By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor
Former Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner hasn't pitched in the MLB since 2010, but the former flame-throwing lefty has kept the game close to him since retiring.
The 45-year-old, who spent 16 years in the majors with the Phillies, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, has coached baseball at The Miller School of Albemarle, a private school near Charlottesville, Va, for six years now. Wagner has had a chance to coach his oldest son Will, who is a baseball commit to Liberty University, and his second son Jeremy, an opportunity that he says he's cherished. He also talks glowingly about his two other children, his daughter Olivia, who plays varsity basketball despite being in just eighth grade, and his youngest son Kason, who he says is just starting to play baseball and basketball.
Wagner says that his main reason for retiring after 2010, despite being an All-Star that year and reportedly having an offer from the Phillies to play in the 2011 season, was to be with his family. But because of his connection to a few players recently selected to the Hall of Fame and his own candidacy, Wagner's legacy continues to be debated.
The seven-time All-Star got to see his former Astros teammate Craig Biggio inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015 and says he was happy to learn that Jeff Bagwell was voted in with the 2017 class.
"When Jeff was announced to the Hall of Fame, I was very excited for him. Jeff was a great teammate and great player," Wagner said of Bagwell, who he spent eight years playing alongside. "Jeff wasn't a loud leader but he had a stare that got his message across. As a teammate I always wanted to impress him with how I played. I'm just proud to say I had a chance to play with a great leader and teammate."
Wagner's individual Hall of Fame case did not see the type of upswing that Bagwell's has over the past few seasons, as he saw his total dip slightly from 10.5 percent in 2016 to 10.2 percent this year. Wagner isn't surprised that his Hall of Fame case hasn't caught fire.