Relievers in the Hall of Fame
Wagner is fighting an uphill battle to get into the Hall of Fame as just five relief pitchers are in it. Even then, all of them except Bryce Sutter started games at some point of their career while Wagner did not start a single one.
There is a stigma against putting players in the Hall of Fame who only played in limited amounts like designated hitters and relief pitchers. At his best, Wagner pitched just 86 innings in one season. To qualify for any stat title, a pitcher has to throw one inning per game, which is usually 162 innings. Wagner often didn’t even reach half of that mark.
Most of the time, a relief pitcher is a guy who couldn’t cut it as a starter. Due to this, many regard them as a lower quality of player, especially among older voters. Only recently – especially in the last year – have relievers been viewed as a vital part of a championship team.