Honus Wagner Sporting Goods

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Honus Wagner Sporting Goods

Postby mikesglove » November 22nd, 2011, 3:24 am

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
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The 1920's letterhead and ad below show an iconic image of Wagner resting on his bat barrel
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A 1922 ad
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Wagner also used the bat logo on his gloves and mitts. Below is a nice early Wapiti leather catchers mitt
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This rare and early Honus Wagner Sporting Goods fielders mitt sports a very rare cloth patch with the bat logo.
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This early glove features an unusual wrist strap and double buttons. Pretty cool.
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This 1941 Honus Wagner Co. catalog after Wagner was no longer associated with the company.
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I couldn't located baseball glove illustrations from the catalog above but they may have included a glove like this 1940's model.
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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.
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Here is a nice 1940-50's "Ralph Kiner" model
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This is a 1950-60's mitt with a fairly modern looking cloth patch
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Last edited by mikesglove on November 23rd, 2011, 3:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Honus Wagner Sporting Goods

Postby softball66 » November 22nd, 2011, 8:45 am

Mighty Mike has again listed an enlightening review of one of the most interesting sporting goods companies and one where we still find the company's gloves covering a broad spectrum of time. By the way, I'd be interested to see the latest model(s) from the Wagner Company. Seems I recall at Dick Groat autograph model?
Also a question, how many other ballplayers lent their name to a sporting goods (with glove products) besides Cobb,(Jarvis) Musial to name a couple? Makes one wonder why Mantle never tried his hand, lending his name to a sporting goods firm. He did invest in a bowling alley and of course we had Mantle Country Cookin'? Marketing people might have called those endeavors: the "line extension trap." :roll:
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Re: Honus Wagner Sporting Goods

Postby murphusa » November 22nd, 2011, 10:17 am

Wonderful mint catchers glove on ebay now
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-HONUS-W ... 2316a1b42c
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Re: Honus Wagner Sporting Goods

Postby mikesglove » November 23rd, 2011, 3:01 am

Here is the mitt too which Murph is referring. A "Sportrite" model with a great logo. Looks like the player image in the logo is of Wagner resting on the barrel of his bat.
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This 1940's matchbook ad shows the variety of athletic goods offered
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Here is a 1940's catchers mask with logo on the forehead pad
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here is a rare and really nice vintage football and box
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Re: Honus Wagner Sporting Goods

Postby BretMan » November 23rd, 2011, 8:56 am

Looking at the mint mitt from eBay, it's obvious that MacGregor must have been supplying these to HWSG.
Click to Visit >> The Glove Shop On-Line
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Re: Honus Wagner Sporting Goods

Postby ebbets55 » November 27th, 2011, 10:41 pm

Great research Mike. Thanks. Here's the catalog pic of the double button Wagner. I never knew what it was until I found it in Mike E's catalogs, which he was kind enough to share with everyone.

JD

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Wagner Double Button Catalog Pic
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