It’s no secret that Billy Wagner had a contentious relationship with Phillies fans. During his two seasons as the closer, the left-hander converted 59-of-66 save opportunities.
But it was a pair of blown saves against the Astros in 2005 that stand out most, especially a crushing, three-run home run to Craig Biggio. Ultimately, the Phillies were knocked out of the playoff race.
“I never felt like I ripped the fans,” Wagner said. “I liked playing here. I was somewhat immature at times. I could have handled things better. I was always very intense, and sometimes, statements I made could have been misconstrued. I was pretty upset about getting traded from Houston in the first place.”
Wagner, now 39 years old, said he is planning to retire at the end of the season. It could be the postseason if the Braves make a late run in the NL East or earn a wild card. Wagner’s 420 career saves place him fifth all-time and second among left-handers, behind John Franco’s 424.
“I hope we go to the playoffs,” Wagner said. “I’m pretty sure that no matter what happens, I’ll hang ’em up and go spend time with my family. It’s been a great ride.”
“I wish the Phillies could have started their playoff run a bit earlier when I was here,” Wagner said. “I liked pitching here. They’re passionate and I’m passionate — and sometimes, you can say something that gets blown out of proportion. I’m glad for the fans here. They have deserved this stretch of postseason baseball.”