One of the all time greats retired quietly at the beginning of this week. The best closer in baseball, Billy Wagner, retired after 16 seasons. He finished his last year with a 7-2 record, 37 saves and a career best 1.43 ERA. Sounds like he could keep pitching, but Billy has better things to do. He has kids to raise, spend time with.
Billy was really accepted by the Braves despite his brief tenure with the club. It's not hard to understand why when you hear things like this;
“This year has been nothing but great for me,” Wagner said. “I thank God I got to retire as a Brave. It’s the greatest honor I could ever have — to be on the favorite team of my childhood. About the only thing [better] would have been if I could have snuck Dale [Murphy's] number on. That would have been about it.”
He was great to have around the ballclub. Evidence of that would be Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel following him around like puppies. Billy always had a tip, or critique, for the young rookies. It's no coincidence that the Braves all of a sudden have the best bullpen in baseball. Maybe when he's done relaxing in Crozet, VA, he'll show up as a pitching coach somewhere.
Bye Billy, thanks for the memories.