It’s Honus Wagner’s Birthday: 2-24-2015
Honus Wagner (John Peter Wagner) may have been the greatest all-around baseball player to wear a professional uniform. He was born Feb. 24, 1874, in Pennsylvania and died Dec. 6, 1955, in Pennsylvania.
Hall of Fame skipper John McGraw called Wagner, "The nearest thing to a perfect player no matter where his manager chose to play him." He was primarily a shortstop, but played every position on a baseball diamond except catcher. Wagner was called "The Flying Dutchman" in reference to his German heritage and speed on the base paths.
In 1905, Wagner became the first baseball player to have his signature branded on a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. He was one of the original five Hall of Fame inductees in 1936. He collected 3,420 hits and had a career batting average of .328. Ty Cobb once said of Wagner that he was "maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond."
He played with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900-17, and 21 seasons total. He captured eight batting titles and batted .300 or better all 17 seasons with the Pirates. At age 41, he hit a grand slam and, in his final season, came two home runs short of a triple crown. He finished his career with 3,420 hits. Wagner played in 2,794 games and scored 1,739 runs. He tallied 101 homers and had 1,732 RBI. The most he was ever paid as a ballplayer was $10,000 a year. Wagner also finished his career with 723 stolen bases.