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doctor30th
03-20-2004, 08:23 PM
I saw that there was going to be a movie on TNT about Honus Wagner so I looked him up on baseball reference.

I noticed that he averaged about 30 errors per season at SS a year.

including 49 errors in 3 seasons, 50-52 errors in 4 seasons, and one season with 60 errors.

Now that is alot of errors, but back then it was a different game I gather.

idseer
03-20-2004, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by doctor30th
I saw that there was going to be a movie on TNT about Honus Wagner so I looked him up on baseball reference.

I noticed that he averaged about 30 errors per season at SS a year.

including 49 errors in 3 seasons, 50-52 errors in 4 seasons, and one season with 60 errors.

Now that is alot of errors, but back then it was a different game I gather.

he may not have been considered a great fielder, but he was above average for the time.
he had a lifetime fld % of .940 while the league avg for that period was .927.

TornLabrum
03-20-2004, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by idseer
he may not have been considered a great fielder, but he was above average for the time.
he had a lifetime fld % of .940 while the league avg for that period was .927.

I think Wagner probably was considered to be the best defensive shortstop of his era. That was in the days of small gloves with no laces tying the fingers together, and infields that would suffer by comparison to those in Class A ball today.

BKozi
03-20-2004, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I think Wagner probably was considered to be the best defensive shortstop of his era. That was in the days of small gloves with no laces tying the fingers together, and infields that would suffer by comparison to those in Class A ball today.

I would agree. We had an old glove circa 1940's and I don't think that I could have stopped a basketball with that thing, much less pick up a baseball. BTW, anybody know when did the "new style" gloves with stitching holding the fingers together come into play?

soxruleEP
03-20-2004, 10:54 PM
In Bill James's Historical Baseball Abstract, he rates Honus Wagner the best shortstop offensively who ever played and in the top two or three defensively.

Deadguy
03-20-2004, 11:04 PM
Word has it that he wore ladies undergarments to allow him more flexibility and mobility in the field. I wonder if that will be touched upon in the movie.

TornLabrum
03-20-2004, 11:45 PM
Originally posted by Deadguy
Word has it that he wore ladies undergarments to allow him more flexibility and mobility in the field. I wonder if that will be touched upon in the movie.

I wonder if J. Edgar Hoover had the same reasons....

npdempse
03-21-2004, 01:45 AM
There were also a lot more balls on the ground in Wagner's day, prior to the introduction of juicier balls that are replaced constantly.

Fungo
03-21-2004, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I think Wagner probably was considered to be the best defensive shortstop of his era. That was in the days of small gloves with no laces tying the fingers together, and infields that would suffer by comparison to those in Class A ball today.
My Grandfather had a few of those old gloves. I remember playing catch years ago and it was totally different than the gloves we use today. I honestly think the phrase "use two hands" was coined back then. It is like using a small pillow with a strap than holds it to your hand. You had to use your non-glove hand to trap the ball in/on the glove.

Veeky
03-23-2004, 03:26 AM
Originally posted by doctor30th
I saw that there was going to be a movie on TNT about Honus Wagner so I looked him up on baseball reference.

I noticed that he averaged about 30 errors per season at SS a year.

including 49 errors in 3 seasons, 50-52 errors in 4 seasons, and one season with 60 errors.

Now that is alot of errors, but back then it was a different game I gather.

Have you seen his mitt and the general quality of infields 100 years ago?

OneDog
03-23-2004, 07:11 AM
Originally posted by Deadguy
Word has it that he wore ladies undergarments to allow him more flexibility and mobility in the field. I wonder if that will be touched upon in the movie.


Was that the inspiration for Nuke Laloosh's garter belt in Bull Durham? :smile:

JDP
03-23-2004, 08:08 AM
Originally posted by idseer
he had a lifetime fld % of .940 while the league avg for that period was .927.

His career positional splits and those vs league averages:

POS, # GP, Wagner's Career FLD% vs League FLD%

SS, 1887, .940 vs .927
OF, 372, .961 vs .942
1B, 248, .981 vs .982
3B, 209, .920 vs .905
2B, 57, .952 vs .944

So, one could deduct:
a) He was a better than average fielder at every position he played except for 1B where he was just below league average.

b) Low fielding %'s up the middle infield and corner infield spot for both Wagner and league in general back then was probably due to a combination of the oven mitts they used for "gloves" and the fact that the infields resembled rock-ridden sandlots with weeds, etc. instead of today's smooth infields.

Frater Perdurabo
03-23-2004, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I wonder if J. Edgar Hoover had the same reasons....

Nice. Very nice! :smile:

Dadawg_77
03-23-2004, 08:57 AM
Originally posted by JDP
His career positional splits and those vs league averages:

POS, # GP, Wagner's Career FLD% vs League FLD%

SS, 1887, .940 vs .927
OF, 372, .961 vs .942
1B, 248, .981 vs .982
3B, 209, .920 vs .905
2B, 57, .952 vs .944

So, one could deduct:
a) He was a better than average fielder at every position he played except for 1B where he was just below league average.

b) Low fielding %'s up the middle infield and corner infield spot for both Wagner and league in general back then was probably due to a combination of the oven mitts they used for "gloves" and the fact that the infields resembled rock-ridden sandlots with weeds, etc. instead of today's smooth infields.

Plus SS wasn't a prime defensive position back then but second was. So your Ozzie Smith type of player would play 2B instead of SS.

idseer
03-23-2004, 09:11 AM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77
Plus SS wasn't a prime defensive position back then but second was. So your Ozzie Smith type of player would play 2B instead of SS.

first time i ever heard this. it's doesn't seem to make any sense at all.
where does this idea come from?

TornLabrum
03-23-2004, 09:30 AM
Originally posted by idseer
first time i ever heard this. it's doesn't seem to make any sense at all.
where does this idea come from?

Thin air.

Dadawg_77
03-23-2004, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by idseer
first time i ever heard this. it's doesn't seem to make any sense at all.
where does this idea come from?

If my memory serves me correctly, Bill James Baseball Historical Abstract. I could be mistaken here, but I believe SS was an offensive position and third was defensive. Maybe it was 2B, damn memory loss.

Paulwny
03-23-2004, 10:44 AM
Official scorers may not have been as lenient as they are today.

Dadawg_77
03-23-2004, 10:50 AM
Originally posted by JDP
His career positional splits and those vs league averages:

POS, # GP, Wagner's Career FLD% vs League FLD%

SS, 1887, .940 vs .927
OF, 372, .961 vs .942
1B, 248, .981 vs .982
3B, 209, .920 vs .905
2B, 57, .952 vs .944



Also note that lg avg for SS is .927, compared to .944 for second baseman. Might indicate better fielders were playing second then SS.

MarkEdward
03-23-2004, 12:14 PM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77
If my memory serves me correctly, Bill James Baseball Historical Abstract. I could be mistaken here, but I believe SS was an offensive position and third was defensive. Maybe it was 2B, damn memory loss.

No, you're right. I don't remember what section it's in and my book's at home, though.

KingXerxes
03-23-2004, 02:21 PM
When is this movie coming out?

I heard a story years ago that Wagner's life didn't end up all the happily. If memory serves he was either broke, or a drunk - maybe both - and was kind of a pathetic figure whom the Pirates used to let wear a uniform and take baseballs from the game and sell. I'm almost certain I read something to that effect as well years later - but have never really researched it at all.

If anybody knows - let me know.

davenicholson
03-23-2004, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I wonder if J. Edgar Hoover had the same reasons....
Or Harold Washington. Allegedly.

batmanZoSo
03-23-2004, 05:39 PM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I wonder if J. Edgar Hoover had the same reasons....

I'm sure he did. Works for me.

Veeky
03-23-2004, 07:00 PM
So, one could deduct:
a) He was a better than average fielder at every position he played except for 1B where he was just below league average.

As a sidenote.....It's true that Wagner was considered a good fielder, but using fielding % alone is not wise -- some players with superior range, arm strenght and balls (ie willingness to go for a risky force-out instead of a safer out at 1st, etc which may lead to extra error or two) make enough "extra" plays over 144 games to paint less than perfect Fielding %

JDP
03-23-2004, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by Veeky
As a sidenote.....It's true that Wagner was considered a good fielder, but using fielding % alone is not wise -- some players with superior range, arm strenght and balls (ie willingness to go for a risky force-out instead of a safer out at 1st, etc which may lead to extra error or two) make enough "extra" plays over 144 games to paint less than perfect Fielding %

Not that numbers only can "tell the whole story" -- it'd take actual footage if such footage existed or what not -- but here is another number for you:

First, the overall (every position he ever played) FLD% of Wagner vs. everyone else during the same time period (year-to-year) in which he played:

Wagner: .947, Everyone Else: .936

Tie that in with Wagner's lifetime Range Factor vs "Everyone else" in the same context as above:

Wagner: 5.30, Everyone Else: 5.07

What exactly does all this tell? *Shrugs* -- who the hell knows, none of us were there. =}