web analytics
December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Lipman Pike: First Jewish Baseball Hero

Brooklyn native Lipman Pike was one of baseball's earliest paid players.

Lipman Pike

Two years ago, Richard Michelson authored a 32-page book for youngsters titled Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King.

Michelson believes Pike has Hall of Fame credentials and started a petition drive to get Pike enshrined in Cooperstown (www.change.org/petitions/induct-lipman-pike-into-the-baseball-hall-of-fame).

Here’s the Lipman Pike story and how it affected one of the readers of this column.

Pike was one of baseball’s earliest paid players. The Brooklyn native would go on to be the first Jewish paid player and the first Jewish manager. In 1866, the 21-year-old Pike was paid $20 per week to play third base for the Philadelphia Athletics of the National Association of Base Ball Players. The team also had two other paid players. Pike, however, outshone them all and gained fame by hitting six home runs in one game.

The following year, Pike played for Irvington, New Jersey, and jumped to the New York Mutuals during the season (a legal practice at the time). New York City’s “Boss” Tweed, famous for his bullying tactics and political payoffs, owned the Mutuals, and Pike saw and heard enough to want out after the 1868 season.

The left-handed batting Pike played closer to home with the Brooklyn Atlantics in 1869 and stayed through the following season. Known for his speed and hitting ability, and as a player who could play several positions, Pike started mostly at second base.

The 5-foot-8 Pike, who sported a handsome mustache and a full head of dark hair, was 28 years old when he ran against a racehorse at a Baltimore track in August 1873. Lipman got off to a quick start in the 100-yard sprint, but the horse was gaining fast. Pike, though, gave it all he had and ended up by winning by a nose and pocketing $250.

Pike would go on to lead the National Association in home runs four times in the 1870s. In 1880, as the Jewish population of the United States reached 250,000. Pike changed teams and ended his career in 1881 at the age of 36. Pike’s father was a Brooklyn haberdasher, and Lipman followed by opening his own establishment, which quickly became a popular meeting place for Brooklyn’s Jewish baseball fans.

In 1887 the 42-year-old Pike returned to baseball after a six-year absence. He played one game for the New York Metropolitans of the American Association. Pike then moved from the batter’s box to behind the plate and umpired for the next two seasons before going back to his men’s clothing store.

Heart disease claimed Pike at age 48 in his Brooklyn home on October 10, 1893, shocking friends and fans. The Brooklyn Eagle reported on his funeral:

“Many wealthy Hebrews and men high in political and old time base ball circles attended the funeral services. Rev. Dr. Geismar, pastor of the Temple Israel, conducted the services and paid a fitting tribute to the exemplary life led by the deceased.”

The Sporting News, which catered to a national baseball audience, wrote:

“He was a left-handed batsman and in his day could hit the ball as hard as many in the business. Pike was one of the few sons of Israel who ever drifted to the business of ball playing. He was a handsome fellow when he was here, and the way he used to hit that ball was responsible for many a scene of enthusiasm.”

Elliot Auerbacher’s enthusiasm for Michelson’s online petition for Pike peaked the interest of his friend Bruce Weinberg, like many of you a history and baseball buff. Bruce, a Brooklyn native and member of the Young Israel of Flatbush, took a day off work last October 4 to visit the grave of a relative and look for Pike’s grave at the nearby Salem Fields Cemetery.

Bruce found where Pike was buried 120 years ago and noted the day of his passing, October 10, 1893. More checking revealed that day was the 30th of Tishrei. You guessed it – the 30th of Tishrei this year was October 4, the very day Bruce happened to be at Pike’s grave. He recited the proper prayer on the exact date of his 120th yahrzeit.

Mere coincidence? I’ll have to ask my spiritual leader, the Cooperstowner Rebbe.

About the Author: The author of 10 books, Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and interviewed the legendary Hank Greenberg. He went on to work for a major league team and became the first Orthodox Jew to earn a World Series ring. He can be reached in his Detroit area dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Lipman Pike: First Jewish Baseball Hero”

  1. Thank you Irwin, for bringing attention to the Lipman Pike petition, and for your many wonderful articles.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ayala Shapira, 11, is fighting for her life after suffering burn wounds when an Arab terrorist threw a Molotov cocktail at the car in which she was riding.
‘Slight Improvement’ in Life-threatening Condition of Firebomb Victim
Latest Sections Stories
book-super-secret-diary

Who hasn’t experienced how hard it can be to fit in?

In our times, most of us when we pray, our minds are on something else-it is hard to focus all the time.

West-Coast-logo

The participants discussed the rich Jewish-Hungarian heritage, including that two-thirds of the fourteen Hungarian Nobel Prize winners have Jewish origin.

Today’s smiles are in the merit of my friend and I made a conscious effort to smile throughout the day.

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

Is the Torah offering nechama by subtly hinting that death brings reunion with loved ones who preceded you?

She approached Holofernes and, with a sword concealed under her robe, severed his head.

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
With the retirement of Lou Gehrig in 1939, Hank Greenberg (right) became the American League’s All-Star first baseman.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

J.D. Martinez

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

Many former baseball players who left us with happy memories also passed away in the past year.

“No kid is worth a million dollars to sign,” Newhouser said, “but if one kid is, it’s this kid.”

Zimmer was popular with veteran teammates like Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider – and with a rookie lefthander named Sandy Koufax.

I’m sure readers noticed those full-page advertisements that ran prior to last month’s meeting about the situation at the Brooklyn home of Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rav of Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin. Avrohom chaired the even along with his brother Menachem, a prominent askan and the president of Lubicom.

I spoke twice during Pesach. The first topic was the Holocaust and Jewish ballplayers and the second was how I, a frum-from-birth Jew, ended up in major league baseball.

Even if a player reaches the big league level, there’s still no guarantee he’ll remain with one team for long. Former Jewish outfielder Richie Scheinblum comes to mind.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/lipman-pike-first-jewish-baseball-hero/2013/11/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: