Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
After a short stint with the minor league beginning in 1895, Wagner began his major league career with the Louisville Colonels but played 18 of his 21 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning a World Series title with them in 1909. His broad range of skills earned him the high praise of his peers, and in 1936 he was among the first five individuals ever inducted to membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in the select company of Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, and Babe Ruth. He won the National League batting title eight times. He retired from baseball in 1917 as the National League record holder in career hits, doubles, triples, runs, RBI, stolen bases, and games played. His lifetime batting average was .329. Famous baseball manager (and contemporary of Wagner's) John McGraw spoke for many when he said of Wagner that "while he was the greatest shortstop, I believe he could have been the number one player at any position he might have selected. That's why I vote him baseball's foremost all-time player."
Wagner was on the coaching staff of the Pirates from 1933 to 1952. He died in Carnegie at the age of 71 and is buried at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery south of Pittsburgh.
More recently Honus Wagner has regained the public's attention for being the most valuable baseball trading card ever. Known as the "Mona Lisa of baseball cards" and "The King of Cards" respectively it was the first card to be sold for over a million dollars. The cards were printed by the Piedmont Cigarette Company without Wagner's permission, and their production ceased as soon as he found out. Fewer than 75 authentic cards are known to exist. The finest exemplar used to be famously owned by Wayne Gretzky. Today it is valued at well over one and a half million dollars.
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