Chopcast: Billy Wagner talks career, new book
ATLANTA – By the time Billy Wagner arrived in Atlanta prior to the 2010 season, he already owned 385 saves and seven All-Star appearances. Overcoming a wealth of personal challenges and, in his words, immaturity issues, Wagner entered the final season of his illustrious career with his childhood favorite team.
Wagner delivered, too, posting some of the best numbers of his career during his age-38 season. He finished the 2010 season with a 1.43 ERA in 71 appearances, including 37 saves and 104 strikeouts. He retired at the end of the season with the fifth-most saves in major league history (second-most among left-handers behind John Franco).
With his new book, "A Way Out: Faith, Hope and The Love of the Game," coming out, Wagner joins the Chopcast team — Zach Dillard and Jay Clemons — to discuss his career, his personal life during and after baseball and the mindset of a closer (including that of his menthe, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel). Here are a few of the conversation's highlights:
-- Coming off a heated series against the Brewers, how would a young Billy Wagner have handled the Carlos Gomez situation on Wednesday night in Atlanta? Comparatively, how did the Braves handle the situation?
-- How does a guy throw 100-mph … with his off-hand?
-- What were the challenges in writing a book? What has the reception been to the content, especially a few of the more personal anecdotes?
-- Just how impressive has Kimbrel been since Wagner retired in 2010? Does one of the greatest closers of all time see any of himself in the Braves closer? Is it difficult to remain humble as a closer?
-- Dale Murphy was Wagner's childhood idol. How did the first meeting with the former National League MVP go?
-- Should there be any concerns with how the Braves have played in the month of September?