Another sort of trailblazer

Once in a while I veer off from my normal path and explore other aspects of hardball history — or what Gary Ashwill calls “adventures in baseball archaeology” — that involve other ethnicities. It also helps — and see my previous post relating to this — that we have a “XXXXXXX Heritage and History Month” for just about every segment of society, which means I always have an opportunity to sell stories about other ethnicities.

Such is the case in May, which is Jewish American Heritage Month, and, as it happens, for a while I’ve been fascinated to the point of meshuggennah about the story of Lip Pike, the first known professional base ball (two words) player and, certainly, the first Jewish professional player and the first Jewish base ball superstar. So today I just had an article about him published in CityBeat, the alt-weekly in Cincinnati.

Here’s a sketch of Mr. Pike:



This post is dedicated to my dear friend and journalistic colleague David Hammer, who has taught me so much about Jewish culture and history and even, at one point, actively encouraged my desire to be a mohel. David has been always been there for me, for 17 years now, through thick and thin, and I’m very, very proud of him. Even though he recently went to the dark side — gasp! — TV journalism. But he’s a damn good investigative reporter, the best I have ever personally known. He’s also just the best person I’ve ever known, period. Thanks, man.

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