Today’s post regarding founding stars of the National league and it’s 100th celebration in 1976 takes us to a guy that arguably belongs in the Hall of Fame, Lip Pike, the first “slugger” in Major League history:
A fellow-native of Brooklyn, Pike played all five years of the National
Association’s existence, and led the league in home runs the first
As a matter of fact, Pike won four home run titles in his 10 years of
pro ball between 1871 and 1887, while also taking home an RBI and
Some consider him one of the very first, if not THE first professional
player since he was uncovered to have been paid $20 a week to play for
the Philadelphia team in the mid-1860’s, leading the way for the first
fully pro team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings just a few years later.
It’s reported that during the pre-N.A. Days, while he played for the Athletics, he even hit six home runs in a single game!
In 1870, he was the second baseman for the Brooklyn Atlantics when they
stopped the famous Red Stockings 93-game winning streak still remembered
But beyond all the historical value Pike had on his resume, he was also
just a plain GREAT player, considered not only one of the strongest but
also one of the fastest.
By the time he retired after the 1887 season after a one-game comeback
with the New York Metropolitans of the American Association, he’d finish
with a .322 career average with 21 home runs, 434 runs scored and 332
runs batted in over 425 games.
He hit the most home runs and had the most extra base hits in the
National Associations five year run between 1871-1875, with 15 and 135