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Wagner/Mays: Who Do You Rank Higher as Historical Players?

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  • pheasant
    replied
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Read my post #401 and tell me what you think.
    You've got me thinking on this one, HWR. I beginning to think that Hornsby is a good comp for Honus Wagner in the hitting department for peak value, which means Wagner would dust Hornsby for cumulative stats. This is a frighening proposition.

    Hornsby put up a 150 OPS+ until 1920, the first year of the true Live Ball era. Wagner matched that for his entire career. Granted, Hornsby was young then. But Wagner's OPS+ includes his decline years.

    If you think that Wagner could have put up similar relative stats in the 1920s that he did in the 1900s, then his numbers look incredible.

    From 1920-1929, Hornsby put up some video game numbers to the tune of .382/.460/.637. However, Hornsby's league averaged .291/.349/.406 during this time frame.

    From 1900-1909, Wagner went .352/.417/.508. Wagner relative stats in those 3 categories were: 1.323/1.271/1.485.

    If we assume Wagner would have put up the same relative stats during Hornsby's era, then
    Wagner's 10 year peak now looks like this from 1920-1929: .385/.444/.603.

    I've always agreed with the batting average and on-base percentage piece. The number I've questioned is the slugging percentage. However, the more I've read about Wagner, the more I realize the he didn't simply chop at the ball for singles. Wagner was a very powerful man for his era and he swung hard at the ball. Wagner had a good homerun swing. If this is true, then Wagner easily could have added 95 points to his slugging percentage with a much more lively baseball, the banning of spitballs, and a good slugging park like St Louis. 95 points might be underestimating his slugging ablities.

    .385 avg and .603 slugging percentage alone moves Wagner up.

    More on Wagner later.

    Keep the great articles coming. I appreciate them.

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by 1905 Giants View Post
    What do you think about the batting titles? Just as many, more?
    I'm not sure. But I'll put it this way. Kiki Cuyler hit .338/.401/.518, 136 OPS+ from 1924-27. In 1925 Cuyler hit .357/.423/.598, 152 OPS+, 43 doubles, 26 triples, 18 HRs, 102 RBI, 144 R. Could Wagner hit as well Cuyler?

    Culyer 1.jpg

    Culyer 2.JPG


    wagner-fielding-ball-300.jpg Cuyler 3.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • 1905 Giants
    replied
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Read my post #401 and tell me what you think.
    What do you think about the batting titles? Just as many, more?

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by pheasant View Post
    If Wagner had Mays' power, which is quite possible, then he's the best player ever. That is a big leap of faith. However, several players from the past have already mentioned that. Guys like Barrow and McGraw agree completely. Wagner STILL put up a dWAR of 1.6 per year at SS from ages 35-41! His 40.9 WAR during that timeframe is off the charts. Talk about a nice adjustment as an old guy going against a new generation of players.

    I am still not 100% convinced that Wagner would have hit 40+ HRS a year during the Live Ball era. I get why it is certainly possible. But without any actual numbers, I cannot make that leap.

    I wish there was a way to look up how long Wagner's blasts were like Jenkinson did with Babe Ruth. For example, in 1918, Jenkinson figured that Ruth would have hit 35 HRS that year had the parks been the same dimensions as those today.

    How did Wagner collect those doubles and triples? Were they line smashes to gaps that only traveled 225-250 feet in the air? Were they 400-425 foot blasts to the outfield?

    If the latter is true, then he's the best ever. If the former is true, then I like his rating of 6th. My gut feeling is that it's somewhere in the middle. I might have to move this guy up. I'll admit that I've always been firm on my top 5. However, Wagner deserves a lot more research.
    Read my post #401 and tell me what you think.

    Leave a comment:


  • pheasant
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
    The throwing contests were not normally won by pitchers, but by position players.

    The post before mine shows Honus won a contest with a throw of 403 feet, proving his arm was among the very strongest.

    When it comes to the power game, I have always believed that Wagner and Mays were about comparable. About the same. Wagner was not encouraged to go for long shots because his ballparks were among the very worst in the game. Exhibition Park featured BOTH foul lines of 400 feet!!!! Truly encouraged long line drives between the out-fielders.
    If Wagner had Mays' power, which is quite possible, then he's the best player ever. That is a big leap of faith. However, several players from the past have already mentioned that. Guys like Barrow and McGraw agree completely. Wagner STILL put up a dWAR of 1.6 per year at SS from ages 35-41! His 40.9 WAR during that timeframe is off the charts. Talk about a nice adjustment as an old guy going against a new generation of players.

    I am still not 100% convinced that Wagner would have hit 40+ HRS a year during the Live Ball era. I get why it is certainly possible. But without any actual numbers, I cannot make that leap.

    I wish there was a way to look up how long Wagner's blasts were like Jenkinson did with Babe Ruth. For example, in 1918, Jenkinson figured that Ruth would have hit 35 HRS that year had the parks been the same dimensions as those today.

    How did Wagner collect those doubles and triples? Were they line smashes to gaps that only traveled 225-250 feet in the air? Were they 400-425 foot blasts to the outfield?

    If the latter is true, then he's the best ever. If the former is true, then I like his rating of 6th. My gut feeling is that it's somewhere in the middle. I might have to move this guy up. I'll admit that I've always been firm on my top 5. However, Wagner deserves a lot more research.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bill Burgess
    replied
    Originally posted by pheasant View Post
    This is great info, Bill. I believe this provides some tangible evidence that the pitchers back then weren't lobbing the balls at 70-75 mph back then like some believe.

    I don't know what a throw of 400+ feet equates to. But I bet these guys were throwing the ball well over 90 mph.

    Getting back to Honus. I believe he once chucked a ball 403 feet. He also ran like the wind and was extremely versatile in the field. The only question mark for me is his ability to hit for power. The more posts by HWrules that I read, the more I believe that he was indeed a great powerhitter. If this is actually the case, then Honus Wagner has an excellent case for being the best ever. I actually would not replace Wagner by anybody to play the Dead Ball game of the early 1900s(Ty Cobb's Dead Ball play squeaks by Wagners', but I like Wagner's huge versatility). My question mark is how well Wagner's game would have transferred over to the Live Ball era.

    It's possible(not likely) that Honus Wagner might move up 5 spots in my rankings(I have him at #6). Wagner is a work in progress for me right now. This guy was truly a freak. Mays is #2 for me right now.
    The throwing contests were not normally won by pitchers, but by position players.

    The post before mine shows Honus won a contest with a throw of 403 feet, proving his arm was among the very strongest.

    When it comes to the power game, I have always believed that Wagner and Mays were about comparable. About the same. Wagner was not encouraged to go for long shots because his ballparks were among the very worst in the game. Exhibition Park featured BOTH foul lines of 400 feet!!!! Truly encouraged long line drives between the out-fielders.

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by pheasant View Post
    This is great info, Bill. I believe this provides some tangible evidence that the pitchers back then weren't lobbing the balls at 70-75 mph back then like some believe.

    I don't know what a throw of 400+ feet equates to. But I bet these guys were throwing the ball well over 90 mph.

    Getting back to Honus. I believe he once chucked a ball 403 feet. He also ran like the wind and was extremely versatile in the field. The only question mark for me is his ability to hit for power. The more posts by HWrules that I read, the more I believe that he was indeed a great powerhitter. If this is actually the case, then Honus Wagner has an excellent case for being the best ever. I actually would not replace Wagner by anybody to play the Dead Ball game of the early 1900s(Ty Cobb's Dead Ball play squeaks by Wagners', but I like Wagner's huge versatility). My question mark is how well Wagner's game would have transferred over to the Live Ball era.

    It's possible(not likely) that Honus Wagner might move up 5 spots in my rankings(I have him at #6). Wagner is a work in progress for me right now. This guy was truly a freak. Mays is #2 for me right now.
    I found this Spokane Daily Chronicle (04/12/1933) article where Wagner states that he and Cobb batted the "wrong" way.

    Spokane Daily Chronicle 04-12-1933 pg 11.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • pheasant
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
    Old Throwing records:

    At a long-distance baseball throwing contest in October,1872, John Hatfield of Mutual club, won the contest with a heave of 133 yrds, 1 foot, 7.7 inches. He was followed by Andy Leonard of Boston club(119 yds. 1 ft. 10 inches), George Wright of Boston club(117 yrds. 1 ft. 1 inch), Bill Boyd of Mutual club (115 yrds. 1 ft. 7 inches), Wes Fisler of Athletics club (112 yrds. 6 inches), Adrian C. Anson of Athletics club (110 yds. 6 inches).

    Ned Crane threw a baseball 117 yards (351 feet) in a contest at Worcester, MA in 1879.

    At Cincinnati baseball grounds on Sunday, Oct. 9,1910, Sheldon Lajeune of the Evansville baseball Club, threw a baseball 426 feet, 9.5 inches. He had preceded this throw with heaves of 385' 3", 383' 4", both throws against the wind. He then asked if he could throw in the opposite direction. This was granted and he threw 401' 4.5", he then warmed his arm up and then uncorked a mighty heave of 426' 9.5". Previously he had thrown 399' 10.75" on September 11, 1908 at the Cincinnati grounds.

    Joe Jackson threw a baseball 132 yards (396'9") on September 27, 1917, at Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., in a contest, defeating Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Babe Ruth. It was at a benefit game for Tim Murnane's widow. Duffy Lewis of the Red Sox and Clarence (Tillie) Walker of the Phil. Athletics tied for second with tosses of 384'6". (This occasion happened presumably before Ty Cobb hurt his throwing arm.)
    This is great info, Bill. I believe this provides some tangible evidence that the pitchers back then weren't lobbing the balls at 70-75 mph back then like some believe.

    I don't know what a throw of 400+ feet equates to. But I bet these guys were throwing the ball well over 90 mph.

    Getting back to Honus. I believe he once chucked a ball 403 feet. He also ran like the wind and was extremely versatile in the field. The only question mark for me is his ability to hit for power. The more posts by HWrules that I read, the more I believe that he was indeed a great powerhitter. If this is actually the case, then Honus Wagner has an excellent case for being the best ever. I actually would not replace Wagner by anybody to play the Dead Ball game of the early 1900s(Ty Cobb's Dead Ball play squeaks by Wagners', but I like Wagner's huge versatility). My question mark is how well Wagner's game would have transferred over to the Live Ball era.

    It's possible(not likely) that Honus Wagner might move up 5 spots in my rankings(I have him at #6). Wagner is a work in progress for me right now. This guy was truly a freak. Mays is #2 for me right now.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bill Burgess
    replied
    Old Throwing records:

    At a long-distance baseball throwing contest in October, 1872, John Hatfield of Mutual club, won the contest with a heave of 133 yrds, 1 foot, 7.7 inches. He was followed by Andy Leonard of Boston club (119 yds. 1 ft. 10 inches), George Wright of Boston club (117 yrds. 1 ft. 1 inch), Bill Boyd of Mutual club (115 yrds. 1 ft. 7 inches), Wes Fisler of Athletics club (112 yrds. 6 inches), Adrian C. Anson of Athletics club (110 yds. 6 inches).

    Ned Crane threw a baseball 117 yards (351 feet) in a contest at Worcester, MA in 1879.

    At Cincinnati baseball grounds on Sunday, Oct. 9,1910, Sheldon Lajeune of the Evansville baseball Club, threw a baseball 426 feet, 9.5 inches. He had preceded this throw with heaves of 385' 3", 383' 4", both throws against the wind. He then asked if he could throw in the opposite direction. This was granted and he threw 401' 4.5", he then warmed his arm up and then uncorked a mighty heave of 426' 9.5". Previously he had thrown 399' 10.75" on September 11, 1908 at the Cincinnati grounds.

    Joe Jackson threw a baseball 132 yards (396'9") on September 27, 1917, at Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., in a contest, defeating Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Babe Ruth. It was at a benefit game for Tim Murnane's widow. Duffy Lewis of the Red Sox and Clarence (Tillie) Walker of the Phil. Athletics tied for second with tosses of 384'6". (This occasion happened presumably before Ty Cobb hurt his throwing arm.)
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-16-2013, 10:11 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • SHOELESSJOE3
    replied
    I believe this was 1898.
    Attached Files

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  • SHOELESSJOE3
    replied
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Honus Wagner looks like a power hitter! He's an old man in the second and third photos.

    [ATTACH]116301[/ATTACH]

    [ATTACH]116302[/ATTACH]

    [ATTACH]116303[/ATTACH]
    Great pics, especially that first one. Honus must have scared the heck out of a lot of pictures, looks strong as a bull.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-04-2012, 11:20 AM.

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  • 1905 Giants
    replied
    I have Wagner just a tetch higher than Mays.

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Honus Wagner looks like a power hitter! He's an old man in the second and third photos.

    Honus Wagner 1909 small.jpeg

    honus Wagner coach.jpg

    Honus Wagner BP.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by willshad View Post
    I think that Willie would adapt to the dead ball style better than Honus would to the modern style. It appears to me that pure speed would translate to more steals more easily than pure size would translate to more home runs. Sure, not every super fast guy is going to steal 90 bases a season, but it is more a matter of effort than anything else. if they try to steal more, then they will get more steals...and if you are very fast, you will not be caught often.

    Home runs are a different story.

    There are a lot of huge guys who do not hit for much power. This could be a choice, as they try to hit for average. Joe Mauer is 6'5" and 235 pounds. Could he hit 40 homers a season if he merely tried to? If he did so, would his batting average go down to Adam Dunn levels? it takes a very special hitter to hit for great average, and also hit a lot of home runs. usually, you have to choose one or the other. Could Wagner hit 600 home runs playing now? Possible, but highly unlikely..and if he DID, then for sure his average would suffer.

    I may be way off base, but I see him a Derek Jeter type, only with great fielding. Jeter's hitting and Vizquel's glove. This makes him easily the best shortstop ever, but doesn;t give him 660 career home runs...and doesn't quite put him in Mays' class.
    Not seeing the Jeter comparison as hitters. Wagner had freakish raw home run power. As for Joe Mauer the reason he doesn't hit many home runs is that he has a flat level swing and doesn't generate much backspin on the ball. Wagner didn't have a flat level swing.

    Here is an example from the biography, Honus Wagner:a Biography. This is from a game in 1903:

    At Brooklyn on June 30th, Wagner had a second consecutive four hit game. He tripled, drove in four runs, scored three times, and his 450-foot home run over the centerfield fence was heralded as one of the longest ever hit at Washington Park.
    The ball used in 1903 was a far cry from even the ball used in 1910. From age 244 of the same book.

    Late in the 1910 season, the cork-center baseball was introduced to the big leagues. Although a far cry from the lively ball used today, the new ball was a bit more springy than the rubber-center one. For the first time, fans were treated to the crack of the bat, rather than the thud that resulted from what Wagner described as hitting “a chunk of mud.” If there was any doubt that the cork-center ball would have an effect on the game, it was dispelled during an August homestand, as six homers were blasted over the Forbes Field wall in nine games-a feat accomplished just eight times in the previous year.


    After Wagner retired he was a Pirates coach for many years. He would take batting practice and even play in exhibition games from time to time. The following is from the book The Diamond Appaised.

    Wagner hitter 1a.JPG

    Wagner hitter 2a.JPG


    As far as I know this is the only film of Wagner batting.

    Honus Wagner swing.gif

    Here is a photo of Wagner's follow through on his swing. This is certainly not the swing of a slap hitter.

    Honus Wagner swings.jpg

    Wagner was a great athlete. This is one of my favorite Wagner photos, showing his wrists. Freak.

    Honus Wagner wrists.jpg

    I have NO doubt in my mind that had Wagner been born 20-25 years later he would have been the equal of Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx as a home run hitter.
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 11-02-2012, 03:50 PM.

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  • chicagowhitesox1173
    replied
    Close call but I picked Mays, I give him credit for missing time out to Military

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