We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
[A]sk a group of die-hard baseball fans to name the first professional baseball player and you’ll either get blank stares or some good but inaccurate guesses.
Truth is, going by the strict technical definition of what constitutes a professional—being paid for what one does consistently and with a high degree of output and efficiency—then the mystery man is a Jewish guy from Brooklyn. The first salaried player of America’s favorite pastime was a powerful hitter and enormously fast runner named Lipman Pike.
A Dutch-Jewish New Yorker born on May 25, 1845, “Lip” Pike became baseball’s first professional player in 1866 when the Philadelphia Athletics engaged him at $20 a week to play third base. You won’t learn that in most baseball almanacs and other sports reference books…
In July 1866, his first year playing with the Philadelphia Athletics, the left-handed Pike established baseball’s first homerun record, hitting six homers in one game against another Philadelphia team, the Alert club….
Although homers were not common in those early years—the game was very different then, with its soft balls and huge outfields—Pike was still one of the homerun leaders of his day, sporting ten during his six-year National Association tenure. Also impressive was his cumulative .321 batting average.
In one of professional baseball’s earliest publicity stunts, in August 1873 Pike raced a famous trotting horse named Chronicle in a 100-yard dash. Even though Chronicle had a 25-yard head start, Pike is reported to have won the race in ten seconds flat and claimed the $250 prize….
In 1887, Pike retired from the game at the age of forty-two, thereafter living a quiet life working in Brooklyn as a haberdasher and attending his local synagogue, Temple Israel.