Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Now Batting for the 1912 Red Sox, Their Captain…..

The shortstop on the 1912 Red Sox was Charles Francis “Heinie” Wagner. Fiercely loyal, the hardworking, quiet leader was respected by teammates, opponents, management and fans for the 12 years he called Boston and Fenway Park home.

“Heinie” Wagner played 983 major league games in a career which spanned nearly the first two decades of the 20th century. All but 17 of those games were played in the uniform of the Boston Red Sox. He learned the game playing barefoot on the streets and sand lots of Harlem in the days when “King” Kelly ruled in Boston.

The Streets of Harlem circa 1895.

Turning professional in 1901 when he signed on with the Waverley Club of the New York State League and playing for a dollar a game, he caught the eye of New York Giants manager John McGraw. He played for the Giants in 1902 but McGraw was not impressed and he was released after playing only 17 games. He continued to play in the Eastern League and in 1906, he joined the Red Sox.

Known for a rifle arm and feet that on occasion would find their way entangled with runners rounding second base, Wagner was adept on the bases as well. A proficient basestealer, nearly a century after he retired, he remains fifth on the Red Sox all time list of stolen bases.

Duffy Lewis, Larry Gardner, Tris Speaker and Heinie Wagner, 1912.

In Fenway’s inaugural season of 1912, player-manager Jake Stahl was one of 11 player-managers in the major leagues and thus there were virtually no captains named to the teams. However, Wagner was so highly respected that on a roster which was sprinkled with stars, future hall of famers and the manager himself, Stahl tabbed “Heinie” the captain of the squad. Heinie responded with the best season of his career, finishing 10th in the MVP balloting.

 Wagner and Stahl.

 Wagner provided a stabilizing influence when religious differences and ethnic strife ripped at the fabric of the teams of 1913, 14 and 15 and when a young kid named Ruth arrived in Boston and things began to get away from the budding icon, it was Wagner who was assigned to room with and keep and eye on the Babe. He retired as a player following the ’18’ season but returned to manage for a year in 1930.

Heinie Wagner, 1930.

Following the 1930 season, Heinie left pro baseball for good. He went on to become the superintendent of a lumber yard in New Rochelle NY. He stayed involved in the game, coaching baseball teams for the New Rochelle police and fire departments and for the local Elks Club as well.

He passed away in March of 1943, a victim of heart disease, his place in Fenway Park history forevermore secure as Fenway Park’s first shortstop, her first captain and one of only two players in Red Sox history to win four World Championships in a Red Sox uniform!

    And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, 1912-1918, Heinie’s time.

About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
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2 Responses to Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Now Batting for the 1912 Red Sox, Their Captain…..

  1. Nancy O'Connor Chiudina says:

    My grandpa my moms dad was Hienie Wagner my name is Nancy O’Connor Chiudina A wonderful husband father and grandfather thank you Fenway park. And the Boston Red Sox

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