Baseball History: Wally Pipp

Wally Pipp played 15 seasons in the major leagues from 1913-1928.

Wally Pipp played 15 seasons in the major leagues from 1913-1928.

The date was June 2, 1925.

One day after pinch-hitting against Washington, Lou Gehrig was inserted into the lineup at first base 90 years ago for the New York Yankees. By 1939, he had played a major league record 2,130 straight games that would stand until Cal Ripken, Jr. passed the mark in 1995.

The man Gehrig replaced was Wally Pipp. There are many stories about the lineup change and the accuracy of the accounts is debatable. What is not in question is that Pipp didn’t play on June 2 and Gehrig did.

Pipp was injured as he was hit in the head during batting practice later that month and missed all of July. He never started a game again for the Yankees.

Prior to the 1926 season, Pipp was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds and finished his career with three years in the National League.

In his first year with the Reds, he had six homers and knocked in 99 runs with a .291 batting average. His final two seasons in Cincinnati were not as good as he ended a 15-year career.

Pipp began his time in the major leagues in 1913 as he played a dozen contests for the Detroit Tigers.

The New York Yankees purchased Pipp prior to the 1915 season and he became a fixture at first base for the next decade. Pipp led the American League with a career-high 12 homers in 1916 and followed with another crown the next year with nine long balls.

A part of three consecutive AL pennants from 1921-1923, Pipp and the Yankees finally won the World Series in the last season of the run.

In his career, Pipp batted over .300 on three occasions with his best effort of .329 coming in 1922. He also had over 100 RBI three times. His top performance was 110 in 1924, when led the league in triples with 19.

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