From SABR member Joe Guzzardi at Baseball Past and Present on August 31:
Of all the stone cold hitters to ever wear a Pittsburgh Pirates’ uniform, none was more deadly than Paul “Big Poison” Waner.
Part of my duties as a PNC Park tour guide is to take visitors out onto the warning track where we show them the retired names and numbers of all the great Pirates’ The further back in time you go, the less well known the player is.
In old timers’ cases, that’s a shame. With his brother Lloyd “Little Poison,” the Waners grew up on an Oklahoma farm and learned to hit by using corncob balls and two by fours or tree branches for bats. In 1923 Waner dropped out East Central University, a teachers’ college, and headed to San Francisco to play for the Seals in the Pacific Coast League. As Waner recalled, “They just let me hit and hit and hit and I really belted the ball.” During each of his three San Francisco years, Waner batter over .350.
Read the full article here: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2011/08/31/“big-poison”-clean-hits-allowed/
Originally published: September 1, 2011. Last Updated: September 1, 2011.