Paul Waner

Paul Waner

Paul Waner

OF, 1B
Big Poison
April 16, 1903
5' 8"
153 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-13-1926 with PIT
Allstar Selections:
1927 MVP
Hall of Fame:


Nicknamed "Big Poison," Paul Waner was a hard-hitting outfielder who spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning three batting titles and finishing in the top five in MVP voting four times, despite a serious drinking problem. He compiled a lifetime .333 batting average over twenty seasons, and he and brother/teammate Lloyd Waner hold the career record for hits by siblings.


Team Mates

Ernie Lombardi; Dolph Camilli; Billy Herman; Pie Traynor; Arky Vaughan; Kiki Cuyler; Lloyd Waner; Max Carey; Lee Meadows; Red Ruffing; Burleigh Grimes; Curt Davis; Mace Brown; Bill McKechnie

Best Season: 1927

In just his second season in the major leagues, Waner emerged as the top left-handed batter in the loop. He led the circuit with a .380 batting average, 237 hits, 342 total bases, 18 triples, and 131 RBI. Many of his hits drove in brother Lloyd, who batted .355 and scored 133 runs. Waner won the MVP Award and led Pittsburgh to the World Series, where they were crushed by the Yankees in four straight. Paul hit .333 in the loss - his only post-season appearance.

Most Career Hits, Brothers

 The 5,611 hits by Paul and Lloyd Waner exceed those of the five Delahanty brothers and the three DiMaggio brothers. 

1. Paul and Lloyd Waner... 5611 

2. Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou... 5094 

3. Joe, Dom and Vince DiMaggio... 4853 

4. Ed, Jim, Frank, Joe and Tom Delahanty... 4211 

5. Hank and Tommy Aaron... 3987 

6. Cal Jr. and Billy Ripken... 3858 

7. Roberto and Sandy Jr. Alomar... 3627

8. Joe and Luke Sewell... 3619 

9. Ken, Clete and Cloyd Boyer... 3559

10. Honus and Butts Wagner... 3489 

11. Bob and Roy Johnson... 3343 

12. Eddie and Rich Murray... 3299

The Bums of '44

Based on age, the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers were one of the most peculiar teams in baseball history. On their roster, the Dodgers had 17-year old Eddie Miksis, and 18-year olds Ralph Branca, Gene Mauch, and Cal McLish. But the club also had 43-year old veteran Johnny Cooney, and 41-year old Paul Waner.


Most Consecutive Games with an Extra-Base Hit

14 - Paul Waner, PIT NL, 6/3/1927-6/19/1927

14 - Chipper Jones, ATL NL, 6/26/2006-7/16/2006

12 - Tip O'Neill, STL AA, 8/24/1887-9/5/1887

12 - Rogers Hornsby, BOS NL, 5/27/1928(G1)-6/9/1928(G1)

11 - Rogers Hornsby, STL NL, 8/20/1924(G1)-8/27/1924

11 - Hank Greenberg, DET AL, 9/4/1940-9/14/1940

11 - Bob Bailey, MON NL, 6/22/1970(G2)-7/12/1970

11 - Jesse Barfield, TOR AL, 8/17/1985-8/27/1985

11 - Bobby Abreu, PHI NL, 5/7/2005-5/18/2005

11 - Alex Rodriguez, NY AL, 9/29/2006-4/11/2007



Waner was a legendary drinker. According to his brother Lloyd, "Paul thought you played best when you relaxed, and drinking was a good way to relax." When Pirates management asked Waner to give up drinking in 1938 because Pittsburgh considered themselves contenders for the pennant, he agreed and hit only .280. This marked the only year in his Pirates career that he failed to hit .300. One of the methods Waner would use to sober up before a game was to perform several back-flips on the infield. Starting in 1940, at the suggestion of manager Frankie Frisch, Paul began wearing spectacles on the ballfield.


Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1926

Mel Ott

Paul Waner

Joe Cronin

Tony Lazzeri

General Crwoder

Babe Herman

Ethan Allen

Bump Hadley

Ski Melillo



Big Poison


"Big Poison" may be the best nickname in baseball history, and ironically it was given to Waner by opposing fans. Brooklyn rooters lamented each time brothers Paul and Lloyd drilled their Dodgers with hit-after-hit. The fans were fond of calling them "Big Person" and Little Person," which came out "poison" due to the Brooklyn accent.


Uniform Numbers

#11 (1932-1939), #9 (1940), #18 (1940), #24 (1941 Dodgers, 1944 Yankees)




Similar Players

Tony Gwynn


Related Players

Lloyd Waner


Hall of Fame Voting

Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1946 Nominating Vote 4 2.0%
1948 BBWAA 51 42.1%
1949 BBWAA 73 47.7%
1949 Run Off 63 33.7%
1950 BBWAA 95 56.5%
1951 BBWAA 162 71.7%
1952 BBWAA 195 83.3%

Post-Season Appearances

1927 World Series

Awards and Honors

1927 NL MVP


From June 3-19, 1927, a span of 14 games, Waner collected at least one extra-base hit in every game. He collected 12 doubles, five triples, and three homers during that stretch, which may be an all-time record. According to Trent McCotter, a baseball historian who researches streaks, Waner's 14-games is the longest known streak in history.



Waner collected his 3,000th hit by singling off his old teammate, Pirate hurler Rip Sewell, on June 19, 1942. Waner became the first National Leaguer since Honus Wagner, 28 years before, to reach the milestone.



June 19, 1942: 3000th Hit... His milestone hit (a single) came against Rip Sewell.


Batting Feats 

August 26, 1926: 6 Hits...


Hitting Streaks 

23 games (1927)

22 games (1927)

21 games (1930)

21 games (1930)

20 games (1939)

All-Star Selections 

1933 NL

1934 NL

1935 NL

1937 NL



Kiki Cuyler in right field in 1926. The Pirates moved Cuyler to left and later to center.


Replaced By

Would you believe that in 1940, the Pirates used Bob Elliott in right, and shoved Waner to the fourth outfielder slot? Elliott was a 23-year old with a fine career ahead of him — as a third baseman.


Best Strength as a Player

Hitting for average.


Largest Weakness as a Player

His brother seemed to have gotten the footspeed.


3000 hit club, Baseball History, Big Poison, Hall of Fame, Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates
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