Previous | Main | Next 10/31
Get updates from seth.com



Poor Wally Pipp

According to folklore, on June 2, 1925, New York Yankees' longtime regular first baseman Wally Pipp got a headache and couldn't play in the scheduled game. He was replaced by a newcomer named Lou Gehrig. Gehrig didn't relinquish the position for 14 years (and only then because of a life-ending illness).

In truth, however, Pipp wasn't playing well throughout the early part of 1925, so manager Miller Huggins decided to give Gehrig a shot at playing first base. It was actually a month later, in July, 1925, that Pipp was hit on the head with a ball and developed a lingering headache. Over the years, the story morphed into the legend that it is today.

With no need for the usually solid-playing Pipp (he hit a .295 in 1924 and led the league in triples), the Yankees sold him to the Cincinnati Reds for $20,000. This is the transfer agreement between the Yankees and the Reds that dealt Pipp away. Soon thereafter, the phrase "To be Wally Pipped," entered the American vernacular as a saying to mean to be replaced for good.


click to enlarge
The legend of Wally Pipp started with this telegram, sent in February, 1915, which mentions that he had been signed to the Yankees.