros (1995-2003), Phillies (2004-05), New York Mets (2006-09), Boston Red Sox (2009), and Atlanta Braves (2010).