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Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner

Position(s):
2B, OF, 1B, 3B, P, SS
Nicknames:
The Flying Dutchman
Born:
February 24, 1874
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 11"
Weight:
200 lbs
Major League Debut:
7-19-1897 with LS3
Hall of Fame:
1936

Notable Achievements

  • 8-time NL Batting Average Leader (1900, 1903, 1904, 1906-1909 & 1911)
  • 4-time NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1904 & 1907-1909)
  • 6-time NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1900, 1902, 1904 & 1907-1909)
  • 8-time OPS Leader (1900, 1902, 1904, 1906-1909 & 1911)
  • 2-time NL Runs Scored Leader (1902 & 1906)
  • 2-time NL Hits Leader (1908 & 1910)
  • 6-time NL Total Bases Leader (1900, 1904 & 1906-1909)
  • 7-time NL Doubles Leader (1900, 1902, 1904 & 1906-1909)
  • 3-time NL Triples Leader (1900, 1903 & 1908)
  • 5-time NL RBI Leader (1901, 1902, 1908, 1909 & 1912)
  • 5-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1901, 1902, 1904, 1907 & 1908)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 9 (1898-1901, 1903, 1905, 1908, 1909 & 1912)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1900-1902, 1905, 1906 & 1908)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1900 & 1908)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 5 (1904-1908)
  • Won a World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1936

 

Quotes:


"He was the nearest thing to a perfect player no matter where his manager chose to play him." - John McGraw

" . . . there is no one who has ever played the game that I would be more anxious to have on a baseball team." - Bill James

"The greatest ball player of all time." - John McGraw

"Acknowledging that there may have been one or two whose talents were greater, there is no one who has ever played the game that I would be more anxious to have on a baseball team." - Historian / Author Bill James in The Biographical Encyclopedia (2000)

"Chuck him the ball as hard as you can... and pray." - John McGraw in George Plimpton's Out of My League (2003)

"He was a gentle, kind man, a storyteller, supportive of rookies, patient with the fans, cheerful in hard times, careful of the example he set for youth, a hard worker, a man who had no enemies and who never forgot his friends. He was the most beloved man in baseball before Ruth." - Historian / Author Bill James


"I name Wagner first on my list, not only because he was a great batting champion and base-runner, and also baseball's foremost shortstop - but because Honus could have been first at any other position, with the possible exception of pitcher. In all my career, I never saw such a versatile player." - John McGraw in The Sporting News (December 6, 1955)

"I think he was so well put together and his system so well adjusted that his bodily functions were near to perfection. This is especially remarkable because for several years, starting at age twelve, he worked in a mine near his hometown of Mansfield, Pennsylvania, new renamed Carnegie." - Author Fred Lieb in Baseball As I Have Known It (1996)

"It is hoped that Louisville didn't throw away very much money on the Wagner deal, as times are had and Wagner won't set the world afire as a third baseman. He is a better outfielder than infielder." - Sporting Life (July 24, 1897)

"Nobody ever saw anything graceful or picturesque about Wagner on the diamond. His movements have been likened to the gambols of a caracoling elephant. He is ungainly and so bowlegged that when he runs his limbs seem to be moving in a circle after the fashion of a propeller. But he can run like the wind." - New York American (November 19, 1907)

"One day he was batting against a young pitcher who had just come into the league. The catcher was a kid, too. A rookie battery. The pitcher threw Honus a curveball, and he swung at it and missed and fell down on one knee. Looked helpless as a robin. I was kind of surprised, but the guy sitting next to me on the bench poked me in the ribs and said, 'Watch this next one.' Those kids figured they had the old man's weaknesses, you see, and served him up the same dish-as he knew they would. Well, Honus hit a line drive so hard the fence in left field went back and forth for five minutes." - Burleigh Grimes in The Quotable Baseball Fanatic (2004)

"One of Five Immortals elected to Cooperstown in the inaugural-year balloting, Wagner had his lack of flair and extravagant anecdotes to blame for later-day wonder that some early-century spectactors regarded him as superior to Ty Cobb." - Authors Donald Dewey & Nichols Acocella in The Biographical History of Baseball (1995)

"Spike Honus Wagner? It would have taken quite a foolhardy man." - Ty Cobb in My Life in Baseball (1993)

"There is something Lincolnesque about him, his rugged homeliness, his simplicity, his integrity, and his true nobility of character." - Sportswriter Arthur Daley

"The way to get a ball past Honus is to hit it eight feet over his head." - John McGraw inThe Biographical Encyclopedia (2000)

  

"With his huge hands and quick moves he was considered the premier shortstop of the era and probably the best of all time given the size of the gloves and player surfaces." - Jonathan Fraser Light in The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball (1997)

"You can have your Cobbs, your Lajoies, your Chases, your Bakers, but I'll take Wagner as my pick of the greatest. He is not only a marvelous mechanical player, but he has the quickest baseball brain I have ever observed." - John McGraw

Quotes By Wagner:
"I don't make speeches. I just let my bat speak for me in the summertime." Source: Dr. Freeman in The Wisdom of Old-Time Baseball (1996)

"I don't want my picture in any cigarettes, but I also don't want you to lose the ten dollars, so I'm enclosing my check for that sum." Source: Bennett Cerf in The Laugh's on Me (1959)

"In all my years of play, I never saw an ump deliberately make an unfair decision. They really called them as they saw 'em." Source: Jack Sher in Sport Magazine's All-Time All Stars (1977)

"I never have been sick. I don't even know what it means to be sick. I hear other players say they have a cold. I just don't know what it would feel like to have a cold - I never had one." Source: Fred Lieb in Baseball As I Have Known It (1996)

"I won't play for a penny less than fifteen hundred dollars" Source: Paul Dickson in Baseball's Greatest Quotations (1992)

"Keeler could bunt any time he chose. If the third baseman came in for a tap, he invariably pushed the ball past the fielder. If he stayed back, he bunted. Also, he had a trick of hitting a high hopper to the infielder. The ball would bounce so high that he was across the bag before he could be stopped." Source: 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame Yearbook (1989)

"There ain't much to being a ballplayer, if you're a ballplayer." Source: The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball (1997)

"Things were changing fast by that time, women were beginning to come to the ball parks. We had to stop cussing." Source: Jack Sher in Sport (June 1949)

Wagner's All Time Team:

Honus Wagner Teammates

George Gibson
Bill McKechnie
Dots Miller
Tommy Leach
Joe Dolan
Ginger Beaumont
Max Carey
Fred Clarke
Deacon Phillippe
Sam Leever
Babe Adams
Vic Willis
Wilbur Cooper
Fred Clarke

 

Best Season: 1908
Wagner had a lot of great seasons, but we'll settle on 1908. The Bucs finished one game back in the pennant race, but Wagner did his share to keep them in the hunt. He won his sixth batting title (.354), paced the league in slugging, OBP, OPS, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, RBI and steals. He was at the top of his game. He had a similar season in 1909, winning the batting crown again.

Facts
Honus Wagner pitched in two games: one in 1900 and the other in 1902. Though he walked six batters in his eight innings, Hans did not allow a run, leaving him with a nifty 0.00 career ERA.

In 1909, Honus Wagner appeared in a short film that showed him giving batting tips to a young baseball player. That youngster grew up to play "Moe" in "The Three Stooges" comedy team.

In 1905, Honus Wagner signed the first endorsement contract with a bat company. His deal with Hillerich & Bradsby, Co. called for them to supply Wagner with Louisville Slugger bats to his specifications. In return, the bat company branded Wagner's name on their bats and sold them to eager fans. Since Wagner's deal, more than 8,500 players have had their names on a Louisville Slugger.

Most Career Hits, Brothers
1. Paul and Lloyd Waner... 5,611
2. Felipe, Matty, and Jesus Alou... 5,094
3. Joe, Dom, and Vince DiMaggio... 4,853
4. Ed, Jim, Frank, Joe, and Tom Delahanty... 4,211
5. Hank and Tommy Aaron... 3,987
6. Cal Jr. and Billy Ripken... 3,858
7. Roberto and Sandy Jr. Alomar... 3,627
8. Joe and Luke Sewell... 3,619
9. Ken, Clete and Cloyd Boyer...3,559
10. Honus and Butts Wagner... 3,489
11. Bob and Roy Johnson... 3,343
12. Eddie and Rich Murray... 3,299


Similar Players
Offensively, Nap Lajoie was a similar player.

Related Players
Fred Clarke, Ty Cobb, Pie Traynor

 

Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1936 BBWAA 215 95.1%
1936 Veterans 5 %

 

Feats
Three times in his career Wagner stole second, third, and home in the same inning. He did it in 1902, 1907, and 1909... In 1914, on June 9th, Wagner hit for the cycle.

Milestones
On June 9, 1914, Wagner collected his 3,000th hit, a double off Philadelphia's Erskine Mayer.

Milestones

  • June 9, 1914: 3000th Hit... Hit was a double off of Erskine Mayer.

Batting Feats

  • June 15, 1902: Steal 2nd, 3rd, Home...

  • September 25, 1907: Steal 2nd, 3rd, Home...

  • May 2, 1909: Steal 2nd, 3rd, Home...

  • August 22, 1912: Cycle...

Notes
Few awards existed when Wagner was at his peak. He did finish second in National League MVP voting in 1912, when he was 38 years old. Had there been an MVP award during his prime, he may have won as many as eight... Wagner was one of the first five inductees to the Hall of Fame in 1936.

Hitting Streaks
23 games (1901)

Transactions
In the winter of 1899-1900, the National League was reduced from 12 to eight teams. Louisville Colonels owner Barney Dreyfuss became Pittsburgh Pirates club president and was forced to build a team from the bottom up. To speed the process, Dreyfuss brought Wagner with him. Based on that information alone, the man must have been a genius.

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Tagged:
1903 World Series, 1936 Hall of Fame, Baseball History, Honus Wagner, Pittsburg Pirates, Shortstop, The Flying Dutchman

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