Pittsburgh Pirates: Six Position Changes You Forgot About
By Noah Wright
Honus Wagner - Outfield to Shortstop
Honus Wagner is one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history. He's also arguably the best shortstop to ever play the game, but it took three Major League seasons until Wagner saw a single inning at the middle infield position. He was primarily an outfielder but also saw time at third base, first base, and second base. Technically that makes him a utility man, but it took Wagner a handful of years until he became a full-on regular shortstop.
Across 21 Major League seasons, Wagner logged 16786 innings at shortstop. He also had 3217 innings between all three outfield spots, 2107 innings at first base, 1725 innings at the hot corner, and 447 innings at the keystone. In 1900, his third major league season, Wagner played 118 games in the outfield, and it wouldn't be until 1903 that he would play more than 100 contests at shortstop.
Wagner, of course, was one of the greatest hitters of all time, batting .328/.391/.467. Once you adjust for the Deadball era and the rest of the offensive environment of Wagner's time, he posted a 151 OPS+ and 147 wRC+.
Technically speaking, you could classify Wagner as a utility man. While shortstop was his primary position, there were plenty of instances where he moved around the diamond, playing other infield spots and the outfield. However, it's also hard to classify him as a utility guy, as this was before there was more specialization in baseball.