San Francisco Giants: Barry Bonds and My IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

By Michael Saltzman
16 of 16

Billy Wagner
27.7 Career WAR, 422 saves, 1196 strikeouts, 2.31 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 187 ERA+

Billy Wagner isn’t Rivera or Hoffman, but he might be the best left hander to ever pitch out of the bullpen. Wagner dominated on the mound. His 187 ERA+ is the best in history.
Pedro Martinez is next at 154. His K/9 rate of 11.92 is also the greatest in history. Getting on base was an accomplishment against Wagner. He was the prototype closer for shortening games to eight innings. If your team was losing in heading into the ninth and Wagner was coming in, you weren’t going to win that game.

More from Around the Foghorn

Wagner, like Hoffman, didn’t walk anyone either. Wagner faced 3600 batters and walked 300. Once again though, closers are looked down on by voters for not having the same impact on the game as everyday players and starting pitchers. I don’t see why a pitcher should be punished for doing the job they were asked to do. Would closers be looked at differently if they weren’t so specialized? Managers asked pitchers to pitch only a single inning, and never put them in games unless it was a save situation. How is that then the players fault when judging their worthiness into the Hall of Fame. Wagner dominated like no other closer with some of the best numbers in baseball history. That sure sounds worthy of the Hall of Fame to me.

Next: The Giants Top Five Free Agent Signings

The IBWAA Hall of Fame Announcement will coincide with the BBWAA announcement on January 18, 2017.