Friday, July 15, 2016

MAJOR LEAGUE FOUNDERS: LIP PIKE 1876-1976

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 three.
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 doubles crown.
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 today.
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 respectively.

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