Not many people know that the greatest shortstop of all-time, Honus Wagner, actually never played a major league game at shortstop until he was already 27 years old. He started his career with the Louisville Colonels in 1897 and joined the Pirates in 1900 but didn't play his first game at SS until 1901. In fact, his first four seasons he played every position but catcher and shortstop, even making an appearance on the mound in 1900. So who was the Pirates shortstop before Wagner took over the position? The answer is William "Bones" Ely.
Born in 1862, Bones was tall for the era at 6' 1" but weighed in at just 155 lbs. He made his debut in 1884, getting in just one game with the Buffalo Bisons of the National League as a starting pitcher and made quite an impression. Unfortun...
This content is for Pirates Prospects subscribers only. Subscribers get access to all of our daily articles on the Pirates and their minor league system, with live coverage throughout the system on a daily basis. Our lowest rates are $2.22 per month under our Top Prospect Plan, which also gets you a FREE copy of the 2016 Prospect Guide. We also have a promotion with DraftKings where you can get a FREE one-year subscription to the site by signing up as a new DraftKings customer and making a $5 minimum deposit. Subscribe today to access all of our daily coverage of the Pirates' system.
If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail email@example.com.
John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.