The Pipp List

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Wally Pipp was a slugger for the Bronx Bombers inside an era when home runs were hard to come by. The first baseman was part of a formidable lineup that included Bob Meusel, Joe Dugan, Waite Hoyt and Babe Ruth; a club that would win three consecutive AL pennants as well as the 1923 World Series.

It was the kind of resume that was sure to land Pipp on the list of Yankees all-timers, considering the team was set up for more title runs over the next half dozen years. And then Pipp was benched for a diesel engine named Lou Gehrig and the rest, as they say, would become history.

Lou Gehrig would set the record for consecutive games played with 2,130. Gary Cooper even played the “Iron Horse” in the movie Pride of the Yankees. By the time Gehrig’s streak came to an end, Pipp had become a cautionary tale: Don’t call in sick or you might not have a job when you get back.

Gehrig has proven to be a tough act to follow, so it got me thinking. And when me thinks, it usually ends up in a list. Here then, my short list of some of the toughest acts to follow. And no, the former occupant of the White House who is currently auditioning for the show My 600-lb Life ain’t on it . . .

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Michael Jordan- Twenty three years after Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won their sixth and final title in a dynastic run that may never be duplicated again, the Bulls are simply meh. Not a single trip to the NBA finals since Number 23 left town. The closest a player has come to even getting into the conversation as the heir to MJ’s throne was Derrick Rose. Injuries short-circuited his career as a Bull, and his second and third acts have happened in other NBA cities.

As for the rest of the league, apologies to Kobe and Lebron, but that debate is about second place. MJ went 6-0 in the finals, whilst collecting six Finals MVP’s for good measure.

Billy Crystal- The host of hosts for any award show, in my opinion. As Oscar host, Crystal’s brilliance was always taken for granted. Only after he left did we realize how tough this gig really is, because no one has come close to filling his dancing shoes.

Bear Bryant- Nick Saban is the anomaly in that he might well have surpassed Bryant. But it took eight coaches to get to Saban, with Gene Stallings having been the only one to win a title in that time as Alabama boss. I’d take Saban only because I’ve seen him long enough to know he’s the best of this era.

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Marlon Brando as Movie Mob Boss- What Brando did with the role of Vito Corleone changed the game. Possessing an unsaintly cool with nary a wasted movement, Brando created a prototype Hollywood crime boss . . . that Al Pacino would match as his son Michael. Since then, you’ve had a handful of great performances but I’m sticking with the Corleones as the standard.

Joe Torre- He was called “Joe Bozo” in an infamous New York Daily News headline that ‘welcomed’ him to town in ’96. And then he led the Yankees to a title in his first season, and then won it three more times in the next four years. It has been fourteen years since he left, and the Yankees have one title to show for it.

Sean Connery as James Bond- I never paid much attention to the 007 franchise until Daniel Craig made the scene. I admit it, I’ve got little patience for nuance. While Craig is my choice, I’m guessing I’d get outvoted on this one.

Mickey Mantle- The Yankees have yet to replace Number 7 in center field and the chances are slim that they ever will.

Alex Trebek- The list of candidates to replace Trebek as host of Jeopardy is a who’s who list of celebrities with several names who I think would nail the gig. But to my way of thinking, that is testament to the man who captained the ship for thirty-seven years.

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David Lee Roth- Roth was a bourbon milkshake and everything that came after his exit from Van Halen? Diet Coke.

Muhammad Ali- Larry Holmes was a worthy heavyweight champion who never deserved the criticism he received for not being Ali. No fighter in the heavyweight division was, is or probably ever will be Ali.

Welp, that’ll do it until the next list. And I send you off into this Tuesday with a classic tune from a gal who will turn 75 next week. She’s had quite the love life, and I bet you all the luminaries whom she’s crossed paths with have her on their short list. Yeah Warren . . I’m talking to you!





66 thoughts on “The Pipp List

  1. Billy crustal was brilliant and made it seem easy. He didn’t always take the easy joke either, but his quick witted ness and facial stare were just perfect

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David Lee Roth?!?!?! Let me repeat that … DAVID F’IN LEE F’IN ROTH?!?!?? Sheesh.

    Meanwhile … Bochy’s run with the Giants comes pretty close to Torre’s except for this. Those Yankees were supposed to win World Series titles. None of the Giants teams were supposed to. In their three WS years, they were never the favorites in any playoff series or WS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eddie was my favorite, not that I was the biggest fan of the group. I did like some of their stuff. But here’s the thing. Eddie was the who of the band. David Lee was the why. When he left, he took THAT band with him.

      Right, excepting for the three in a row over three in six. But apples do comingle with oranges and however you get it, it still spells a great run. However, my thing is, Torre was Miller Huggins. And then the Yankees had another fine manager in Girardi right after him, but they won it once. And that was with a FA loaded club and the core four still holding on. But that feeling that Torre was able to foster? That it was winning time come October? It’s a memory now. Hell, when the Yanks got taken out by the Astros in ’17 and ’19, they were the underdogs. So it’s all different now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gawd…I just love your lists (and you’re right on 007-you probably would be out voted on best Bond!)

    For all the years I played on softball teams I always wore #7. Growing up during the 50’s & 60’s there just wasn’t anyone us kids looked up to more than Mickey Mantle. If we wanted a chuckle though, we’d go with Yogi-ism and Roger seemed a bit dark for a grade schooler (though he was brilliantly talented). The Mick just had that special charisma along with a decent amount of talent as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And that’s okay. I love Connery, but Craig was the Bond who got me watching the franchise.

      That is so cool. And yes, the Mick was a keeper. And to think, if he’d taken care of himself . . he might have been the all time home run king. But what stands out to me most of all, was that as great as he was, when he hit the ball, he put his head down and ran. In today’s game, a .240 hitter stands at home plate and records his shot straight to his IG account.

      I’m officially an old guy now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to agree with your selections, Pilgrim. Your post caused me to wonder about several other Pitt list candidates. I guess you could go crazy just trying to come up with the irreplaceable one in categories like leading men, racecar drivers, leading women, golfers, tennis players, authors, etc. There is enough material for a few years. Keep doing it, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This a a great new theme! Billy Crystal – whatever happened to that guy? Loved him.

    I grew up with Roger Moore as Bond. Never did dig Connery in his earlier roles, but loved him in his crotchety older ones. Craig is very good.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. B,

    I’m always learnin’ with ya! I ended up Googling Wally Pipp to see that one can be Wally Pipped or Pipped out… I just wonder why he ended up being benched… so I dug a little and well. okay then!

    Now, to your list! That shot of Michael Jordan! I cannot disagree.

    No one and I mean NO ONE could ever fill Billy Crystal’s shoes. I know he worked long and hard at it and it showed.

    As you know, I’m not in the know re: Bear…nor Joe Torre so. I’ll keep mum and trust your judgment.

    THE mob boss standard is (are) Father and Son Corleone. Period.

    I was more or less brought up on Roger Moore so I can’t diss him. For me Connery is other stuff. And funny thing is when Craig came onto the scene, I was not pleased. I can’t stand a guy with a moue. However, he won me over.

    No one else should ever wear Number 7.

    Try, try, try as they might, Alex Trebek equals Jeopardy.

    I don’t care what Mark says, I agree. David Lee Roth knew how to put on a show. When Van Hagar came out, they lost me.

    Muhammad Ali was one of a kind.

    Of course, Carly Simon is the perfect choice for this mucho entertaining list. Any time you wannt do these, you’ve got my vote!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      As with any great tale, there are many versions. But his son verified that he had a headache that day. And without the Twitterati to dispute it . . .

      He flew. He literally flew. The only player I ever saw who had jumps like that was Dominique Wilkins. But of course, Michael did every single thing other thing. Best.

      He spent months in preparation, and let’s face it, most of the candidates would have other gigs. They’re not just going to drop everything for a couple months.

      Bear Bryant was as close to a Pope as Alabama ever had. Joe Torre could have been Pope, if New Yorkers had a vote on it.

      Like I said, some great ones since. But the standard remains.

      I was most familiar with Moore since that was my movie viewing time and Connery had already moved on. I just imagined Moore was the best Bond. And then Craig came along.

      Except Monika.

      Jeopardy was just another game show until Trebek transformed it into a platinum gig. So yes, all those names being bandied about. They’re impressive because Trebek was THAT good.

      Roth was a showman. You loved him or you hated him, but that is the point of a band like Van Halen. After he left, people became indifferent, and that’s a loss.

      Ali was transcendent. He was a movement, he was a champion, several times over. He was an underdog and a favorite and a sound bite before sounds bites were even a thing.

      I think I’ll have to do more Pipp lists. 😉


      Liked by 1 person

      • You have to dig a little deeper to get even that 😉

        He did! My gosh! And yeah. Maybe the other can jump but…

        He did – but he still had to work right up to it because of those last contenders. And yeah…not everyone can do that, Or would want to,


        They may be great but they are automatically compared, no?

        All I can say is the worst one was Timothy Dalton. Oh! I forgot, I really liked Pierce Brosnan, too. I never saw the three others ones George Lazenby, Barry Nelson and David Niven (they each did just one).

        Monika is allowed – her story was too sweet to diss.

        Yes. Trebek was a natural.

        He was! I saw him twice. Some people actually preferred Hagar but I don’t speak with them 😉

        He was. Transcendent is the perfect word.

        I think so 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interestingly, Gehrig went 0-3 in his debut. So yeah, it might have been a combination of different things.

          No player, in any sport that I have ever watched had that effect on a game. I remember going out with a friend of mine to watch the Bulls clinch their first three-peat. Fourth quarter of Game 6 and the crowd in Phoenix is insanity squared. The Suns are up by . . I dunno, six or eight points maybe with like five minutes to play. And it didn’t matter. Because when MJ started cooking, it was as if the entire crowd knew. Oh shit!

          And I mean, it hasn’t been pretty since Crystal. I mean, I didn’t even watch the event this year.


          I forgot Dalton was in there too. And Brosnan, who my ex thought was THE best Bond only because she crushed on Pierce.

          Yeah, and to show you how little I know, Niven is the only name familiar to me of those three.

          That’s for sure.

          One of a kind.

          I don’t get the Hagar thing. It seriously felt as if Van Halen went from raucous debauchery to muzak when he came onboard.

          True thing.


          Liked by 1 person

  7. Good Pipp list!
    (Sean Connery)!!!!!! Although Craig is no chopped tofu. (I’m a veggie)
    Love the song, but I’m choking on the fact that Carly is 75.
    That must make me….. Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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