Thursday, January 12, 2012

The greatest shortstop of all time is now in my collection

I have longed for a relic of any kind featuring the greatest shortstop of all time. 

Who am I talking about? 
The Iron Man?
 The Captain?
 The Wizard? would be nice to add one of the above cards to my collection.  I grew up watching them all play and they are all sensational athletes.  However, my collection of treasures features PIRATES!!!!  That's right, those battling bucs and 5 time World Series Champions. 

The first World Series was played in 1903 and the Pittsburgh Pirates were a dynasty in the early 1900s having won the NL Championship in 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1909 (which they also won the World Series). 

A main reason why the Pirates were so good back then was a shortstop nicknamed Honus, Hans, or the Flying Dutchman. "Honus" was born Johannes Peter Wagner in 1874 and was cited by Ty Cobb as "maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond". 

He won 8 NL batting titles, collecting 3,415 hits, and 1,732 RBI and finished his career with a .327 batting average through out his 21 pro seasons.  He still holds the records for most stolen bases as a shortstop with 723.  More impressive though is that he was only caught stealing 23 times in his career.  Some major leaguers border on 20 caught stealings in a season or two.  He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of it's original members as a first ballot Hall of Famer with 95.1% of the vote.  He won a World Series championship in 1909 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

In 1955 a life size statue of Honus Wagner was unveiled outside Forbes Field where a very frail Honus Wagner attended the game and waved to his fans.  Later that year, he passed away at the age of 81.  The Honus Wagner statue has been a fixture to Pirate stadium since it was created and now resides outside PNC Park facing where the former stadium of Honus played. 

I have always wanted a bat or jersey relic of The Flying Dutchman, but those cards always seem to be out of my range, often times going for the same amount of money that a Ruth or Gehrig or Cobb would go for. 

When I saw this 2001 Donruss Classics Stadium Stars pop up for less than $20, I had to have it.  Granted it's just a stadium seat card, but it's a nice looking card featuring a relic from something that saw history happen in the early 1900s when baseball was just begining to become America's past time.  I really enjoy the backs of the early 2000s Donruss relics.  There's something neat about seeing the actual jersey or bat or seat (in this case) used to make the card.  I included scans of the front and back of the card to show off this card. 

As an additional note, I'm going to try and collect as many reprints of the T206 famous Honus Wagner card as I can get my hands on.  Anyone have any lying around?  I'll gladly take an original too.  LOL!

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