Paul Waner

Paul Glee Waner
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1952
Primary team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Primary position: Right Fielder

"I may have got (Paul) Waner out, but I never fooled him." - Burleigh Grimes

For 15 seasons, brothers Paul and Lloyd Waner were synonymous with Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. Paul "Big Poison" Waner patrolled right field for the Pirates from 1926 through ’40, while younger brother Lloyd, known as "Little Poison," manned center for all but one of those seasons. Led by the Waners, the Pirates of the 1920s and ’30s consistently ranked among the National League's top run-scoring outfits, with ample contributions coming from a pair of Hall of Fame infielders: third baseman Pie Traynor at the beginning of the Waners' tenure and shortstop Arky Vaughan at the end. Paul and Lloyd Waner combined to strike 5,611 hits, the most ever by brothers and more even than successful brother trios like Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou (5,094 hits) and Joe, Dom and Vince DiMaggio (4,853 hits).

Even in an era of high offensive production, Paul Waner stood out from the crowd. Though he hit just 113 career home runs, the left-handed hitting Waner, who finished his 20-year career with 3,152 hits and a .333 lifetime average, was more than a singles hitter. He was just the seventh player in history to collect 3,000 hits, and totaled 909 extra base hits. As a sophomore, he batted .380 in 1927 to claim his first of three batting titles and his only MVP award. He also led the NL with 131 RBIs and 237 hits in ’27, a pennant-winning year for the Pirates that ended with a whimper at the hands of the "Murderer's Row" New York Yankees. Waner also collected NL batting titles in 1934 (.362) and ’36 (.373).

Few players were as well-rounded as Waner was at his peak. During his time in Pittsburgh, from 1926 through ’40, he batted .342 and led all players with 2,868 hits, 558 doubles and 187 triples. Released by the Pirates in December 1940, Waner bounced from the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Boston Braves to the New York Yankees during his final five seasons. He gained entrance to the Hall of Fame in 1952, his sixth year on the ballot; brother Lloyd joined him as a Veteran's Committee selection in ’67.

"He had remarkable agility, like an acrobat. Fifteen or twenty minutes of backflips and he was cold sober, ready to go out to the ball park and get his three hits." - Buddy Hassett in Baseball Between the Lines (1976)

"I saw a lot of good hitters but I never saw a better one than Paul Waner. I mean I once threw a side arm spitter right into his belly and he hit it into the upper deck." - Burleigh Grimes

"On the road, I liked to be booed, I really did," Waner said. "Because if they boo you on the road, it's either because you're a sorehead or because you're hurting them."

"He was a master. You know how some players have their favorite bat, how they rub it and hone it and baby it along? Well, Paul maintained that the bat had nothing to do with it. One day, just to prove his point, he told us to pick out any bat we wanted and he’d use it in the game. Each time he went up to the plate we’d toss him a different bat. Well, he went four for five. "
Elbie Fletcher

Career stats

Year Inducted: 1952
Primary Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position Played: Right Fielder
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Birth place: Harrah, Oklahoma
Birth year: 1903
Died: 1965, Sarasota, Florida
Played for:
Pittsburgh Pirates (1926-1940)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1941)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1943-1944)
Boston Braves (1941-1942)
New York Yankees (1943-1944)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG