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Podcast: Billy Wagner

Billy Wagner pitched 16 seasons in Major League Baseball. He ranks sixth all-time — All. Time. — in career saves (422).

The Top 3 closers in the game are all in the Hall of FameMariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (651) and Lee Smith (478). They all earned their real estate in Cooperstown, but so has Wagner, we think.

On the @MetsRewind Podcast we asked Wagner: What would you like to ask the Hall of Fame committee about the voting process? 

Here is what he said:

MetsRewind: You didn’t get the votes required for induction to the Hall of Fame. According to the voting rules published by the Hall of Fame, “voting shall be based upon the player’s record playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team he played for.

MetsRewind: Do you feel you had the player numbers to be elected into the Hall of Fame? Yes or no?

Billy Wagner: Yes.

MetsRewind: Do you feel you had the ability?

Billy Wagner: Yes.

MetsRewind: Integrity?

Billy Wagner: Yes.

MetsRewind: Sportsmanship?

Billy Wagner: Yes.

MetsRewind: Character?

Billy Wagner: Yes.

MetsRewind: Contribution?

Billy Wagner: Yes.

MetsRewind: Okay. What would you like to ask the committee about the process and the way this is done to determine who does and does not get into the Hall of Fame?

Billy Wagner: I understand it’s a very difficult vote. I also understand it’s a very biased vote. It’s not a numbers vote. I know that sounds awful, but it’s not a numbers vote. Numbers, for me, are not the issue. I believe it’s who you know … at times.

Every media guy I’ve ever met said I was such a great quote. So I don’t know if I wasn’t personable or what. I was always in good character there at my locker and accountable. I may not have given everybody the answer or the sound bite they were looking for, but I was always accountable to what I did.

I don’t know how that voting goes. I mean, a lot of my heroes aren’t in the Hall of Fame as it is … I tried to be the best player I could. I was a good teammate. I was there good and bad. I didn’t get along with everybody and, you know, that’s, that’s part of the game. I wasn’t there to be best friends with everybody. We were there to win.

When I hear Derek Jeter talk about who’s the best fastball, and he says my name, or when I hear Nolan Ryan say who’s the best fastball you’ve ever seen? And he says my name, I value those guys because those guys saw me … I value the guys that I played against. They understood what I was about.

I love my opportunities to compete against the best in the world and from that point on, I have nothing else I can really say or do. I’m very honored. I’m very blessed to be in that situation and, and the situation I’m in right now.

But when when I look at my small career, my numbers are good enough and in a lot of ways better than a lot of the numbers that are in the Hall of Fame right now. If that’s not good enough, I just thank God that I had that opportunity to play.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the inductions for the Class of 2023 on Tuesday, January 24 live from Cooperstown on MLB Network. The inductees will be honored in a ceremony on Hall of Fame Weekend (Friday, July 21-Sunday, July 23) in Cooperstown.