Detroit Tigers 1913
New York Yankees 1915-1925
Cincinnati Reds 1926-1928
OK, Wally Pipp has hardly been "forgotten in time." His name remains
a prevalent part of, not only baseball, but all of sports' lore. Anytime an athlete loses his/her job due to injury, they
are "Pipped." Wally Pipp, however, was much more than an unfortunate sap that lost his job to Lou Gehrig, he was a great player
and mainstay in the Yankee lineup for over a decade. That part of the story has been "forgotten in time."
Pipp was born on February 17, 1893 in Chicago, IL. He broke into the big leagues as a 20 year old in 1913 with the Detroit
Tigers, but struggled, hitting only .161 in 12 games. After spending a year in the minors, Pipp was sold to the Yankees on
January 7, 1915.
In 1915, his first full big league season, Pipp hit .246 with four home runs. In 1916, he improved,
belting 12 home runs, best in the American League during the dead-ball era. He repeated as AL home run king in 1917, hitting
nine home runs, but batted just .244.
Pipp hit .304 in 1918, but injuries limited him to 91 games. Now an established
big leaguer and one of the best defensive first baseman of his time, Pipp anchored the Yankees infield. He hit .296 in 1921
and the Yanks reached their first World Series, but were defeated by the cross-town Giants led by legendary manager John McGraw
in 8 games (the World Series was a best-of-eight contest until 1922).
In 1922 Pipp hit a career high .329 as the Yankees
again reached the Fall Classic, and again lost to the Giants, this time in five games. In 1923 Pipp hit .304 and drove in
108 runs as the Yankees headed to the World Series for a third straight showdown versus the Giants. This time the Yanks prevailed
in six games and captured their first World Championship.
Pipp had another strong season in 1924, hitting .295 with
a career high 114 RBI and led the AL with 19 triples, but it would be his last as a regular with the Yankees.
2, 1925 Wally Pipp had a headache. He approached manager Miller Huggins and told him of his predicament. Huggins decided to
insert young prospect Lou Gehrig in his place. Pipp's career with the Yankees was effectively over.
1925, season the Yankees sold the 32 year old Pipp to the Cincinnati Reds for $7,500. He had a productive 1926 season in Cincinnati,
hitting .291 and driving in 99 runs. His production dipped, however, in 1927 as he hit .260 with 41 RBI in 122 games. He rebounded
in 1928, hitting .283, but played in just 95 games in what would be his final season.
Pipp retired with a .281 average, 997 RBI, and 1941 hits in
15 seasons. While those may not be Hall of Fame type numbers, they do reflect that Wally Pipp was more than just an ordinary,
journeyman type ball player - more like a 1920s version of Keith Hernandez.
Wally Pipp died on January 11, 1965 in Grand Rapids, MI. He
was less than a month from his 72 birthday. Pipp was obviously no joke as a player, not the punch line he has been made
out to be today. There is no shame in losing your job to Lou Gehrig, and there should be no shame in being compared to Wally
-David Zingler, June 2002
Pipp @ Baseball-Reference.com
Simply Baseball Notebook
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