Billy Wagner, greatest from Virginia?

(I have copied this from my other blog, where I have picked who I believe are the greatest players to come from each of the 50 states. This was my Virginia choice.)

Virginia, the mother of presidents. History buffs know of Virginia’s roles in American History. It was here that 8 US presidents were born. It was here that Lee and Grant ended the Civil War. It was here that the first settlement in our nation happened.

Virginia has also produced its share of MLB heroes. Eppa Rixey rose from the small town of Culpeper to win 263 games in the majors and be elected to the HOF. Al Bumbry came out of Fredericksburg and put together a solid career with the Orioles, a career that included 1973 AL Rookie of the Year. Goochland’s Justin Verlander won 130 games for the Tigers before the age of 31. David Wright rose from the athletic hotbed of Hampton Roads to play 3B for the Mets and has played 11 seasons, batting north of .300.

My pick for the Old Dominion’s greatest of all time-Dynamo closer Billy Wagner.

Wagner, a native of Tannersville, pitched 16 seasons in the majors, with Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, and the Mets. He racked up 422 saves, 2 short of the all time record for lefties. Ten times he was in the top 10 in the league in that category,  including four times in the top 5. He is one of only 5 closers ever to reach 400 saves, and his total is more than 6 closers who are in the HOF. He also was a 7-time all star, and in 2003 was one of a record six pitchers to combine on a no-hitter.

Billy Wagner retired after the 2010 season, and in 2012 was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.


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