Pete Hill

John Preston "Pete" Hill (October 12, 1882 – November 19, 1951) was an American outfielder and manager in baseball's Negro leagues from 1899 to 1925. He played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, and Baltimore Black Sox. Hill starred for teams owned by Negro league executive Rube Foster for much of his playing career.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Pete Hill
Pete Hill
Born: October 12, 1882
Culpeper County, Virginia,
United States
Died: November 19, 1951 (aged 69)
Buffalo, New York,
United States
Batted: Left Threw: Right
Negro leagues debut
1899, for the Pittsburgh Keystones
Last appearance
1925, for the Baltimore Black Sox
Career highlights and awards
Negro league baseball
  • Lifetime batting average: .326
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodCommittee on African-American Baseball

Early life

Though he was thought to have been born Joseph Preston Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 12, 1880,[6] recent research has shown that Hill's first name was John and that he was probably born on October 12, 1882 in Culpeper County, Virginia; some sources indicate a birth year of 1883 or 1884.[7] Hill lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the time of the 1900 Census.


Pete Hill 1909
Hill batting for the Leland Giants in 1909.

The 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), 215 pound Hill was considered the most important member of three of the most talented Negro league teams to ever play. Author William NcNeil referred to Hill as "black baseball's first superstar", citing Hill's speed, his strong throwing arm, and his ability to hit for batting average or for power. He spent much of his career playing for teams run by Negro league pioneer Rube Foster. Foster usually built his teams around Hill.[8]

From 1904 through 1907, he was the star left fielder for Sol White's great-hitting Philadelphia Giants. Also during this time, like many Negro league stars of the era, Hill spent some time in a few other leagues, mainly the Cuban Winter League. In 1910-11, he led the league in batting average (.365).

Foster decided to form the Chicago American Giants, which chiefly consisted of Foster's best players from Leland, including Hill, who was made team captain. In the first year of the American Giants' existence, Hill came to be known as one of its best hitters. He hit safely in 115 of 116 games that year against all levels of competition. While he faced mostly minor-league level opponents, some of his opposition consisted of major league quality pitching, including Eddie Plank, Chief Bender, Nap Rucker and Mordecai Brown.

Cumberland Posey, owner of the Homestead Grays and famous black baseball player, manager and executive, once called Hill "the most consistent hitter of his time." He also maintained that the left-handed Hill could "hit both left-handers and right-handers equally well". Besides being a top-class hitter, Hill was known to have great power, although not enough home run and RBI numbers were preserved for precise statistics, as was the case with other Negro league players.

Sportswriter and fellow player Jimmy Smith put Hill on his 1909 "All American Team."[9]

While playing for Foster, the two had a close friendship and in 1919, Foster asked Hill to become the player/manager of the newly formed Detroit Stars. Hill was then 36 years old, but agreed to take on the job. By his third year, Hill was respected by his players and continued to hit, with an average of .388 in 1921 to lead the Stars. After his stint with Detroit, Hill went on to play with three more Negro league clubs, also spending time in other leagues. As his playing career came to an end (he played his last game with the Baltimore Black Sox in 1925), Hill attempted to follow in Foster's footsteps and take a baseball front office job.

His final position in pro baseball was as the field manager of the 1924–25 Baltimore Black Sox.

Later life

Grave marker for John Preston "Pete" Hill

Hill died at age 69 in Buffalo, New York, and he was buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.


In a poll taken in 1952 by the African-American weekly Pittsburgh Courier poll named Hill the fourth-best outfielder in Negro league history, behind Oscar Charleston, Monte Irvin and Cristóbal Torriente. An all-star team compiled by Cumberland Posey in 1944 also listed Hill as one of the greatest Negro league outfielders.[10]

Hill was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006 along with 16 other Negro league and pre-Negro league figures.[11] In late July 2010, the Hall of Fame announced that it would commission a new plaque to correct Hill's name from Joseph Preston Hill to John Preston Hill. The new plaque was unveiled at a ceremony on October 12, 2010 attended by Hill's relatives and researchers.[12]


  1. ^ "Ring Dem Bells Dem Golden Bells" Chester Times, Chester, PA, Saturday, July 19, 1902, Page 6, Columns 1 to 3
  2. ^ "Pottstown and Philadelphia Giants" Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tuesday Morning, June 21, 1904, Page 10, Column 5
  3. ^ "Frank Lelands' Chicago Giants Base Ball Club" Fraternal Printing Company, 1910
  4. ^ "Bears Romp Away from Giants 8 to 1" The San Diego Union, San Diego, CA, Monday Morning, December 30, 1912, Page 8, Column 1
  5. ^ "Hilldale Team Wins" Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, August 6, 1919, Page 12
  6. ^ Heaphy, Leslie. "Joseph Preston "Pete" Hill". Negro league Baseball Players Association. Archived from the original on January 21, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  7. ^ Gorman, Kevin (January 7, 2010). "For Pete's sake, Hill family seeks truth". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  8. ^ "Pete Hill Negro league Statistics & History". Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Base Ball Spirit In The East." Indianapolis Freeman, Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, December 25, 1909, Page 7, Columns 1 and 2
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Manley first woman voted into Hall". Lawrence Journal-World. February 28, 2006. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  12. ^ Kirkland, Kevin (August 8, 2010). "Penn Hills Man Wins Battle with Baseball Hall of Fame for His Great-Uncle: Cooperstown Plaque Has Wrong Name Inscribed for Early 1900s Player". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 9, 2010.

Further reading

  • Riley, James A. (1994). "Hill, J. Preston (Pete)". The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Carroll & Graf. pp. 381–82. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
  • (Riley.) Pete Hill, Personal profiles at Negro leagues Baseball Museum. – identical to Riley (confirmed 2010-04-16)

External links

1880 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1880 throughout the world.

2006 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2006 proceeded in keeping with rules enacted in 2001, augmented by a special election; the result was the largest class of inductees (18) in the Hall's history, including the first woman elected. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) held an election to select from among recent players. The Veterans Committee did not hold an election; the 2001 rules changes provided that elections for players retired over 20 years would be held every other year, with elections of non-players (managers, umpires and executives) held every fourth year. The Committee voted in 2005 on players who were active no later than 1983; there was no 2005 election for non-players. Elections in both categories were held in 2007.

On July 26, 2005, the Hall announced that its board of directors had approved a special election to be held in 2006, by the Committee on African-American Baseball, of Negro leagues and pre-Negro leagues candidates.

Induction ceremonies in Cooperstown were held July 30 with Commissioner Bud Selig presiding.

American Series

The American Series (Spanish: La Temporada Americana) was a set of baseball games played between Cuban and American teams in Cuba. An American team would travel to Cuba and play various professional, all-star and/or amateur Cuban teams throughout the country. The series usually took place either in the fall, after the end of the American season, or during spring training before the season began. The first American Series took place in 1879, with then minor league Worcester team going 2–0 against its Cuban opponents.

Various major, minor and Negro league teams took part in the American Series, including the Cincinnati Reds, Lincoln Giants and Boston Red Sox. In 1900, the Brooklyn Superbas and the New York Giants became the first major league teams to play in the series, with the two teams facing off against each other and with Brooklyn also playing four games against local Cuban League teams and generally overwhelming them. Eight years later, the Cincinnati Reds came to Cuba and found stronger competition there, as they went 6–6 against the Cuban League teams and 0–1 against the Negro league Brooklyn Royal Giants. Series against major league opponents continued every year from 1908 to 1913, and then occasionally until 1953. The final American Series games before the Cuban League disbanded were played from March 20 to 21, 1959, when the Los Angeles Dodgers, featuring Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, faced the Cincinnati Reds in spring training games played in Havana.After a 40-year hiatus, a Major League Baseball team returned to Cuba in 1999, when the Baltimore Orioles played a two-game series (one game in Havana, the other in Baltimore) against the Cuban national baseball team.

Many well-known names played in American Series, including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Josh Gibson, Sam Crawford, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams and Christy Mathewson.

Bachar ladder

The Bachar ladder is a form of rope ladder used as a training device by rock climbers to improve overall upper body strength.Named after noted free soloist John Bachar, Bachar ladders typically consist of PVC rungs joined by webbing or cord to create an unstable structure similar to the ratlines of a sailing ship. However, unlike ascending ratlines leaning inward using one's legs for upward progress and arms for steadying, the Bachar Ladder is typically hung at an overhanging angle of 20-45° and climbed from below using only the arms.

Whereas the campus board focuses more on powerful, sometimes far reaching movements, the Bachar ladder differs in that it swings slightly when it is being climbed, requiring the climber to use more core tension to maintain stability.

For athletes who have practiced pulling movements using only fixed or stable points, the Bachar ladder can improve strength and efficiency of climbing/pulling movements. It produces greater engagement of core musculature, benefiting shoulder stability, improving motor unit recruitment when pulling and proprioception. It could present an increased risk of elbow and shoulder joint tendon/ligament injury for users who are inexperienced or lack proper pulling mechanics such as poor shoulder range of motion.

Center fielder

A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball and softball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.

Club Fé

Club Fé were a Cuban baseball team in the Cuban League. They played from 1904 to 1912. Alberto Azoy managed the team from 1905 to 1910.

Cuban League

The Cuban League was one of the earliest and longest lasting professional baseball leagues outside the United States, operating in Cuba from 1878 to 1961. The schedule usually operated during the winter months, so the league was sometimes known as the "Cuban Winter League." It was always a small league, generally 3 to 5 teams, and was centered in Havana, though it sometimes included teams from outlying cities such as Matanzas or Santa Clara. The league became racially integrated in 1900, and during the first half of the 20th century the Cuban League was a premier venue for black and white players to meet. Many great black Northern American players competed in Cuba alongside native black and white Cuban stars such as José Méndez, Cristóbal Torriente, Adolfo Luque, and Martín Dihigo. After 1947, the Cuban League entered into an agreement with Major League Baseball and was used for player development. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, however, tensions rose with the new Communist government, and in March 1961 the government decreed the abolition of professional baseball.

Detroit Stars

The Detroit Stars were an American baseball team in the Negro leagues and played at historic Mack Park. The Stars had winning seasons every year but two, but were never able to secure any championships. Among their best players was Baseball Hall of Famer Turkey Stearnes.

Geoff Stults

Geoffrey Manton Stults (born December 15, 1977) is an American actor. He is known for his regular roles on 7th Heaven, October Road and Happy Town. He most recently starred as Major Walter Sherman in The Finder and as Sgt. Pete Hill in Enlisted. He played the recurring role of Mitch in seasons 1-3 of the Netflix series Grace and Frankie. His film roles include The Break-Up, Unforgettable, Only the Brave, and 12 Strong.

Jud Wilson

Ernest Judson Wilson (February 28, 1894 – June 24, 1963), nicknamed "Boojum", was an American third baseman, first baseman, and manager in Negro league baseball. He played for the Baltimore Black Sox, the Homestead Grays, and the Philadelphia Stars between 1922 and 1945. Wilson was known for possessing a unique physique, a quick temper, and outstanding hitting skills. One of the Negro leagues' most powerful hitters, his career batting average of .351 ranks him among the top five players.

Wilson was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, one of 17 black Negro league or pre-Negro league players inducted that year.

Leland Giants

The Leland Giants, originally the Chicago Union Giants, were a Negro league baseball team that competed independently during the first decade of the 20th century. The team was formed via a merge of the Chicago Unions and the Chicago Columbia Giants in 1901, and then split in 1910 to form the Chicago Giants and what would become known as the Chicago American Giants. The team was named after its owner and manager, Frank Leland.

List of Negro league baseball players

This list comprises players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

Milwaukee Bears

The Milwaukee Bears were a Negro National League team that operated during the 1923 season, its only season in the league, representing Milwaukee.

Peter Hill

Peter or Pete Hill may refer to:

Pete Hill (John Preston Hill, 1882–1951), American baseball player

Ployer Peter Hill (1894–1935), known as Peter, American test pilot

Peter Murray-Hill (1908–1957), British actor

Peter Hill (footballer) (1931–2015), English footballer

Peter Clegg-Hill, 9th Viscount Hill (born 1945), British peer

Peter Hill (journalist) (born 1945), British editor of the UK newspaper Daily Express

Peter Buckley Hill (born 1948), British musical comedian

Peter Hill (pianist) (born 1948), British pianist, musicologist and authority on the music of Olivier Messiaen

Peter Hill (bishop) (born 1950), British bishop of Barking

Peter Hill (Paralympian) (born 1957), Australian Paralympic swimmer and athlete

Peter Hill (entrepreneur) (born 1964), Australian skateboarder, streetwear entrepreneur and media producer

Peter Hill (writer) (active 2003), British author of Stargazing: Memoirs of a Young Lighthouse Keeper

Peter Hill (civil servant), British civil servant

Peter Hill (footballer)

Peter Hill (8 August 1931 – 8 January 2015) was an English professional footballer who played as an inside forward. Born in Heanor, Hill played for Rutland United and Coventry City.

Philadelphia Giants

The Philadelphia Giants were a Negro league baseball team that played from 1902 to 1911. From 1904 to 1909 they were one of the strongest teams in black baseball, winning five eastern championships in six years. The team was organized by Sol White, H. Walter Schlichter, and Harry Smith.

Ployer Peter Hill

Ployer Peter Hill (October 24, 1894 – October 30, 1935), known as "Pete" or "Peter", was a pilot and an officer with a varied career, but is best known for his abilities as a test pilot. In an aviation career that spanned eighteen years, Hill piloted nearly 60 of the Army Air Corps' newest aircraft, testing and evaluating their capabilities for service.

Pete Hill was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts on October 24, 1894 and attended grammar school and high school in his hometown. In 1916, he graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

The following year, he enlisted in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Enlisted Reserve Corps. In 1918, he received flight instruction at the School of Military Aeronautics at Cornell University, the Aviation Concentration Camp at Camp Dix in Dallas, Texas, and at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois. Hill then accepted a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the regular Army and served as a flying instructor before receiving instruction as a bombardment pilot.

In 1919, Hill served in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps in Washington, D.C., then in 1920 was ordered to duty with the American Army of Occupation in Germany, where he served as the Engineer Officer of the Air Service Flying Station in Weissenthurm. In 1922, he was assigned to duty with the 12th Aero Squadron stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, then transferred back to Chanute Field for instruction in aerial photography. After completing the course, he stayed on as a student instructor.

In 1924, he returned to duty in Washington, D.C., in the Training and War Plans Division under the Chief of the Air Service. In 1925, he was ordered to duty at Mitchel Field, New York, where he was appointed Commanding Officer of the 14th Photo Section, a job he held until 1929. He then served as the Commanding Officer of the 6th Photo Section at Nichols Field in Manila.

In 1932, he returned to the United States and was assigned to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, where he served as a test pilot and Assistant Chief of Planes and Engines in the Maintenance Unit. In 1935, he was assigned as the Chief of the Flying Branch of the Material Division at Wright Field, with the temporary rank of Major. His duties involved the flight testing and evaluation of numerous new military aircraft designs at various contractors' plants, including the Consolidated P-30, the Martin B-10 and B-12, and many others.

On October 30, 1935, Ployer Peter Hill died as a result of injuries received from the crash of the Boeing experimental aircraft Model 299 at Wright Field. The crash occurred because the crew neglected to remove the devices intended to keep the control surfaces from moving when the plane was on the ground. This aircraft was the prototype of what would later become the famous B-17 Flying Fortress of World War II. Major Hill was buried in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on November 3, 1935.

In 1939, the U.S. War Department named the site of the Ogden Air Depot "Hill Field" in honor of Major Ployer Peter Hill. In 1948, Hill Field was renamed Hill Air Force Base.

Rube Foster

Andrew "Rube" Foster (September 17, 1879 – December 9, 1930) was an American baseball player, manager, and executive in the Negro leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

Foster, considered by historians to have been perhaps the best African-American pitcher of the first decade of the 1900s, also founded and managed the Chicago American Giants, one of the most successful black baseball teams of the pre-integration era. Most notably, he organized the Negro National League, the first long-lasting professional league for African-American ballplayers, which operated from 1920 to 1931. He is known as the "father of Black Baseball."Foster adopted his longtime nickname, "Rube", as his official middle name later in life.

Sol White

King Solomon "Sol" White (June 12, 1868 – August 26, 1955) was an American professional baseball infielder, manager and executive, and one of the pioneers of the Negro leagues. An active sportswriter for many years, he wrote the first definitive history of black baseball in 1907. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Veterans Committee
Committee on
African-American Baseball
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
Executives /

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