The announcement of the 2017 baseball Hall of Fame inductees will occur Wednesday at 6 PM on MLB Network.
Based on ballots that have been released by writers who have votes, it appears as though Wagner will fall short of the 75% required for induction.
While Wagner’s best years occurred before he closed games for the Mets, fans would love to see him be inducted. Wagner was certainly a unique talent. The hard-throwing left-hander who stood at 5’10” certainly has a case for the Hall.
There seems to be a school of thought that relief pitchers don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Currently, just four relief pitchers reside in Cooperstown. The four current relievers in the Hall are Rich Gossage, Rollie Fingers, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Bruce Sutter.
Based on the numbers of these four, Wagner may have a case for induction. All of the current relievers in the hall have thrown well over 1,000. The popular statistic in recent years has become WAR (wins above replacement). In terms of relievers, Wagner is right up there with the best of them. Wagner is 4th all-time in terms of WAR for relievers at 23.6. He only trails Mariano Rivera, Goose Gossage, and Lee Smith.
Another stat that is important for pitchers is ERA-. Among all relievers with 700+ IP, Billy Wagner is 2nd all-time, behind Yankees legend Mariano Rivera. Wagner’s ERA- of 54 puts him almost 50% above league average.
With everything being said, there is certainly an argument to be made for Billy Wagner to enter the Hall of Fame. However, his lack of IP based on other relievers may keep him from induction in 2017. Wagner’s 422 saves rank fifth-most of all time, and second-most among lefties. His career ERA of 2.31 is lower than counterpart Trevor Hoffman, and his 1,196 strikeouts are better than Mariano Rivera.
Even though Wagner’s best days were prior to him joining the Mets, I’m sure all Mets fans would want Wagner to be inducted into Cooperstown.