Feast of St. Pipp the Displaced by Carson Cistulli February 17, 2011 Wally Pipp made the mistake of not being a generational talent. Today, we learn about and learn from three essential characters in baseball’s unwieldy canon. Pipp the Displaced Life: As someone named R.J. Anderson has noted in these pages, Wally Pipp was a more-than-serviceable first baseman for the Yankees for 10 years, accumulating 35.1 WAR from 1915 to 1924. He’s considerably more well known, of course, for being replaced by Iron Man Lou Gehrig on June 2, 1925 and effectively losing his place with the New York team. From Pipp we learn that, sometimes, there are other people who are way, way, way, way more talented than us. Prayer The Italian expression che sarà does not literally describe, but is certainly applicable, to the circumstances surrounding your career starting in June of 1925. On the bright side of it all, you got to live for three years in that great American city, Cincinnati, birthplace to professional baseball and popular boy band 98 Degrees. *** Roger Craig, Patron Saint of Heroic Nonsense Life: An original New York Met, Craig was also the coach of the successful San Francisco teams of the late 1980s, including the pennant-winning 1989 Giants. In the spring of 1986, he introduced the expression “Humm-baby” to Giant fans, who embraced the phrase for reasons which, to this date, are unknown and unknowable. Prayer As coach of the late-80s Giants, you initiated perhaps the most elaborate Dadaist prank ever when your non-sensical utterance became the rally cry for one of America’s most cultured cities. You may or may not have been a talented coach, but this is very clearly beside the point. *** Williamson the Great and Also Frail Life: Among pitchers with 400-plus career innings, Williamson is 11th all-time with a 10.45 K/9; however, owing to a number of injuries, he failed to reach even as many as 40 innings between years five and nine of his career. Prayer Over a nine-year career you averaged something like six or nine innings per annum and sustained injuries to your arm that scientists didn’t even know existed. When healthy, you threw a slidepiece that fewer than forty or so people in the world could actually hit. That’s fewer than American presidents!