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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Honus Wagner Newsbeat

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-7-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 7, 1917:

Local fandom received with unmistakable joy the news that the veteran Hans Wagner had affixed his signature to a Pittsburg contract, and would play first base in today’s game with the Brooklyn Superbas at Forbes Field.
[Pirates owner Barney] Dreyfuss probably realized that he made a mistake when he offered the veteran a reduction in salary last winter. Despite all statements to the contrary, there is no doubt at all that it was this alone which caused John to refrain from making the training trip and signing his contract long ago.

The Pirates then tried to return Bunny Brief, who had been playing first base on a 30-day trial agreement, to Salt Lake City, but SLC essentially said “Nah, that’s cool, we don’t need him, just keep him for now.”

Brief eventually went to Louisville and spent a dozen years or so in the American Association, hitting .350 four times while blasting a bunch of home runs. I realize 1921 was smack dab in the middle of a sillyball era, but Bunny Brief hit .361 with 104 extra base hits for the KC Blues that season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 07, 2017 at 09:55 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-6-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 6, 1917:

If Hans Wagner has any intention of returning to baseball—and he seems to have, judging from the fact that he has been turning out every morning to practice with the Pirates—the fans are hopeful that he will sign a contract soon, and get into the game.
If he reports, it would not be at all surprising to see him covering first base. Bunny Brief is a fair man, but he has weaknesses which are becoming more apparent. He was credited with being a very quick thinker when he came here, but he has made several plays since joining the team which have left some doubt as to the rapidity of his thinking apparatus.

Honus did come back for one final season in 1917, and he was the closest thing to a starting first baseman that the Pirates had. Wagner hit .265/.337/.304 (95 OPS+) in 74 games.

On one hand, an awful team giving 263 plate appearances to a recently unretired 43-year-old isn’t going to move them towards a championship. On the other hand, if there was any athlete in any city at any time who had earned the right to do anything he wanted, it was Honus Wagner in Pittsburgh at the end of his career. He grew up just outside Pittsburgh, was the greatest player in the history of the National League, and the team had to do something to sell tickets.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 06, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner




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