Sport: Baseball Inducted: 1985 Country: United States Born: May 25, 1845 in New York City Died: October 10, 1893
twenty dollars a week to play third base for the Philadelphia
Athletics in 1866, Lip Pike became baseball's first professional
player. Other top players soon followed suit, and within
three years, the first all-pro team was born in Cincinnati.
In 1871, the National Association— the first professional
league— was founded, and "Lip" Pike played
and managed the N.A. Troy Haymakers, batting .351. His six-year
National Association batting average was .321. His five-season
National League average was .306, with 5 home runs, 36 doubles,
16 triples, and 88 RBIs.
Pike was also baseball's first homerun champion. Although
the exact number of roundtrippers is not known, it is recorded
that he hit six homers in one game in July 1866.
Primarily an outfielder, Pike played every position and batted and threw left-handed. His career spanned the years 1865 to 1887, as a player, player-manager, or managing numerous teams in six different leagues. Among his teams were the Brooklyn Atlantics, Philadelphia Athletics, Lord Baltimores, Troy Haymakers, St. Louis Brown Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Hartford Nutmegs, and the original New York Mets.
Pike's athletic career was not confined to baseball. Known
for his remarkable speed, he ran competitively, often running
for cash purses in challenge races. He once raced and
beat a famous trotting horse named "Clarence" in
a 100-yard sprint (in 10 seconds flat), winning a $250