Billy Wagner
American baseball player
Billy Wagner
William Edward Wagner, nicknamed "Billy the Kid", is a retired Major League Baseball relief pitcher. He pitched for the Houston Astros (1995–2003), the Philadelphia Phillies (2004–2005), the New York Mets (2006–2009), the Boston Red Sox (2009), and the Atlanta Braves (2010). Wagner is one of the few Major League relief pitchers to accumulate a total of 400 or more saves in his baseball career.
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Hall of Fame Ballot Has Bigger Stars, but a Closer Has Huge Numbers
NYTimes - about 1 year
Billy Wagner, a left-hander who ranks fifth on the career saves list, will make his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot, due at the end of the year.
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NYTimes article
Veteran Donates Kidney To Army Buddy He Served With In Vietnam
Huffington Post - over 1 year
NEW YORK (AP) — Serving together in Vietnam, John Middaugh and Henry "Bill" Warner forged an Army-brothers bond they knew was profound and lasting. A world and nearly a half a century away from the war zone where they'd counted on each other, Middaugh put himself on the line for Warner this month in a new way: by giving one of his kidneys. "He had my back many times," Middaugh said as they awaited surgery last week at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, across the country from his home in Port Orchard, Washington. "So this is payback time." Both are now 73. Warner, of Brightwaters, New York, had been through a health wringer since his kidneys failed after heart bypass surgery in June 2014, abruptly thrusting him into dialysis. But "we got through Vietnam. We'll get through this," Warner said. "Hey, Bill," Middaugh joked, "we got a PT formation tomorrow." Their connection goes back to March 1968 in Fort Carson, Colorado, where C Company, 1st Battalion, ...
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Huffington Post article
Bill Warner, Set Speed Record on Motorcycle, Dies at 44
NYTimes - over 3 years
Mr. Warner set a world land speed record, 311.945 miles per hour in 1.5 miles, in 2011.
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NYTimes article
Motorcyclist dies in 285 mph crash
CNN - over 3 years
WCSH spoke with Bill Warner minutes before he crashed trying to break his record for fastest speed on a motorcycle.
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CNN article
Minutes later, he died in 285 mph crash
CNN - over 3 years
WCSH spoke with Bill Warner minutes before he crashed trying to break his record for fastest speed on a motorcycle.
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CNN article
Rivera Has Had Two Great Careers
Wall Street Journal - almost 5 years
If Mariano Rivera really has thrown his last major-league pitch, then one of the most remarkable careers in baseball history — all of it spent in Yankees pinstripes — ended with Rivera’s batting-practice injury on Thursday. Getty Images A decade ago, Mariano Rivera was one of baseball’s best pitchers, and he got better from there. Rivera was already one of the best relievers in history a decade ago. Then he got better. Last year, as he was setting a new career saves record, I and many other writers counted some of the ways he’s been the best reliever ever, and one of the best pitchers. Here are a few more: • No pitcher has been as efficient as Rivera in adding value to his team. He has 58 wins above replacement (WAR) in his career, meaning he’s added about 58 wins to the Yankees’ totals above what they would have won if he’d been replaced by a player just below the average of the major leagues. That amounts to 4.76 WAR for every 100 innings he’s pitched. No other pitche ...
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Wall Street Journal article
Affordable Care Act Will Help Expand Family Health Centers
WFPL - almost 5 years
Family Health Centers in Louisville will expand under provisions in the federal healthcare overhaul law. The Affordable Care Act includes funding for grants to community health centers. Family Health Centers will receive $5.3 million dollars under the act to treat more patients. The bulk of the funds will be used to move an east Broadway clinic and expand it to three times its current size. A portion of the money will also be used to renovate a clinic that cares for the homeless. The money can only be used on facility improvements, and Family Health Centers doesn’t currently have the staff to handle larger clinics and higher demand. But executive director Bill Wagner says the ACA could help with that, too.  “We’re hoping that with the combination of the insurance coverage expansions under health reform and other funding, that we can fully staff the expanded facility to see an additional 10,000 patients,” says executive director Bill Wagner. “We hope that many of the patients we ...
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WFPL article
Small Biz Owners: $2K Grants Offered by City
Middletown Patch - almost 5 years
The city has increased its commitment to economic development by offering new small business owners the opportunity to receive up to $2,000 in grants. Middletown’s Small Business Creation and Expansion Grant Program is federally funded and provides an initial grant of $1,500 for eligible business expenses and a bonus grant of $500 for businesses that go through the Middletown Small Business Development Center. The center, based in the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce and funded by the city and the chamber, provides one-on-one mentoring and guidance to solve the unique challenges that small businesses and startups face. Mayor Dan Drew said the program is uniquely stationed to help the long-term unemployed. “We know there are a lot of unemployed people out there and we know when people lose their jobs many look to start their own businesses. We wanted to support them." Director of Planning and Zoning, William Warner, offered a sobering statistic his department hoped to counter. ...
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Middletown Patch article
Smoltz: Few better, none tougher or more competitive
ajc - almost 5 years
This morning I was thinking about John Smoltz being the only major league pitcher with at least 200 wins and 150 saves, then wondering where he ranks among players I’ve covered on a daily basis 18 seasons as a major league beat writer. But not in the obvious categories of best pitchers. I was thinking along even more subjective lines, and here’s what I came up with: He’s in my top four starters (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Smoltz, Kevin Brown); my top three closers (Billy Wagner and Smoltz tied, ahead of Robb Nen); my top three or four toughest hombres (Andre Dawson, Smoltz, Glavine, Darren Daulton) and absolutely, without a doubt, my No. 1 most competitive. For sheer competitiveness, no one could match Smoltz. The only person I’ve ever covered on any beat that was as competitive as Smoltz was Don Shula. I was standing on the sidelines about 50 feet from Shula when he became the winningest coach in NFL history (they took the writers down to the field in the final two minutes of … ...
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ajc article
Braves’ Backbone Is Their Bullpen
NYTimes - over 5 years
Craig Kimbrel was 7 years old when Mark Wohlers threw his arms in the air and embraced his catcher , Javy Lopez, to celebrate the last out of the World Series on Oct. 28, 1995. Kimbrel’s memories are fuzzy. “I think it was around Halloween,” said Kimbrel, born and raised in Huntsville, Ala. “I remember doing all the
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NYTimes article
Reyes to begin three-game stint with B-Mets - Towanda Daily Review
Google News - over 5 years
NYSEG Stadium has not hosted a Mets' rehabber since 2008 when the B-Mets featured appearances from Luis Castillo, Ryan Church, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez and Billy Wagner. Gates open at 5:30 pm for Thursday's 6:35 pm game
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Google News article
Kimbrel's run has been something to behold - Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
He's 15 years younger than his retired mentor Billy Wagner was last season, when a 38-year-old Wagner was the best Braves closer since John Smoltz. Kimbrel, 23, overcame an inconsistent early season stretch to become the most dominant reliever in
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Google News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Billy Wagner
  • 2013
    Age 41
    He coached against his high school alma mater and his own high school coach on April 6, 2013.
    More Details Hide Details or Retrosheet, or Baseball Library, or The Baseball Analysts, or Billy Wagner news conference after elbow injury
  • 2011
    Age 39
    On March 30, 2011, the Braves officially released Wagner.
    More Details Hide Details Billy Wagner is currently the Baseball Coach for the private Miller School.
    On February 12, 2011, Wagner reiterated his intention to retire, stating, "I’m totally content with not playing baseball," Wagner said. "I love watching it, I love talking about it.
    More Details Hide Details If I miss anything, it would be some of the guys I played with and actually competing on the field, but other than that, you can keep it."
  • 2010
    Age 38
    The Red Sox did offer Wagner arbitration, but he declined so the Red Sox received the first-round draft pick from the team that signed Wagner (Atlanta Braves) and a sandwich pick in the 2010 rookie draft.
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    After initial reports suggested Wagner would invoke his no-trade clause to veto a trade, he agreed to be traded on August 25 for Chris Carter and Eddie Lora, with the added stipulation that the Red Sox could not exercise his $8 million option for 2010, but could offer him salary arbitration.
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    Wagner retired to Crozet, Virginia following the 2010 season.
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    He played his final regular season game on October 3, 2010, and struck out the final four batters he faced – the last three of whom struck out looking.
    More Details Hide Details Wagner made his final major league appearance on October 8 in Game 2 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. Wagner suffered an injury to his left oblique and left the game after facing just two batters. The Braves eventually lost the series before Wagner could recover.
    On July 11, Wagner was selected as an injury replacement to the 2010 National League All Star roster, which he declined due to an ankle injury.
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    After the game, he told reporters that he still planned to retire after the 2010 season.
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    On April 30, 2010, Wagner revealed that he would retire at the end of the 2010 season to spend more time with his family.
    More Details Hide Details In a game against the Detroit Tigers on June 25, Wagner achieved his 400th career save.
  • 2009
    Age 37
    On August 21, 2009, it was reported that the Boston Red Sox claimed Wagner off waivers from the Mets.
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    He pitched for the first time in 2009 for the Mets late in the season on August 20, in a game against the Atlanta Braves.
    More Details Hide Details He pitched one inning with two strikeouts and giving up no hits or walks.
    Despite these statements, Wagner remained on the Mets' 40-man roster on the disabled list at the beginning of the season in 2009, and still drawing his salary.
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    However, Wagner stated furthermore that he had "played his last baseball game as a Met". Wagner explained that it would not make good business sense for the Mets to guarantee him $8. million for 2009, pitching or not pitching.
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    In the news conference following the announcement of his major elbow injury, Wagner vowed that he would return to playing Major League Baseball. Although he had previously stated that he would not pitch anymore following 2009, Wagner amended this by saying that he did not wish to end his baseball career in this fashion – ending it on a major injury.
    More Details Hide Details He also said that he had dreams of winning a World Series, and also of reaching a total of about 420 saves in his career.
    Wagner had a guaranteed-payment baseball contract, and he was paid a total of $10.5 million by the Mets in 2009.
    More Details Hide Details For the baseball year 2010, his contract gave the Mets an option to pay him $8. million for the season, or else to pay him a $1. million to terminate the contract.
  • 2008
    Age 36
    In September 2008, the Mets announced that Wagner had torn the ulnar collateral ligament of his left elbow and also his flexor pronator tendon.
    More Details Hide Details These injuries required Tommy John surgery. This surgery, and its recovery, put Wagner out of play for a calendar year.
    On May 15, 2008, Wagner issued a tirade full of profanity against his teammates and coaches following the Mets' 1–0 loss in a game against the Washington Nationals.
    More Details Hide Details Some people have speculated that this was directed in particular toward his teammates Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado about their not being available for interviews with the press following games. However, Wagner's pitching performance in April, May, and June was good enough to find him chosen by the All-Star Game's National League manager for his pitching staff. During this All-Star Game, Wagner, pitching late in the game, surrendered a game-tying double to the American league's third baseman, Evan Longoria, and then the National League lost the ballgame in 15 innings.
  • 2007
    Age 35
    His performance in 2007 was earned him a slot on the National League All-Star Team.
    More Details Hide Details The second half of Wagner's baseball season was not nearly as successful. He converted 13 out of 17 save chances, and his ERA was 3.90. Wagner's pitching performance declined during the final two months of the season. On August 30, Wagner failed to save the crucial fourth game of a four-game series between the Phillies and Mets. The final result was four game sweep by the Phillies in this series. This sweep turned out to be the difference in the season: the Mets finished one game behind the Phillies at the end of the regular season. One more win against the Phillies would have allowed the Mets to win the division that year. Wagner had an ERA of 6.23 in August of that season, and he suffered from back spasms during September.
    Wagner had a good first half of the season in 2007.
    More Details Hide Details He was successful in 17 out of 18 save chances, and his ERA was 1.94. July was his best month, when he recorded eight saves in eight chances; did not allow a run scored; and he won the D.H.L. "Delivery Man of the Month" Award. During this month, Wagner's ERA was .00, he gave up two hits, and he pitched enough innings to be equivalent to a complete game pitched.
  • 2006
    Age 34
    Wagner finished 2006 with 40 saves and a 2.24 ERA and recorded his milestone 300th career save.
    More Details Hide Details His performance contributed to the New York Mets first division championship in 18 years. However, Wagner did not have a hot post-season performance: he recorded three saves, but he lost one game and allowed six runs in the 5⅔ innings that he pitched – an ERA of 10.40.
  • 2005
    Age 33
    The confrontation reportedly was one of several factors that drove Wagner from Philadelphia in the 2005–2006 offseason.
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    Wagner became a free agent after the 2005 season and signed a four-year, $43 million contract and a one-year club option with the New York Mets.
    More Details Hide Details In a May 7, 2006 interview, Wagner stated that he was confronted by all of his former Phillies teammates in September 2005 after Wagner criticized their performance in the media by repeatedly saying that the Phillies had "no chance" of making the playoffs, with Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell reportedly calling Wagner a "rat."
    He had the best ERA of his career in 2005 and again led the league in games finished.
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  • 2004
    Age 32
    Wagner was traded to Philadelphia before the 2004 season, only to have his season shortened by a strain in his hand.
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  • 2003
    Age 31
    During the closing weeks of the 2003 regular season and well into the days following the World Series, Wagner criticized the Astros front office for not building a playoff worthy team.
    More Details Hide Details On November 3, Billy Wagner was informed that he had been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.
    On June 11, 2003, Wagner closed out a no-hitter thrown by a record six pitchers.
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    Then, he enjoyed his best season in 2003, when he reached career-highs in saves (44), innings pitched (86) and games (78), and got 105 strikeouts while leading the league in games finished.
    More Details Hide Details In that year, he also cemented his status as the hardest-throwing man in baseball by leading the major leagues with 159 pitches at 100 mph or above. Second on the list was starter Bartolo Colón with 12.
  • 2002
    Age 30
    In 2002, Wagner went 4–2 with a 2.52 ERA, 88 strikeouts, and 35 saves in 75 innings.
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  • 2001
    Age 29
    He would rebound in 2001.
    More Details Hide Details Coming off elbow surgery, he posted a record of 2–5 with 39 saves in 41 chances, and an ERA of 2.73. He was one of the leading candidates for TSN Comeback Player of the Year in the National League. In 62⅔ innings, he struck out 79 hitters.
  • 2000
    Age 28
    The 2000 season started off in typical fashion for Wagner, who saved three of the Astros' first four wins while retiring 16 of the first 20 batters he faced.
    More Details Hide Details However, after recording a save on May 4 against the Chicago Cubs, he suffered back-to-back blown saves on May 12–13 against the Reds. While he was still occasionally throwing 100 m.p.h. as measured by radar, he wasn't throwing his slider at 85 to 90 m.p.h. as much as had. Wagner continued to struggle before going on the disabled list with a torn flexor tendon in his pitching arm and would miss the final three and a half months of the season. He finished with 2–4 record, a 6.18 ERA, and six saves in 15 opportunities, striking out 28 and walking 18 in 27⅔ innings.
  • 1999
    Age 27
    Wagner had an outstanding 1999 season.
    More Details Hide Details He captured the Relief Man of the Year Award in the National League. He saved 39 games and struck out 124 in 74 innings (15 SO/9), establishing a new major league record for strikeouts per 9 innings (50 innings minimum), including the side 15 times. Wagner posted a 4–1 record with an ERA of 1.57, and had more saves than hits allowed (in 74⅔ innings, he allowed 35 hits).
  • 1998
    Age 26
    In 1998, Wagner posted a 4–3 record with a 2.70 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched.
    More Details Hide Details He saved 30 games, which was the third-best single season in team history. He converted 19 consecutive save chances between his first blown save against the Los Angeles Dodgers, on April 12, and then his second one facing the St. Louis Cardinals on July 11. On July 15, while trying to cling to an 8–7 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks, he was struck by a batted ball on the left side of his head behind his ear. Wagner was alert and conscious on the ground, and his vital signs remained good. He was carried off the baseball diamond on a stretcher, and it was found that he had suffered a concussion. He spent the night in the hospital. On the next day, he flew home to Houston, and he was also immediately placed on baseball's 15-day disabled list. Wagner worked on his balance and coordination for weeks before he was cleared by the team physicians to embark on a rehabilitation assignment with a minor-league team. After pitching there in three games, Wagner was recalled to the Astros on August 6, and he completed the rest of the baseball season there without incident.
  • 1997
    Age 25
    In 1997, Wagner played his first full season in the Major Leagues.
    More Details Hide Details He accumulated 23 saves from 29 save opportunities, and he struck out 106 batters in 66⅓ innings. This set a Major League record of 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings, which broke the old record of 14.1 set by the former Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Rob Dibble in 1992 (with 110 strikeouts in 70⅓ innings). Wagner struck out the side 13 times in his 66 innings pitched, and his season total of 106 strikeouts set a Houston Astros record for relief pitchers.
  • 1996
    Age 24
    His baseball contract was purchased by the Astros on June 2, 1996, and Wagner was then assigned exclusively as a short-relief pitcher by the Astros manager.
    More Details Hide Details He finished the Major League season with nine saves in 13 opportunities, allowed 28 hits, and he struck out 67 hitters in 51⅔ innings – giving him a rate of 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. His opponents had a batting average of .165 against him.
    Wagner began in 1996, once again in the minor leagues as a starting pitcher, but he finished the season by becoming a relief pitcher for the Astros.
    More Details Hide Details He accumulated a 6–2 record with a 3.28 ERA, in twelve starts for the AAA Tucson Toros.
  • 1995
    Age 23
    Wagner made his first Major League appearance with the Astros, as a late-season promotion from AAA baseball, on September 13, 1995, pitching against one batter late in a 10–5 defeat by the New York Mets.
    More Details Hide Details This was his only opportunity to pitch for the Astros that season.
  • 1994
    Age 22
    In 1994, Wagner led all minor league pitchers – in every league – in strikeouts, with 204.
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  • 1993
    Age 21
    Wagner was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft in June 1993 by the Houston Astros, and he played exclusively as a starting pitcher in minor league baseball.
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  • 1992
    Age 20
    Wagner set single-season NCAA records for strikeouts per nine innings, with 19⅓ in 1992, and fewest hits allowed per nine innings, with 1.88.
    More Details Hide Details In 2012, Wagner was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
  • 1971
    Born on July 25, 1971.
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