Summary

Birth:
17 Feb 1893 1
Death:
Jan 1965 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Walter Clement Pipp 2
Also known as:
Velvel Pipick Wally Pipp 2
Full Name:
Walter Pipp 1
Birth:
17 Feb 1893 1
Death:
Jan 1965 1
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Occupation:
Baseball, Journalism 2
Social Security:
Card Issued: Michigan 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-6177 1

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Stories

Obit-Wally Pipp Dead; Ex-Ballplayer, 71

 

FROM:  The New York Times (January 12th 1965) ~
By The United Press International

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan. 11

Wally Pipp, the man Lou Gehrig replaced at first base for the New York
Yankees, died in a rest home here today after a long illness.  He was
71 years old.

He is survived by his widow, Nora; three sons, Tom, Ben and Walter
Jr., and a daughter, Mrs. William Bibler.

Ballplayer With Headache

In the mythology of baseball Wally Pipp is best remembered for his
aspirins.

On June 1, 1925, so the story goes, Pipp, the strapping,
smooth-fielding, heavy-hitting regular first baseman for the Yankees,
developed a headache before a game.

As the athlete reached into his locker for a bottle of aspirin, Miller
Huggins, his manager, asked how he felt.

"I've got a headache, Hug," Pippis supposed to have said.

"Suppose you take the day off, I'll use that big kid Gehrig at first
today," the manager reportedly replied.

What happened later is fact.  Lou Gehrig played first base that day
and for the next 2,129 days through April 30, 1939, setting a record
that still stands.

Wally Pipp, who was then 32 years old, sat on the Yankees bench for a
good part of the year.  He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds at the
end of the season and played four more years.

Several years ago the former ballplayer, who became a sports "ghost
writer," gently debunked the aspirin story.

The truth, he said was that Charley Caldwell, a Yankee pitcher who
later became Princeton's football coach, hit him with a fastball
during batting practice.

"The ball hit me right here on the temple," Pipp recalled.  "Down I
went and I was much too far gone to bother reaching for any aspirin
bottles."

Whether Pipp's memory held up over the years or whether newspaper
clippings accurately recorded the beaning in July, the story of the
"headache" became a part of baseball lore.

Pipp, who played with the Yankees for 10 years won the American League
home rune championship twice, with 12 in 1916 and 9 in 1917.

The big first baseman, who hit left-handed, had his best year in 1922,
when he batted .329.  He hit .304 in 1918 and again in 1923.  He
compiled a lifetime batting average of .281 in 15 seasons in the major
leagues.

Walter Clement Pipp, who was born in Chicago broke into the majors
with the Detroit Tigers in 1912.  Two years later he was sold to the
Yankees.

 

 

Bio

Walter Clement Pipp (born Velvel Pipick) (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.[1]

After Americanizing his name at the suggestion of his elder brother Moishe and 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, when his playing 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 scouted and asked Miller Huggins to sign young Lou Gehrig from Columbia University, whom Pipp personally helped develop as a young first baseman

On June 2, 1925, Pipp was removed from the Yankees' starting lineup and replaced with Gehrig. The story has become baseball legend:

In the most popular version, one supported in later accounts by Pipp himself (although he wasn't always consistent on the subject, either), Pipp arrived at Yankee Stadium one day in 1925 with a terrific headache. He asked the Yankee trainer for a couple of aspirin. Manager Miller Huggins noted the scene and said, "Wally, take the day off. We'll try that kid Gehrig at first today and get you back in there tomorrow." [2]

As Gehrig went on to play 2,130 consecutive games, Pipp did not get back in there tomorrow. He is later quoted to have said, "I took the two most expensive aspirin in history."

Other sources suggest Yankee manager Miller Huggins may have 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

Wally Pipp was sold to the Cincinnati Reds in 1926. He played 372 games for the Reds over the next three seasons before retiring. Pipp 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 sacrificesas a Yankee remain a team record.

Pipp died at age 71 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids

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