September 23, 1998
In a special season for the franchise in 1998, on this September night in St. Louis, closer Billy Wagner came in to finish off a 7-1 win over the Cardinals, securing the first 100-win season in the history of the franchise.
Wagner not working in a save situation that night for the Astros, threw a scoreless ninth to secure the win for the team and the starter that night, Randy Johnson. The Astros would win two more games before the end of the regular season, going 102-60 overall.
Wagner finished 50 games that season for the Astros, Wagner converted 30 of his 35 save opportunities that season, posting a record 4-3 in his 58 appearances that year, working 60 innings on the mound for the NL Central Champions. Billy would finish the season witha 2.70 ERA on the season, striking out a whopping 97 batters in his 60 innings of work on the year.
One of the hardest throwing and best closers to play the game, Wagner pitched in the big leagues for 16 seasons, the first nine of them with Houston. In 464 games in his career with Houston, Wagner picked up 26 wins and 29 losses, posting a lifetime 2.53 ERA in Houston, setting what still stands as the franchise record, 225 saves. 694 of his 1196 strikeouts in his career came with the Astros. After his time in Houston came to a close, he spent two seasons with the Phillies, four years with the Mets, a brief stint with the Red Sox 2009 and finished his career with one final season in 2010 as a member of the Atlanta Braves where he made his 7th and final All-Star team. Wagner finished his career with 37 saves for the Braves in 2010, to bring his final total to 422. He appeared in 14 postseason games in his career, picking up three more saves in October play.
Appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot now for five years, Wagner has seen his number of votes continue to go up, topping out at 31.7% of the needed 75% percent for election in the 2020 voting process. He has five years left of eligibility left on the ballot and given his big jump from 16.7% in 2019 to the 31.7% in 2020, many view his chances of getting into the hall better than ever before.