Wagner, Honus

Wagner, Honus hōˈnŭs wăgˈnər [key], 1874–1955, American baseball player, b. Mansfield (now Carnegie), Pa. His real name was John Peter Wagner. He played semiprofessional ball in Ohio and was given a contract (1896) by the Paterson, N.J., club before entering (1897) major-league play with the Louisville (Ky.) club of the National League. He played infield and outfield positions, and when Pittsburgh replaced (1900) Louisville in the National League, Hans (a nickname also much used) soon anchored himself at shortstop with the Pirates. Wagner, called the Flying Dutchman by his fans, came to be regarded as one of the outstanding players of baseball. He led the National League in batting eight times (1900, 1903–4, 1906–9, 1911), had a lifetime batting average of .329 (batting over .300 in 17 consecutive years), made 3,430 base hits, scored close to 1,800 runs, and played in 2,785 games. Wagner, agile though massively built, excelled at fielding; he also led the National League five times in stolen bases. In 1917 he retired from baseball, but returned to the Pirates as coach (1933–52). In 1936 he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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