Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter overshadowed another significant accomplishment on Friday night, as Billy Wagner notched his 400th career save, striking out the side in a 3-1 win over the Tigers.
Wagner is just the fifth player in baseball history to eclipse the 400-save plateau. The 38-year-old is now 24 saves behind John Franco for the most saves ever by a left-handed pitcher.
Here’s what Wagner told David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
“When you go out there and pitch for 14 years, you start to put some
numbers together. This is just a credit to the hard work and all the
people behind me that always made the plays and made me look good.”
Wagner has announced his intention to retire after 2010, despite a $6.5 million vesting option for 2011 if he finishes 50 games this season. He has already finished 30 games and it’s not even July. After Friday’s game, Braves skipper Bobby Cox jokingly suggested that Wags should think about sticking around.
“He’s been dominating all season long, and maybe
we can talk him out of retirement.”
Wagner, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2008, is currently averaging 95.8 mph on his fastball, his highest velocity since the 2006 season. The southpaw has a 1.19 ERA, 15 saves and a 46/12 K/BB ratio over his first 30 1/3 innings, just the latest addition to a resume that is completely underrated in the scope of baseball history. He’s just as dominant as ever.