Hal Wagner

Harold Edward Wagner (July 2, 1915 – April 19, 1979) was an American professional baseball player, a catcher who appeared in 672 games in the Major Leagues between 1937 and 1949 for the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Boston Red Sox. Born in East Riverton, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia, Wagner batted left-handed, threw right-handed, stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kg). He signed with his hometown Athletics in 1937 after attending Duke University.

Although he played for the Athletics during the bulk of his Major League career, Wagner was the starting catcher for the 1946 Red Sox, who broke a 28-year pennant drought by capturing the American League championship by 12 games over the Tigers. Wagner platooned with right-handed batter Roy Partee and appeared in 117 of the Red Sox' 154 games. While he batted only .230 that season, he reached personal highs in home runs (six) and runs batted in (52) and was selected to the American League All-Star team for the second time (he had earlier represented Philadelphia in 1942).

Wagner appeared in five games of the 1946 World Series, but went hitless in 13 at bats against the St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated Boston in seven games. He also went hitless in one at bat as a substitute catcher during the 1946 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The Red Sox traded him to the Tigers in May 1947 for fellow catcher Birdie Tebbetts, a native New Englander who went on to have 3½ stellar seasons for Boston.

Altogether, Wagner amassed 458 hits, including 90 doubles and 12 triples, during his Major League career.

By Dean Hanley

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