|The famed Honus Wagner T206 card.|
Sunset Hills collectibles dealer Bill Goodwin reaped a higher-than-anticipated $1.2 million for the well-graded Honus Wagner T206 baseball card in an online auction last night
. Your baseball cards are still comparatively worthless, however, so don't get your hopes up.
The Wagner card, which measures a dinky 1.5 by 2.5 inches, is so valuable because of its rarity. An estimated 60 of the cards still exist, many of them in crappy condition. Wagner himself earned $10,000 annually for playing baseball in 1908, making him the highest paid player of his day. $10,000 was worth a lot more back then, obviously, but Wagner could hit, field and steal with unparalleled skill. Not bad for a bowlegged, barrel-chested kid from Pittsburgh.
If you're looking for a great time suck on this rainy Friday morning, reading about Honus Wagner is a great answer to your problem. Wagner was contemporaries with some of baseball's most legendary players -- Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson -- and they all concurred that he was probably the greatest all-around player of their era. He also had a stubborn integrity.
In the 1903 World Series, Wagner's Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Boston Americans; Wagner had an especially rough outing, batting just .222 for the Series, and this after he had won the NL batting title. A special "hall of fame" for hitters requested a portrait of him to honor his batting crown, and Wagner refused on the grounds that "I was too bum last year. I was a joke in that Boston-Pittsburgh series. What does it profit a man to hammer along and make a few hits when they are not needed only to fall down when it comes to a pinch. I would be ashamed to have my picture up now."
They don't make 'em like Honus Wagner anymore, do they?