Top 100 Yankees of All-Time...#100, Wally Pipp

Wally Pipp was one fine baseball player. But he had the misfortune of being replaced by one of greatest players in baseball history, when his head began to ache at an inopportune time. Miller Huggins told him to sit out the June 2, 1925 game, when the manager saw his first baseman going for an aspirin bottle. And for that reason he begins our series as Greatest Yankee #100. (Free Preview of Premium Content)

(PinstripesPlus.com will be counting down our Top 100 Yankees of all-time, with each selection as its own article on that player. Wally Pipp is free to all site visitors to get a taste of what the other 99 articles will be like in our journey to the #1 Yankee of all-time. Enjoy this free preview of our premium content and be sure to become a PinstripesPlus.com Club Member today)!

The rest, as they say, is history, Lou Gehrig took over at first base and remained there for the next 2130 games which was the record for the ages until Cal Ripken, Jr. surpassed the Iron Horse's mark in 1995. And Wally Pipp's career as a Yankee was for all intents and purposes, over. He rode the bench for the remainder of the 1925 season, and then was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds at season's end.

Pipp's misfortune has found it's way into our language. When one does a "Wally Pipp", one loses his or her job for good to a "replacement", after failing to show up for work.

Pipp began his major league career with the Detroit Tigers in 1913, but it was an inauspicious beginning. He spent 1914 in the minors before being sold to the Yankees prior to the 1915 season.. He developed quickly and won back-to-back homerun titles in 1916-1917 with 12 and nine blasts, in these seasons during the deadball era.

He had another fine season in 1918 with a .304 average, but played in only 91 games due to injuries. He also established himself as an elite defensive first baseman of the era. The Yankees reached their first World Series in 1921, but lost to their neighbors, the New York Giants.

Wally had his career best .329 batting average in 1922, and the Yankees reached he World Series for the second straight year. The Giants were once again too much for their Bronx cousins, however, and the Yanks lost that series in five games. Pipp came battling back in 1923 and hit .304, while driving home 108 runs. The Yanks and Giants met for the third straight year in the fall classic. This time it was the Huggins team that won, as the Yankees captured their first ever World Series championship in six outings.

Pipp hit the ball hard in 1924 as well. It would be his final season as a full time starter, however. He had a career high 114 runs batted in and led the American League with 19 triples.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

H

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

1915

Yankees

.246

479

118

4

60

59

18

66

81

.339

.367

1916

Yankees

.262

545

143

12

93

70

16

54

82

.331

.417

1917

Yankees

.244

587

143

9

70

82

11

60

66

.320

.380

1918

Yankees

.304

349

106

2

44

48

11

22

34

.345

.415

1919

Yankees

.275

523

144

7

50

74

9

39

42

.330

.398

1920

Yankees

.280

610

171

11

76

109

4

48

54

.339

.430

1921

Yankees

.296

588

174

8

97

96

17

45

28

.347

.427

1922

Yankees

.329

577

190

9

90

96

7

56

32

.392

.466

1923

Yankees

.304

569

173

6

108

79

6

36

28

.352

.397

1924

Yankees

.295

589

174

9

114

88

5

51

36

.352

.457

1925

Yankees

.230

178

41

3

24

19

3

13

12

.286

.348



1925 set up Pipp for his date with destiny. Miller Huggins replaced Pipp with "the big kid" Gehrig and relegated Pipp to the bench.. He was 32 years old when the Yanks sold him to Cincinnati for $7,500 following that season.

He could still play as evidenced by the fact that he hit .291 with 99 runs batted in during the 1926 season. He began to fade the following season, however, when he drove in only 41 runs in 122 games and batted but .260.

During the 1928 season, he had a comeback season of sorts with a BA of .283, but he played in only 95 games and called it a career following that season. He finished with a lifetime BA of .281, 997 runs batted in, and 1941 hits for his 15 year career.

In another piece of irony, it was Pipp who actually scouted for the Yankees and discovered Lou Gehrig playing at Columbia. The Yankees were not so sure that Gehrig would make it in the bigs and even went as far as to offer him in a trade with the St. Louis Browns.

Wally Pipp had not been a journeyman player, as is most commonly thought. He held all the records for a Yankee first baseman until Gehrig broke them. He had a fine major league and New York career.

Pipp later met with Lou Gehrig in 1939, when Gehrig began suffering from the ALS that would eventually kill him. Lou told Wally hat he wasn't feeling well, and sat down, ending his magnificent iron man streak.

Wally Pipp died in 1965 just about a month before his 72nd birthday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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