Sunday, June 10, 2012

Honus Wagner

Congratulations to Norman Owen, winner of yesterday's Person-of-Mystery Contest!  He correctly identified the image as belonging to legendary shortstop, Honus Wagner.

Wagner, also known as the "Flying Dutchman," on account of his speed while playing baseball, is considered by many to be the best shortstop ever to play the sport.  Wagner was one of the first five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

His image is perhaps best recognized by most people today on account of his famously rare baseball card. The first baseball cards were actually sold not with chewing gum, but tobacco.  Although Wagner chewed tobacco himself, he did not want children to buy cigarettes to get his card, so he requested the American Tobacco Company to cease using his image.  The company complied, after about 200 were sold to the public (57 are known to exist today) making his card the rarest of the collection.  In fact, one mint-condition Honus Wagner card sold in 2007 for $2.8 million.

Wagner played nearly his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates remaining a top player into his 40s.  After his retirement, he continued to coach through the 1950s. 


Chuck Kelly said...

I l

Chuck Kelly said...

(Oops) I was going to say I like those old uniforms, especially the caps. We have a vintage baseball 'league' in this part of Texas. Most teams wear full vintage-style uniforms. (Not made of heavy wool flannel, of course. There's a practical limit to authenticity.)

Virgil S. said...

For some reason I find those old time baseball players much more interesting than those of the present. One example is Mike King Kelly. According to Wikipedia, he was the inspiration for America's first "pop" hit record...did they intend a pun?..."Slide, Kelly, Slide". Fascinating guy! Thanks for the Honus Wagner post, Nate!

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