George Pipgras

George William Pipgras (December 20, 1899 – October 19, 1986) was an American right-handed starting pitcher and umpire in Major League Baseball. Known as "The Danish Viking", he spent most of his playing career with the New York Yankees, breaking in as a rookie in 1923. He spent the 1925 and 1926 seasons in the minor leagues, and became a starter in the rotation for the first time with the legendary 1927 team. Pipgras lead the American League in wins with a 24–13, 3.38 ERA record for the following year's 1928 repeat champions. After ending his 11-year career with the Boston Red Sox, he became an AL umpire from 1938 to 1946. He was the umpire behind the plate in one of baseball's most dramatic wins ever: on September 30, 1945, at St. Louis' Sportsman's Park, when Hank Greenberg hit a ninth inning Grand Slam, after Pipgras suggested to Greenberg that the game should be called on account of darkness. Greenberg convinced him that he could still see the ball, so the game proceeded. The next pitch was hit over the fence and the Tigers won the pennant, and eventually the 1945 World Series. His younger brother Ed pitched briefly for the 1932 Brooklyn Dodgers.

George Pipgras
George Pipgras 1927.jpeg
Pitcher
Born: December 20, 1899
Ida Grove, Iowa
Died: October 19, 1986 (aged 86)
Gainesville, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 9, 1923, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
June 2, 1935, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record102–73
Earned run average4.09
Strikeouts714
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Pitching career

Pipgras was born in Ida Grove, Iowa, and served in World War I with the 25th Army Engineers. He started his major league career with the Yankees in the 1923 season after being acquired from the Red Sox, making 17 appearances in his first two years. After returning to the minor leagues for two more years, he earned a place in the starting rotation in 1927, posting a 10–3 record for the team still considered by many to be the greatest ever, and winning Game 2 of the 1927 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1928 he led AL pitchers in wins with a 24–13 record, and also in games started (38) and innings pitched (300​23), while finishing second in strikeouts (139); he followed up with another Game 2 victory in the 1928 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals as New York swept the NL champions for the second straight year. He was 18–12 as the Yankees slipped to second place in 1929, and 15–15 in 1930 with an AL-leading 3 shutouts. After a 7–6 season in 1931, he bounced back with a 16–7 mark for the 1932 AL champions, and again won his World Series start in Game 3 as the Yankees swept the Chicago Cubs. In that game, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig each hit a pair of home runs, including Ruth's renowned "Called Shot." In May 1933, Pipgras' contract was sold back to the Red Sox, and he was 9–8 for the team that year before making a handful of appearances in 1934 and 1935. In an eleven-season career, he posted a 102–73 record with 714 strikeouts and a 4.09 earned run average in 1488​13 innings.

Umpire and scout

In 1938 Pipgras joined the American League umpiring staff. On Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on April 20, 1939, Pipgras worked as the third base umpire during a Red Sox-Yankees contest. The historic box score included the names of future Hall of Famers Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Red Ruffing, Lou Gehrig, Joe Gordon and prize rookie Ted Williams as well. Pipgras was the starting pitcher for the Yankees in 1929's Opening Day, and his opponent for the Red Sox that day was Ruffing. According to historians, the unusual feat set by Pipgras is a case unique in major league history. He went on to umpire in the 1944 World Series, as well as the 1940 All-Star Game; he was the home plate umpire for Dick Fowler's no-hitter on September 9, 1945. He also worked as a scout for the Red Sox.

Death

Pipgras died in Gainesville, Florida at the age of 86. He was survived by his wife, Mattie Mae, who passed in 2013 at the age of 99.

See also

External links

1923 New York Yankees season

The 1923 New York Yankees season was the 23rd season for this American League franchise and its 21st season in New York. Manager Miller Huggins led the team to their third straight pennant with a 98–54 record, 16 games ahead of the second place Detroit Tigers. The Yankees moved into the now famous Yankee Stadium. In the 1923 World Series, they avenged their 1921 and 1922 losses by defeating the New York Giants in 6 games, 4 games to 2, and won their first World Series title.

1924 New York Yankees season

The 1924 New York Yankees season was the team's 22nd season in New York and its 24th overall. The team finished with a record of 89–63, finishing 2 games behind the Washington Senators. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium.

1927 New York Yankees season

The 1927 New York Yankees season was their 25th season. The team finished with a record of 110–44, winning their fifth pennant and finishing 19 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics and were tied for first or better for the whole season. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the Pittsburgh Pirates. This Yankees team was known for their feared lineup, which was nicknamed "Murderers' Row", and is widely considered to be the greatest baseball team in MLB history.

1927 World Series

In the 1927 World Series, the New York Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games. This was the first sweep of a National League team by an American League team.

That year, the Yankees led the American League in runs scored, hits, triples, home runs, base on balls, batting average, slugging average and on-base percentage. It featured legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig at their peaks. The team won a then-league record 110 games, finished with a 19-game lead over second place, and are considered by many to be the greatest team in the history of baseball.

The 1927 Pittsburgh Pirates, with MVP Paul Waner, led the National League in runs, hits, batting average and on-base percentage.

1928 Major League Baseball season

The 1928 Major League Baseball season.

1928 New York Yankees season

The New York Yankees' 1928 season was their 26th season. The team finished with a record of 101–53, winning their sixth pennant, finishing 2.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the St. Louis Cardinals. Pitcher Urban Shocker died in September due to complications from pneumonia.

1928 World Series

In the 1928 World Series, the New York Yankees swept the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. This was the first time a team had swept consecutive Series.

Babe Ruth hit .625 (10 for 16) as the Yankees demolished their opponents by a combined score of 27 to 10. As he had done against the Cards in the 1926 Series, Ruth rocketed three home runs over the right field pavilion in Sportsman's Park in Game 4, the only one to do it twice in the World Series through the 2016 season. Unlike 1926, however, it occurred in the final game of a Series won by the Yanks and put an exclamation mark on their two consecutive World Series sweeps.

Lou Gehrig also had a good Series, hitting .545 (6 for 11) with four home runs. He drove in as many runs by himself (9) as the entire Cardinal team combined.

Bill McKechnie became the second manager to lead two different teams to the World Series, and like Pat Moran, won one and lost one.

1929 New York Yankees season

The 1929 New York Yankees season was the team's 27th season in New York and its 29th overall. The team finished with a record of 88–66, finishing in second place, 18 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. This ended a streak of three straight World Series appearances for the club. New York was managed by Miller Huggins until his death on September 25. They played at Yankee Stadium.

1930 New York Yankees season

The 1930 New York Yankees season was their 28th season. The team finished with a record of 86–68, finishing 16 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Bob Shawkey. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium.

1931 New York Yankees season

The 1931 New York Yankees season was the team's 29th season in New York and its 31st season overall. The team finished with a record of 94–59, finishing 13.5 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. This team is notable for holding the modern day Major League record for team runs scored in a season with 1,067 (6.88 per game average).

1932 New York Yankees season

The 1932 New York Yankees season was the team's 30th season in New York, and its 32nd season overall. The team finished with a record of 107–47, winning their seventh pennant, finishing 13 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by future Hall of Famer Joe McCarthy. A record nine future Hall of Famers played on the team (Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Red Ruffing, Babe Ruth, Joe Sewell).

The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the Chicago Cubs. They are the only major-league team ever to go an entire season without being shut out.

1932 World Series

The 1932 World Series was a four-game sweep by the American League champions New York Yankees over the National League champions Chicago Cubs. By far its most noteworthy moment was Babe Ruth's "called shot" home run, in his 10th and last World Series. It was punctuated by fiery arguments between the two teams, heating up the atmosphere before the World Series even began. A record 13 future Hall of Famers played in this Series, with three other future Hall of Famers also participating: umpire Bill Klem; Yankee's manager Joe McCarthy; and Cubs manager Rogers Hornsby. It was also the first in which both teams wore uniforms with numbers on the backs of the shirts.

1933 Boston Red Sox season

The 1933 Boston Red Sox season was the 33rd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished seventh in the American League (AL) with a record of 63 wins and 86 losses. There were five rainouts, one against the Senators and a four game series against the Chicago White Sox that was cancelled due to the remnants of the 1933 Outer Banks hurricane, which passed to the southeast of New England the third weekend of September.

1933 New York Yankees season

The 1933 New York Yankees season was the team's 31st season in New York and its 33rd season overall. The team finished with a record of 91–59, finishing 7 games behind the Washington Senators. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium.

1934 Boston Red Sox season

The 1934 Boston Red Sox season was the 34th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 76 wins and 76 losses.

1935 Boston Red Sox season

The 1935 Boston Red Sox season was the 35th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 78 wins and 75 losses. This was the Red Sox' first season with more wins than losses since 1918.

1940 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1940 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the eighth playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1940, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 4–0.

Ed Pipgras

Edward John Pipgras (June 15, 1904 – April 13, 1964) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the 1932 Brooklyn Dodgers. He appeared in 5 games, going 0-1 with a 5.40 earned run average. His older brother George Pipgras was also a major league pitcher. Born in Schleswig, Iowa, he died at age 59 in Currie, Minnesota.

Iowa Sports Hall of Fame

The Iowa Sports Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Des Moines Register, honors outstanding athletes and sports contributors. To be eligible, members must have either been born in Iowa or gained prominence while competing for a college or university in Iowa.

Leighton Housh, former executive sports editor of the Register, established the Hall of Fame in 1951. Twenty-four athletes were chosen in the inaugural class. The Hall of Fame now includes more than 170 athletes from 20 sports. Inductees are chosen by veteran members of the Register's sports department.

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