Historical records matching Lloyd Waner ("Little Poison")
About Lloyd Waner ("Little Poison")
Lloyd James Waner (March 16, 1906 - July 22, 1982), nicknamed "Little Poison", was a Major League Baseball center fielder. His small stature at 5'9" and 132 lb (68 kg) made him one of the smallest players of his era. Along with his brother, Paul Waner, he anchored the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.
Lloyd Waner was born on March 16, 1906 in Harrah, Oklahoma and grew up on a farm with his older brother, Paul. The two worked from dawn to dusk every day, and baseball was their only form of entertainment. Influenced by their father, who was a minor league player in Oklahoma City, Paul and Lloyd's love and natural talent for the game developed over the years. The Waners learned to hit against corncobs and cut down saplings in the woods to use as bats.
Lloyd graduated from McLoud High School and attended three semesters at East Central State University in Ada before going into professional baseball.
Waner started his professional baseball career in 1925 with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, but he hit poorly. The next season, however, he batted .345 in the Class B South Atlantic League. He also won the league's most valuable player award. He was offered a tryout for the Pirates at the urging of his brother, who by then was already a star player.
Waner broke into the majors with the Pirates in 1927 and quickly built his reputation as a slap hitter with an astute sense of plate discipline. In his rookie campaign, he batted .355 with 223 hits while only striking out 23 times (the highest strikeout total of his career). As the leadoff hitter of the powerful Pittsburgh offense, he led the National League with 133 runs scored. The runs scored mark set an MLB rookie record.
The Pirates won the 1927 NL pennant; Lloyd then batted .400 in his first and only World Series, but the New York Yankees won in four games. He continued to bat well early in his career. Coming off a .353 season, he missed most of 1930 due to appendicitis but returned with a vengeance in 1931, leading the NL with 214 hits and 681 at-bats while hitting .314.
Waner was also an accomplished center fielder. He led the league in putouts four times, using his excellent speed to cover the spacious Forbes Field outfield.
Waner played for the Pirates until the beginning of the 1941 season. In the preceding years, he batted .300 or higher ten times, finished in the top ten in MVP voting twice (1927 and 1929), and was an All-Star once (1938).
After splitting time in the early 1940s with the Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and Brooklyn Dodgers, Waner returned to Pittsburgh, where he finished his career in 1945. He compiled a career .316 batting average.
He (2,459) and his older brother Paul (3,152) hold the career record for hits by brothers (5,611), outpacing the three Alou brothers and the three DiMaggio brothers, among others. For most of the period from 1927 to 1940, Paul patrolled right field at Forbes Field while Lloyd covered the ground next to him in center. Paul was known as "Big Poison" and Lloyd as "Little Poison." They got their nicknames from a Brooklyn Dodgers fan's pronunciation of "Big Person" and "Little Person," which was then picked up by a sportswriter in the stands. In 1927, the season the brothers accumulated 460 hits, the fan is said to have remarked, "Them Waners! It's always the little poison on thoid (third) and the big poison on foist (first)!"
After retiring as a player, Waner was a scout for Pittsburgh and for the Baltimore Orioles.
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967. Sabermetrician Bill James has listed Waner as one of ten examples of Hall of Fame inductees who do not deserve the honor. Possible reasons for his selection include his brother being a fellow inductee and the inflated batting averages of his era, which also helped many other 1920s and 30s players in the eyes of the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee.
In 1982, Waner died of complications related to emphysema. He was survived by his wife Frances and his two children.