The Barbershop Harmony of the Bucs

When you hear the names Honus Wagner, Pie Traynor, or Ralph Kiner, do you think of music?  Probably not considering that they are all enshrined in baseball’s hall of fame.  Shortstop Wagner (1874-1955) played for the Pirates from 1900 to 1917 and is still considered one of the best all-around baseball players ever.  Traynor (1899-1972) was with the Pirates from 1920-1937, had an impressive lifetime batting average of .320, and was a sports broadcaster on Pittsburgh radio for decades afterward.  Kiner (1922- ) was a slugger for the Pirates from 1946-52, leading the league in home runs for seven years, and later was an announcer for the game.

But if you were at the Syria Mosque on May 8, 1950, you would have heard them sing!  Bob Hope was the headliner, but a five-man squad of Pittsburgh Pirates, current players and distinguished alumni, were added to the bill to sing, barbershop style.

According to a May 3, 1950, article in the Pittsburgh Press, the group of singing baseball players were listed as such:

Left Tenor – Ralph Kiner

Center Tenor – Wally Westlake

Dugout Baritone – Manager Billy Meyer

First Bass – Honus Wagner

Third Bass – Pie Traynor

Another fun fact related to that night is that Bob Hope was a part owner of the Cleveland Indians, but his friend Bing Crosby was a part owner of the Pirates.

— Tim


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2 responses to “The Barbershop Harmony of the Bucs

  1. Don

    Hey, Tim, google news archive seems to suggest that a recording of the event was made and the plan was to send it to Bing Crosby in Paris. Did you run across anything about this?,4535372&dq=syria+mosque&hl=en

  2. Lovely, Tim. Thanks for brightening this winter day!

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