Paul Waner’s Baseball Hall of Fame plaque is being put up for auction. That makes me kind of sad.
Waner, who grew up in Harrah and went to then-East Central State College in Ada, is one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ all-time greats. In a Major League career that spanned 1926-45, Waner produced 3,152 hits and a career batting average of .333.
Only 27 major leaguers ever finished with a batting average of at least .333. Of those 27, the only players who came after Waner were Tony Gwynn and Ted Williams.
Waner’s brother Lloyd, joined him on the Pirates in 1927 and they spent 14 Pittsburgh seasons together. They were nicknamed Big Poison (Paul) and Little Poison (Lloyd), though Paul Waner stood just 5-foot-8 and Lloyd was 5-9. Lloyd eventually joined his brother in the Hall of Fame.
I have no idea why Waner’s plaque is being put up for auction. I’ve been doing this job for 40 years in this market, and I’ve never come across much Waner connection. After retirement, Waner served as a part-time hitting coach for a variety of teams. He died in 1965 in Sarasota, Florida, at age 62.
Waner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1952 and said, “Gee. It's what I've been looking for a long time, but I had almost given up hope of making it. In fact, I guess you can say I've achieved my life's ambition. Any baseball player's ambition...”
Waner was a fabulous player. But the Pirates didn’t retire his No. 11 uniform until 2007, 55 years to the day after his Hall of Fame induction.
Waner’s plaque is part of Leland’s annual sports auction. Here’s the description of the plaque, which requires a minimum bid of $2,500.
Read more here.