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.