Due to his uncommon skills and easy going nature, Honus Wagner retired in 1917 from the Pittsburgh Pirates as their most popular and beloved player. he was in the inaugural class of inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. After baseball, Wagner tried his hand at acting ("Spring Fever" 1919) and politics. He also formed a sporting goods company with the help of several local business men. Wagner and a neighbor, business man Jim Orris were the chief investors with a combined $75,000 to start Honus Wagner Sporting Goods, which was incorporated in 1919 with Wagner as President. The lure of baseball was still strong and despite his business interest, Wagner couldn't resist an offer as athletic director at Carnegie Tech and later as a manager in the International League. The sporting goods business was no great money maker but it stayed afloat with Wagner visiting the store for meet and greet sessions on an irregular basis. The beginning of the Great Depression in the mid to late 1920's hit Wagner hard, first with the insolvency of his bank and the loss of his savings in 1925 and the bankruptcy of the sporting goods business in 1929. During the bankruptcy sale, business man Louis Braunstein came forward and bought the remaining assets and the use of the Honus Wagner name. The new company was incorporated as the Honus Wagner Co. Braunstein moved the business twice and to its present location on Forbes Ave in the early 1950's. In Janruary of 2011, it was announced that Honus Wagner Sporting Goods was liquidating its stock and closing for good.
This is the present store on Forbes Ave in Pittsburgh
The 1920's letterhead and ad below show an iconic image of Wagner resting on his bat barrel
A 1922 ad
Wagner also used the bat logo on his gloves and mitts. Below is a nice early Wapiti leather catchers mitt
This rare and early Honus Wagner Sporting Goods fielders mitt sports a very rare cloth patch with the bat logo.
This early glove features an unusual wrist strap and double buttons. Pretty cool.
This 1941 Honus Wagner Co. catalog after Wagner was no longer associated with the company.
I couldn't located baseball glove illustrations from the catalog above but they may have included a glove like this 1940's model.
The cloth patch is a little dark and soiled on the glove above. It may look something like this patch below. Note the small image of Wagner fielding a ball.
Here is a nice 1940-50's "Ralph Kiner" model
This is a 1950-60's mitt with a fairly modern looking cloth patch