Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Honoring Honus

I am reading Ted Kennedy's great True Compass now.   He writes of his grandfather Honey Fitz in Boston rooting on the Red Sox with a song, Tessie:
"Tessie"  may sound a little quaint to today's ears, but Grandpa's rendition of it was good enough to cause the great Pittsburgh third baseman Honus Wagner to commit three errors in one inning during a World Series game.

Third baseman?   I checked and sure enough, before 1904 he played multiple positions.  But I would still call him a shortstop (maybe he made the 3 errors when he was a third basemen -- must have been 1903).  

I have often wondered why we don't have a sculpture of him throwing the ball around somewhere on the North Shore - maybe in the parking lot in the Exposition Park space where he roamed.
From Wikipedia: His biography on describes his gritty style:
Bowlegged, barrel-chested, long-limbed... he was often likened to an octopus. When he fielded grounders, his huge hands also collected large scoops of infield dirt, which accompanied his throws to first like the tail of a comet.

He was a gentle, kind man, a storyteller, supportive of rookies, patient with the fans, cheerful in hard times, careful of the example he set for youth, a hard worker, a man who had no enemies and who never forgot his friends. He was the most beloved man in baseball before Ruth
                   - Historian / Author Bill James
Check him out being interviewed live on some Denver program. Did this play ever get staged in Pittsburgh? It's adapted from a kids' book.

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