Whatever Happened To Wally Pipp?

Pipp
June 2, 1925: New York Yankees 1B Wally Pipp is struck in the head by a ball during batting practice and is unable to play. 22-year-old Henry Louis Gehrig steps in to play, and doesn’t relinquish his spot until 1939.
It’s a shame that Pipp is remembered more for this than anything else he did in his life. He did lead the league twice in homers (1916, ’17) and led the league with 19 triples in 1924. In 1924, Pipp hit .295/.352/.457, but he was struggling in 1925 (.230/286/.348) when he went down with the head injury. Despite accumulating 28.9 rWAR for the Yanks over 11 seasons, Gehrig soon made fans forget about Pipp as he hit .295/.365/.531 with 20 homers and 10 triples in only 126 games.

Pipp went on to play for the Cincinnati Reds for three seasons, one of which were above average (108 OPS+, 1926). After baseball, he did go on to become one of the first writers for Sports Illustrated, but his name has become a verb in English vernacular.

“Ian Kinsler has not been Wally Pipp’d,” – Ron Washington

Wash said this when asked if Elvis was replacing Kinsler permanently in the leadoff spot, but now that Profar has hit the ground running in Kinsler’s absence the question should be asked again:

Will Kinsler be Wally Pipp’d?

We know it won’t happen, but should it happen? These things always seem to find a way to work themselves out and it will be at least several weeks before Kinsler returns to the lineup. Profar has flashed to fans what many of us have known for a couple of years, (albeit in only 10 games) he has a treasure chest of talent. The kid has shown incredible range at 2B and is currently hitting .324/.350/.514 with two homers including Sunday’s game winner.

Profar seems to be one of those players that welcomes the big moments (homered in 2012 Futures game) and he had an opportunity to win the game on Saturday, but came up short. Amazingly, the moment came again on Sunday in the eighth inning and he placed the ball in Home Run Porch.

At this point, what do the Rangers miss in Kinlser? The clear answer is his bat, but where do you place him in the field? Heading into this season the answer would’ve been first base, but Mitch is playing well though he has cooled off the last two weeks (.229/.289/.371). By the time Kins comes back from the DL, if everyone is healthy, then Profar probably slides into Michael Young’s vacant “super-utility” role with a chance to maybe play a couple days a week. It is not ideal, but it is a problem that 29 other teams would love to have.  

Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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