Hall of Fame: Paul Waner (1952)

Paul’s on the left, and Lloyd is on the right.

Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH 
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1926 23 PIT NL 144 536 101 180 35 22 8 79 11 66 19 .336 .413 .528 147 283 12
1927 24 PIT NL 155 623 114 237 42 18 9 131 5 60 14 .380 .437 .549 155 342 23
1928 25 PIT NL 152 602 142 223 50 19 6 86 6 77 16 .370 .446 .547 154 329 13
1929 26 PIT NL 151 596 131 200 43 15 15 100 15 89 24 .336 .424 .534 134 318 15
1930 27 PIT NL 145 589 117 217 32 18 8 77 18 57 18 .368 .428 .525 129 309 15
1931 28 PIT NL 150 559 88 180 35 10 6 70 6 73 21 .322 .404 .453 131 253 10
1932 29 PIT NL 154 630 107 215 62 10 8 82 13 56 24 .341 .397 .510 144 321 9
1933 30 PIT NL 154 618 101 191 38 16 7 70 3 60 20 .309 .372 .456 135 282 14
1934 31 PIT NL 146 599 122 217 32 16 14 90 8 68 24 .362 .429 .539 155 323 8
1935 32 PIT NL 139 549 98 176 29 12 11 78 2 61 22 .321 .392 .477 129 262 10
1936 33 PIT NL 148 585 107 218 53 9 5 94 7 74 29 .373 .446 .520 157 304 4
1937 34 PIT NL 154 619 94 219 30 9 2 74 4 63 34 .354 .413 .441 132 273 8
1938 35 PIT NL 148 625 77 175 31 6 6 69 2 47 28 .280 .331 .378 94 236 7
1939 36 PIT NL 125 461 62 151 30 6 3 45 0 35 18 .328 .375 .438 120 202 10
1940 37 PIT NL 89 238 32 69 16 1 1 32 0 23 14 .290 .352 .378 102 90 0
1941 38 TOT NL 106 329 45 88 10 2 2 50 1 55 14 .267 .372 .328 102 108 1
BRO NL 11 35 5 6 0 0 0 4 0 8 0 .171 .326 .171 40 6 1
BSN NL 95 294 40 82 10 2 2 46 1 47 14 .279 .378 .347 110 102 0
1942 39 BSN NL 114 333 43 86 17 1 1 39 2 62 20 .258 .376 .324 108 108 8
1943 40 BRO NL 82 225 29 70 16 0 1 26 0 35 9 .311 .406 .396 132 89 6
1944 41 TOT 92 143 17 40 4 1 0 17 1 0 29 8 .280 .401 .322 107 46 1
BRO NL 83 136 16 39 4 1 0 16 0 27 7 .287 .405 .331 110 45 1
NYY AL 9 7 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 1 .143 .333 .143 37 1 0
1945 42 NYY AL 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 0 0
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
20 Seasons 9459 3152 191 1309 0 376 .333 .404 .473 134 174
2549 1627 605 113 104 1091 4478

1 MVP Award (1927)
4 All-Star Games (1933-1935, 1937)

Born April 6, 1903 in Harrah, Oklahoma, Paul Glee Waner was a happy boy. His father was a merchant, but he wanted his son to be a teacher. Not really the teaching type, he dropped out of college and began playing for San Francisco in the Pacific Coast League. After three seasons of hitting .369, .356, and .401, the Pittsburgh Pirates bought Waner and teammate Hal Rhyne in 1926 for a combined $100,000, Rhyne being the more valuable at $60,000.

Waner jumped right into the NL in 1926 and became an instant sensation. His line of .336/.413/.528 was incredible for a rookie (really for anyone). The next year, his brother Lloyd joined the Pirates and Paul in the outfield. Paul was called “Big Poison” and Lloyd, fittingly, was “Little Poison” as a result of a Brooklyn fan in the 1930’s when he grumbled, “Them Waners! It’s always the little poison on thoid and the big poison on foist!” (there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere). The two would go on to accomplish a pretty impressive feat — both would make the Hall of Fame (you’ll have to wait a few weeks for Lloyd). The brothers would help their team win the 1927 pennant as the two brothers stole the show. Paul would be the MVP, and Lloyd led the league with 133 runs while hitting .355.

During the 1930’s, the duo continued to perform very well. Paul wound up winning a couple batting titles and finishing in the top 5 a few other times. In the outfield, he was just as good. People would say that he had the greatest arm ever seen in the outfield, and there would be a serious debate when Roberto Clemente showed up. The unbelievable part of Waner’s career isn’t the numbers necessarily — it was that he did it hungover and while being near-sighted (they would get him glasses, but he said they screwed with his vision). Known for never ending a party, Waner drank often and heavily. People would say he had the sharpest bloodshot eyes in baseball, and considering the disparity between his walks and strikeouts, I’d say they were about right. In 1938, Casey Stengel asked him to stop drinking, which he did, but when his average went down close to .250, Stengel personally took him out for a drink.

However, Waner’s numbers began to tumble in 1940, and he was released the following off-season. He was no longer a healthy and productive player, but he did reach 3,000 hits, albeit with an interesting twist. He hit a sharp grounder while he sat at 2,999, and the shortstop knocked it down but couldn’t get Waner. Waner signaled that he didn’t want that to be his 3,000th hit. A few days later, he banged one off the right-field wall at Forbes Field. He took that one.

In 1952, he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame with 83.33% (195 of 234) of the vote.


Quick Question: do you like the new way of presenting stats? It seems a bit more professional, but I understand if it seems too big.

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