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  • Honus Wagner Today

    So I've heard a lot of praise over Honus Wagner, and I'd love to have him on my team but I was wondering, how do you think he would do
    Now?
    “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

    "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

  • #2
    Well, he would be 138 years old today so he probably would only hit about .220.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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    • #3
      Well he was a fabulously talented player, a physical marvel, and he was very dedicated to the game. He'd be about a .320/.390/.550 SS with about 40 steals, 200 hits 40 2B 25 HR
      This week's Giant

      #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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      • #4
        I feel his play in particular would translate incredibly well in today's game, given how he was good at pretty much everything; he's noted for having an all-time great arm, being able to field pretty much any position a manager would wish for him to field, had a pretty nice vertical leap, was a terrific baserunner, and judging by his stats, could hit XBH as well as anyone. Basically, the greatest all-around player of all-time, and would probably be my pick if I had the first pick in an all-time fantasy draft; I rank Cobb higher on my all-time list, but I'd pick Hans, possibly Mays, and very possibly (though probably not) Speaker over Cobb in an all-time fantasy draft considering their world-class all-around play.
        "Baseball is really fun"~ Joe Dimaggio
        "I really like baseball"~ Babe Ruth
        "Baseball is my favorite sport"~ Pete Rose

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        • #5
          Mike Trout has often been compared to Mickey Mantle as a CF with all the natural tools. Aside from the positional difference, would Wagner be similar to Trout if Wagner were born in say 1984 instead of 1874? Perhaps Wagner would have a few less homers, but would somewhat similar Trout-like numbers as a gold glove caliber SS be a reasonable translation for a modern day Wagner?

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          • #6
            I always thought that Wagner, with the live ball would hit like Musial, while playing very good SS and being a top baserunner, though the raw steals would have gone down, and I think he was a top 25 defensive SS, not a top 5. Still, his arm was incredible and he had size and quickeness to boot.

            I am not really sure though who would be a modern hitting version of Musial. Wagner didn't walk a ton, but I think he did rack up 56 per 162 and that would probably be in the 70-85 range.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JR Hart View Post
              Well he was a fabulously talented player, a physical marvel, and he was very dedicated to the game. He'd be about a .320/.390/.550 SS with about 40 steals, 200 hits 40 2B 25 HR
              This seems kind of accurate, but I am somewhat skeptical of how the dead ball era stars' batting averages would translate to today's game. I think if they swung for the fences more, their batting average would suffer, and so guys like Wagner and Cobb would either have lower BAs, or hit with little power if they played today. I picture Wagner as Derek Jeter type, but with gold glove defense.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by willshad View Post
                This seems kind of accurate, but I am somewhat skeptical of how the dead ball era stars' batting averages would translate to today's game. I think if they swung for the fences more, their batting average would suffer, and so guys like Wagner and Cobb would either have lower BAs, or hit with little power if they played today. I picture Wagner as Derek Jeter type, but with gold glove defense.
                Now that you mention Jeter, I think Jeter would be a good modern comp for Wagner as a baserunner. The average might very well have come down to about Jeter's level, but Wagner was a 6 time league leader in slugging percentage. He slugged .467 in a league that averaged just .351. Jeter has only slugged .449 in a league that has gone .429. Its true that the .351 league rate was largely the product of the kind of players around, but he outslugged Jeter by almost 20 points in raw slugging with the deadball and huge parks.

                I think Cobb hits around .340 in a modern game with maybe George Brett type power, maybe 350 home runs. I think Wagner could match Jeter's average, but I think he'd at least be around 400 home runs, maybe 450 (and I'm looking more at normal late 20th century offense, not the steroid boosted numbers from '94-'04). Cobb probably could have had that kind of power too, but I assume he would have used the home run as more of an ancillary tool. At 6-1 175 he was as big as Musial and maybe 6-3 195 with modern nutrition. Wagner was a big guy, maybe 6-1 215 under modern circumstances.
                Last edited by brett; 09-22-2012, 08:34 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by brett View Post
                  Now that you mention Jeter, I think Jeter would be a good modern comp for Wagner as a baserunner. The average might very well have come down to about Jeter's level, but Wagner was a 6 time league leader in slugging percentage. He slugged .467 in a league that averaged just .351. Jeter has only slugged .449 in a league that has gone .429. Its true that the .351 league rate was largely the product of the kind of players around, but he outslugged Jeter by almost 20 points in raw slugging with the deadball and huge parks.

                  I think Cobb hits around .340 in a modern game with maybe George Brett type power, maybe 350 home runs. I think Wagner could match Jeter's average, but I think he'd at least be around 400 home runs, maybe 450 (and I'm looking more at normal late 20th century offense, not the steroid boosted numbers from '94-'04). Cobb probably could have had that kind of power too, but I assume he would have used the home run as more of an ancillary tool. At 6-1 175 he was as big as Musial and maybe 6-3 195 with modern nutrition. Wagner was a big guy, maybe 6-1 215 under modern circumstances.

                  I don't know that size is as important as approach. Joe Mauer is 6'5" and 235 pounds, and does not hit for power. Why? because of his approach. If he hit more home runs, his batting average would suffer..I feel the same might apply to Wagner and Cobb. Jeter is 6'3" and over 200 pounds himself. Much of what is perceived as 'power' in the deadball era is really just speed, and ability to take extra bases, or hit the ball into the gaps. it is not 'power' per se, and certainly does not translate into home run power in the modern game.

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                  • #10
                    Edgar Martinez' bat, Vizquel's glove, moves like Optimus Prime. No one like him.

                    How about Nap Lajoie today?

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                    • #11
                      I've read that Lajoie smashed the ball While Wagner choked up on the bat more. Wagner and Lajoie put up similar hitting stats in the same era, despite his huge edge in speed. I think Lajoie would top Wagner in today's game with the smaller parks and the livelier ball. I believe that Wagner with his wheels gained an extra 100 singles and an extra 150 total bases on XBHs with his speed vs Lajoie back then. Most of those singles would still give Honus the advantage today. But the HR(inside park) and doubles stretched to triples woud be greatly minimized in today's smaller parks.

                      I see Wagner hitting about .315/.380/.500 & Lajoie going .310/.360/.540 today. I.e, I cannot picture Cobb and Wagner smashing 30+ HRs today. I can see Lajoie and Joe Jackson hitting 30+ HRs in today's game.

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                      • #12
                        Since athletes have gotten progressively faster since Wagner's days, wouldn't it be fair to reason that he would not even be considered fast compared to today's players?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Joltin' Joe View Post
                          Since athletes have gotten progressively faster since Wagner's days, wouldn't it be fair to reason that he would not even be considered fast compared to today's players?
                          I think that is valid issue if we're talking about sports/events such as the Olympics where the ultimate focus is on speed and speed only. In that case, every ounce of science, nutrition, training, and focus, are geared toward one specific goal. I don't think that translates well to the game of baseball where all around skills are necessary, and prevalent when talking about a guy like Hans. You know, baseball literally was THE ONLY sport that great athletes became professional in, in those days. And these days, a baseball players 40 time isn't top priority for scouts. Instincts, agility, coordination, arm strength, are however, and I believe Wagner had all that oozing out his pores. And I don't believe he sets himself apart the way he did, without the strength and speed as icing on the cake.

                          Transplanting him from then to now? From the pictures and literature we have on him? I'd put him at third, and how this game is setup, pencil him in for 35-42 bombs a year with a .312-.332 average, 25-35 steals with a high%, and about 8 gold gloves.

                          The elite will remain the elite. LQ adjustment fanatics will never understand that...probably because most never played.

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                          • #14
                            I do believe that Wagner's speed in the 100 yard dash wouldn't be that fast today. However, baseball speed is different. Baseball requires short bursts of speed in cleats, which is much different than an all-out sprint. I did read that Cobb won a running competition in 1909 by running 3.5 to first base and 10.2 in the 100 yard dash. And I believe Wagner was in Cobb's league for speed. That 10.2 speed isn't all that fast. However, 3.5 to first base is still considered fast today. Also, Suzuki was clocked at 3.7 to first base in his prime. He still stole some bases. Given his pedestrian speed, Suzuki is obviously one great base stealer. I think guys like Wagner and Cobb would still steal some bags today; maybe 35-40 bags per year during their peak. Their amount of extra base hits wouldn't give them nearly as many opportunites to swipe 50-60 bags a year like Suzuki did in his prime.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Joltin' Joe View Post
                              Since athletes have gotten progressively faster since Wagner's days, wouldn't it be fair to reason that he would not even be considered fast compared to today's players?
                              Have they really? I mean has the amount and percentage of fast twitch v. slow twitch muscle fibers have evolved in a century or have the surfaces they run on and the equipment they run with enabled them to post faster times along with the specific training geared to one result.

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