Here is the conclusion of the countdown of Virginia’s greatest players of all time. I have named some very talented players who put together solid careers. Some players were recent and current, some from yesteryear. Here is a recap of Virginia’s greatest, a look back at how we got here so far:
#10 1B George McQuinn (Arlington)
#9 SS Gene Alley (Richmond)
#8 OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake)
#7 OF Jim Lemon (Covington)
#6 OF Tony Womack (Danville)
#5 OF Al Bumbry (Fredericksburg)
#4 3B David Wright (Chesapeake)
#3 SP Eppa Rixey (Culpeper)
#2 SP Justin Verlander (Manakin-Sabot)
And here we are, Virginia’s greatest ballplayer is……..Closer Billy Wagner!!
Wagner was born and raised in Virginia’s lower Shenandoah Valley, in the tiny town of Tannersville. After breaking his right arm in 2 separate childhood accidents, he taught himself how to throw lefty, and parlayed that into a college career at Ferrum College, where he set an NCAA record with 19 1/3 SO per nine innings, as well as fewest hits allowed-1.88.
He went onto get selected by the Astros in the 1993 draft, and launched a career with 5 teams-Houston, Philadelphia, New York Mets, Boston, and Atlanta. he was NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year in 1999, the first of 7 All Star games he was selected to. On June 25th, 2010, he reached a career milestone, notching his 400th career save, oen of only 5 closers in the history of baseball to reach that mark. He finished his career with 422 saves, 2 short of the all time record for lefties, and on 10 occasions he finished in the top 10 in the league in saves. He finished 703 Games in his career, 6th most all time, and his 853 games pitched are 36th on the all time list.
Billy Wagner retired after the 2010 season to spend more time with family. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.