Honus Wagner

John Peter Wagner
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1936
Primary team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Primary position: Shortstop

Hall of Fame skipper John McGraw called Honus Wagner “The nearest thing to a perfect player no matter where his manager chose to play him”. Honus Wagner played 21 seasons, primarily with his hometown team the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was the total package. He could hit for average and power and could change the dynamics of a game on the base paths and in the field-- he played every position on the diamond in his major league career except for catcher.

Nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman”, a reference to his German heritage, Wagner had a bit of an awkward look about him. But in this case, looks were deceiving. “The Flying Dutchman” was one of the best hitters and better athletes the game has ever seen. He gripped the bat with his hands inches apart and went the other way on outside pitches or slid his hands together in a more traditional grip and pulled pitches down the line. He was a smart player who could adjust his game to fit the situation.

Burleigh Grimes, who as a youngster was a teammate of Wagner, recalled “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.”

During the first decade of the 20th Century no player was more dominant than Wagner. He led the majors in hits, runs, doubles, total bases, extra-base hits, runs batted in, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. John McGraw stated his feelings on the game’s greatest player unequivocally when he said “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”.

"In my opinion, the greatest all-around player who ever lived was Honus Wagner. "
Sam Crawford

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Career stats

Year Inducted: 1936
Primary Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position Played: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Chartiers, Pennsylvania
Birth year: 1874
Died: 1955, Carnegie
Played for:
Louisville Colonels (1897-1899)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-1917)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1917)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG