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Walter Clement Pipp (February 17, 1893 – January 11, 1965) was an American first baseman in Major League Baseball, now best remembered as the man who lost his starting role to Lou Gehrig at the beginning of Gehrig's streak of 2,130 consecutive games.
After playing 12 games with the Detroit Tigers in 1913, Pipp graduated from The Catholic University of America in 1914. The Chicago-born Pipp then joined the New York Yankees for the 1915 season, and would play 136 or more games for them every season until 1925 (except 1918 which was curtailed by injury), hitting .282 with a little power, even after the end of the "dead ball" era. Pipp did lead the American League with 12 home runs in 1916, and again with 9 in 1917. Pipp was the first Yankee to win a Home Run title. Pipp also led the league in triples with 19 in 1924 (his last full year as a Yankee regular). Pipp scouted and asked Miller Huggins to sign young Lou Gehrig from Columbia University, whom Pipp personally helped develop as a young first baseman. Wally Pipp was then traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1926, but played in Old Timers games as a Yankee. He was later hired by Sports Illustrated as one of the magazine's first writers. His 226 sacrifices as a Yankee is still a team record.
Pipp's removal from the Yankees' starting lineupEdit
On June 2, 1925 Pipp was removed from the Yankees' starting lineup and replaced with Gehrig. (Gehrig's streak actually began the day before, on June 1, when he flied out as a pinch hitter). While many stories over the years have suggested that Pipp sat out the game due to a headache, Yankee manager Miller Huggins had actually benched Pipp and other veterans in order to "shake up" the slumping lineup. A month later, Pipp received a skull fracture when he was hit by a practice pitch from Charlie Caldwell, an event that had also been mistakenly linked to his initial benching. Pipp was later traded to the Cincinnati Reds before the 1926 season. He played 372 games for them over the next three seasons before retiring.
Pipp died at age 71 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- List of Major League Baseball players with 100 triples
- List of Major League Baseball home run champions
- List of Major League Baseball triples champions
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Urban legend about Wally Pipp's headache (from Snopes.com)
- Wally Pipp at Find a Grave
|American League Home Run Champion|
Babe Ruth & Tilly Walker