The Truth about Wally Pipp

Wally Pipp known for being second at first base for the wrong reasons.
Aaron Judge and Wally Pipp loved the strikeout and the homerun.

Headache or Head Trauma?

Just the Facts?

“What’s the matter, Wally?” asked the observant Miller Huggins, the Yankee manager.

“I have a headache, Hug,” answered Pipp.

“Suppose you take the day off,” suggested Hug. “I’ll use that big kid, Gehrig, at first base today.”

Fourteen years and 2,130 consecutive games later, Lou Gehrig called it a career after setting an endurance record which promises to defy all challengers. Pipp never returned to the Yankee line-up again after reaching for that aspirin bottle. But did he ever reach for it?

“It’s a very delightful and romantic story,” chucked Pipp the other day. “I realize that its grown to be accepted as the truth. But it just isn’t correct. I won’t deny that I had a headache that day. I had one which was a pip. Ha, ha. And I’m not trying to make a pun, either. Here’s what actually happened.

“I was taking batting practice that day and the guy who was pitching for us was a big, strong kid from Princeton, Charlie Caldwell. He’s now the Princeton football coach and a might successful one, I might add. Charlie whistled one in and, somehow or other, I just couldn’t duck. The ball hit me right here on the temple. Down I went and I was much too far gone to bother reaching for any aspirin bottles.

Pitcher Charles Caldwell-Princeton Alum

“No, sir. They carted me right off to the hospital. It’s funny how you remember little things, relatively unimportant trifles. As I was wheeled into the room, the nurse remarked, ‘What’s this — another baseball man? Ring Lardner, the baseball writer, was in this same room yesterday. Now we have a baseball player taking his place.’

“I was in that hospital for two solid weeks. By the time I returned to the Yankees, Gehrig was hitting the ball like crazy and Huggins would have been a complete dope to give me my job back. He wasn’t a dope. So he didn’t do it. Not only was Gehrig a better ballplayer than I was, but he was 22 and I was 32. It was as simple as that. But please don’t believe that aspirin story. It just isn’t true.”

Simply put, Pipp lost his starting job because he had been slumping.


Babe ballooned to 260 pounds

I’m in Charge!

Miller Huggins pulled Pipp in favor of Gerhig

he was deliberately benched by a manager who had charge of a team that was playing poorly and who opted to sit down some of his older players to give others a try.

Gehrig looks on and waits for his opportunity

they sold Pipp to the National League’s Cincinnati Reds. The Reds, still badly in need of a first baseman more than a year after the untimely death of Jake Daubert (Ironically from being beaned in the head), paid what was said to be much more than the $7,500 waiver price.

Once again Pipp asked that he be paid part of the purchase price, and once again he was turned down.

Ahead of His Time

wrote a book on the subject called “Buying Cheap and Selling Dear.”

Wally Pipp at Old Timers Day



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