Billy Wagner misses out on Baseball Hall of Fame election by excruciatingly close margin


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Billy Wagner, one of the best and most reliable relievers of his era, fell a few percentage points short of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday as Joe Mauer, Adrian Beltre and Todd Helton were elected.

Wagner received 73.8% of the vote. Players need 75% of the vote to be elected to the Hall of Fame. According to CBS Sports, Wagner was five votes shy of reaching the threshold.

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Billy Wagner at All-Star Game

Billy Wagner, #15 of the New York Mets, stands in the dugout before the 79th MLB All-Star Game at the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, on July 15, 2008. (Rich Pilling/MLB via Getty Images)

Mauer and Beltre got into the Hall of Fame in their first year on the ballot. Helton was in his sixth. Wagner was in his ninth year on the ballot, which means he only has one year left to make it to Cooperstown via voting from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Wagner told MLB.com it was “super disappointing” he missed out this time around.

“You can’t hide it. It’s frustrating, but on the other hand, I thank God I had an opportunity to be on that ballot, and I’m really happy for the guys that did get in,” he said. “They deserve it.”

The baseball world was also upset that Wagner did not make the Hall of Fame this time around.

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Billy Wagner excited

Houston Astros’ Billy Wagner pumps his fist as he celebrates his 39th save of the season while helping the Astros defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 in St. Louis. (COTT ROVAK/AFP via Getty Images)

Former MLB pitcher C.J. Nitkowski was one of them. He wrote on X, “The pitcher with the most ever strikeouts by a left-handed reliever and fourth most all-time missed the Hall of Fame by 5 votes in his 9th try. Brutal.”

He was also upset that some writers only put Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez on their ballots.

Ben Verlander called Wagner not being in the Hall of Fame yet, “crazy.”

Wagner was a seven-time All-Star during his 16-year career. He played for the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves before retiring. He was an All-Star in his final season in 2010.

Billy Wagner waves

Former Houston Astros pitcher Billy Wagner during the Houston Astros Hall of Fame Weekend at Minute Maid Park on Aug. 12, 2023 in Houston. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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He finished his career with a 2.31 ERA, 422 saves with batters on both sides of the plate hitting under .190 when facing him. He is likely to get in next year when players like Ichiro Suzuki are set to appear on the ballot for the first time.

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