Category Archives: Pete Hill

Pete Hill: One of the Best Outfielders of “Deadball” Baseball Era

I did not totally forget to acknowledge the birthday of Negro League outfielder Pete Hill last week, born October 12, 1882 – 84.  If you follow me on Twitter, @Lasttraintocoop, you saw my tweet acknowledging it.  Please excuse my unintended slight of him on this blog.  Hill, a fine fielder and consistent .300 plus hitter, is now considered one of the best outfielders in baseball during the “Deadball Era” (1900 – 1919).

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The National Baseball Hall of Fame agreed in 2006 with that assessment of Pete Hill.   He along with eleven other players and five executives all from Negro League baseball were inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown that year.  Hill’s induction gave him overdue recognition as a contemporary of Ty Cobb (1936 Hall of Fame inductee) and Tris Speaker (1937 Hall of Fame inductee), the best Major League outfielders of the early 20th Century.

The following is an excerpt from my book Last Train in Cooperstown:  The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era, in which I profile Pete Hill and the other 2006 inductees from Negro League baseball.

“In 1901, Hill left Pittsburgh for New York to play for the Cuban X

Giants.  Being only 21, he could not break into the starting lineup to

play regularly.  But, the young outfielder caught the eye of Sol White,

manager of the X Giants’ main rival, the Philadelphia Giants.  White

recruited Hill to play for his team in 1903.

 

With the Philadelphia Giants, he began to mature as a ballplayer.

In 1904, he was the center fielder for what many say was the best

black team of the early 20th century era.  With Hill leading the way,

the Giants were proclaimed winners of the “Colored Championship

of the World” in 1904, 1905, and 1906.  This was the title given to

the top black team on the east coast.  Charles “Kid” Carter, James

Booker, Charlie Grant, Emmett Bowman, and Dan McClellan were

other good players on the Giants with Hill.

 

Another teammate of Hill was Andrew “Rube” Foster. Foster at

that time was one of the best pitchers in black baseball.  He would

later become the “father” of Negro League baseball and a member

of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The friendship with Foster would have

a major influence on the remainder of Pete Hill’s baseball career.

After the 1906 season, Foster left the Philadelphia Giants to

become the manager for the Chicago Leland Giants.  He took six of

his Philadelphia Giants teammates with him, including Pete Hill.

 

Under the leadership of Rube Foster, Hill’s career blossomed

with the Chicago team.  He was the team captain and was taught the

ins and outs of managing by his friend.  Hill continued to build on

his reputation as a great hitter and the Leland Giants became one of

the most dominant African-American teams in the country’s

heartland.”

Pete Hill Blog picture

To read more about Pete Hill and the Negro League baseball era Last Train to Cooperstown

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Pete Hill: Contemporary of Ty Cobb

hill-1                                                   Pete Hill Blog picture

Today is the birth date of Negro League baseball player John Preston “Pete” Hill; born on October 12, around 1882 or 1884 in Virginia (Culpeper County).

The following is an excerpt from my book, Last Train to Cooperstown:  The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era, which profiles the Hall of Fame outfielder: 

“A star in Negro League baseball during the first quarter of the 20thCentury, Pete Hill was called the black Ty Cobb. Major League owners and executives futilely denied that it was not racism that kept African-Americans like Hill and others out of white organized baseball during that time. This implied that black players did not have the skills and abilities for big league baseball, which was not true and why the “color line” that kept black players out was invisible. If it were true, Negro League players would not have been compared to the Major League ones as they commonly were before the “color line” was erased. John Henry “Pop” Lloyd, one of the best pre‐1920 players in Negro League baseball, was referred to as the “black” Honus Wagner; his contemporary at shortstop that played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1900 –1917)and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. Pete Hill’ accomplishments on the field were compared to Ty Cobb; who in his Major League career (1905 ‐ 1928) hit over .400 three times, finished with a .366 career batting average, and was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. It is a comparison painted by racism, but it gives an indication of Hill’ talents as a ballplayer. As Cobb was making life miserable for opposing American League pitchers, Pete Hill was the hitting superstar on three pre‐1920 era premier African American teams.”

“At 6” 1”, 215 lbs., Hill was a left-handed line drive hitter that was hard to defend because he hit the ball to all fields. A contact hitter that seldom swung and missed, he was a “tough out” for right handed and left-handed pitchers. Cum Posey, the long‐time owner of Negro League baseball’ Homestead Grays called Pete Hill, “he most consistent hitter of his time.” Negro League first baseman Ben Taylor who played on teams that were opponents of Hill called him “one of the most dangerous hitters a pitcher could ever face in a tough situation.” A 1910 article in the African-American Chicago Defender newspaper stated, “ete Hill would be a star in the Major Leagues if he were white. He can do anything a white player can do. He can hit, run, throw, and is what can be termed a wise, heady ballplayer.”

To learn more about Pete Hill who was one of best hitters in baseball history, read Last Train to Cooperstown:  The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era”.    http://booklaunch.io/kevinlmitchell/last-train-to-cooperstown.

 

Pete Hill – The “Black” Ty Cobb

Pete Hill Blog picture

Today is the birth date of Negro League baseball player John Preston “Pete” Hill; born on October 12, around 1882 or 1884 in Virginia (Culpeper County).

The following is an excerpt from my book, Last Train to Cooperstown:  The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era, which profiles the Hall of Fame outfielder: 

”The statistical and historical portrait of Pete Hill is one of being a hitting machine throughout his entire baseball career. Hill ended a season hitting over .300 eight times, over .400 twice. He had hitting streaks of 27 games in 1910 and l4 games in 1912. Twenty-nine times he got 4 or more hits in a game. In 1904, Hill had one 6 hit game and three 5 hit games. The next year he had twenty 3 hit games. He also hit with power: six times clubbing two or more home runs in a game.

But Pete Hill could do more than hit.   A superb defensive center fielder with a strong accurate throwing arm, he also had speed running the bases that caused havoc for opponents.”

To learn more about Pete Hill who was one of best hitters in baseball history, read Last Train to Cooperstown:The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era”.  For more information, go to www.klmitchell.com  or http://booklaunch.io/kevinlmitchell/last-train-to-cooperstown.

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