Honus Wagner: Baseball's Prototypical Five-Tooler?

By Herm Krabbenhoft

This article was published in the 2018 The National Pastime.

The highly regarded “five-tool” label is a relatively modern term in baseball’s lexicon, usually traced to Leo Durocher proclaiming the greatness of his star player of the early 1950s, Willie Mays. Sports Illustrated called Mays “the prototypical five-tool player,” i.e., the first or original. Assuredly, however, each of these five diamond skills has been important since day one of major league baseball—and therefore it does not seem unreasonable that there could have been five-tool players who preceded the Say Hey Kid. This article describes the results of the author's effort . . .

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