Analysis

The Answer is Bones Ely

The Answer is Bones Ely

Bones Ely

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. Unfortunately for Ely it was a bad impression as he lasted just 5 innings and gave up 15 runs before being pulled and sent to the outfield to finish the game. He also went 0-4 with two strikeouts at the plate...

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Analysis

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.

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