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Honus Wagner vs. Mickey Mantle

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  • Honus Wagner vs. Mickey Mantle

    Let's compare two legends.

    Honus Wagner was a deadball star, hitting .328 with 3,420 hits 643 doubles and 1,733 RBI. Mickey Mantle was a star of the '50s and '60s, hitting 536 home runs with 1,733 walks and a .977 OPS.

    Wagner had a lot of hits, Mantle a lot of home runs. Wagner scored a lot, Mantle walked a lot.

    When people think of 'legends of the game', these guys may first come to mind. But which one was better?
    30
    Honus Wagner
    80.00%
    24
    Mickey Mantle
    20.00%
    6

  • #2
    I went with Wagner. Versatility and staying healthy played a big part.
    "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

    "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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    • #3
      Interesting comparison, as Wagner was a power hitter by the standards of the day, when people didn't hit many HR, and Mantle was a speedster by the standards of the day when people didn't steal bases. Mantle's decline, as well as Wagner's superior fielding wherever they put him, decides it for me. Mantle might be the biggest 'what if' player ever outside of the Negro Leagues- it's pretty amazing that he was able to accomplish as much as he did.
      Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

      1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988 2017?

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      • #4
        Going with Mantle

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        • #5
          A wrestling match between the two of them would be fun to watch. Both were country strong farmer types.
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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          • #6
            I see Wagner as about number 5-6 alltime among position players, Mantle at 9-10-11. So, they're quite close. But, Wagner was so good for so long, despite getting a relatively late ML start. Mantle couldn't/wouldn't stay healthy. I also believe, as some others here do, that Wagner would have been a terrific longball hitter in the more modern game. Close, but edge to Honus.

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            • #7
              I love the Mick. But Wagner is a top 5 All Time player in my opinion. Mantle is not. If he had been healthier and didn't party hard and had Hank Aaron or Honus Wagner's longevity, he might have been the very greatest baseball player of all time. Gotta go with the Dutchman here.
              My top 10 players:

              1. Babe Ruth
              2. Barry Bonds
              3. Ty Cobb
              4. Ted Williams
              5. Willie Mays
              6. Alex Rodriguez
              7. Hank Aaron
              8. Honus Wagner
              9. Lou Gehrig
              10. Mickey Mantle

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              • #8
                Picked Wagner here.
                “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

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                • #9
                  This is another awesome battle that Cowtipper put up. And once again, he's chosen two players that I have right next to each other in my rankings. I have Mantle 5th best all-time and Wagner 6th. Wagner has a good argument for #2. But unfortunately, he never played in the Live Ball era. So he's the toughest one for me to try and rate. I can't even begin to predict how many HRs Wagner would have hit in the Live Ball era. Had Wagner thrived in the Live Ball era as much as Hornsby, then I'd have him #1 all-time. However, NOBOBY watched is production increase nearly as much in HR power and OPS+ as Hornsby did. I.e, I think Ruth could have topped 220 OPS with more practice during his peak years with a Dead Ball. He already put up a 194 OPS+ during his first full season in one of the worst hitters' parks in history. On the other hand, greats like Speaker and Cobb weren't smashing 40+ HRs in the Live Ball era. Where would Wagner have ended up? I think Speaker is a good comp for Wagner with the bat. With that, I have Wagner 6th best all time. However, I certainly see a case for Wagner was the best ever. It's not too big of a leap. I just can't make that leap. He was the ultimate 5 tool player, except for maybe HRs. As for Mantle, I give him a big boost for peak value. He didn't last as long as the others. But his peak was incredible.

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                  • #10
                    I'll go with what i'm sure is the minority vote here. Mantle was so great playing on maybe the largest stage of all professional sports. As great as Wagner was, it still was a totally different game when he played and I just don't know how he'd perform (or what position he'd even play) in today's baseball. I know Mickey could.
                    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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                    • #11
                      Mantle.: over Daddy Wags, timeline and all that

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                        A wrestling match between the two of them would be fun to watch. Both were country strong farmer types.
                        Haha

                        The first thing I thought when I read this was that its a reverse Calvin Griffith comment.
                        "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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                        • #13
                          Wagner

                          Purely my personal speculation: he could hit for power with a live ball and smaller parks. Not to mention his defensive prowess and versatility.

                          Mantle undoubtedly had the tools to play in the dead ball era. I think his physical condition would have deteriorated much faster and a big asset [speed] would be gone.
                          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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                          • #14
                            I thought this one would be much closer than 12-3.

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                            • #15
                              A premium hitting and good defensive shortstop is better than a premium hitting and good defensive outfielder. I'll go with Wagner.
                              Great pitching always beat great hitting. Clutch hitting always beat great pitching.

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