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Pete Hill

Position: Outfielder; Manager
Teams Include: Pittsburgh Keystones, Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, Baltimore Black Sox, 1899-1925

Twenty years after he retired from the game, Pete Hill was dubbed by Cum Posey as "the most consistent hitter of his lifetime." There was no doubt that Hill could do it all. Tall, strong, and fast, he combined speed with power, swatting line drives to every corner of the ballpark. He played superb defense, had a rocket arm, and made opposing pitchers nervous when he reached base with his constant threats to steal. No wonder he was often compared to Ty Cobb.

According to Cum Posey, Hill ripped right-handers and southpaws equally well.
According to Cum Posey,
Hill ripped right-handers and
southpaws equally well.

Hill was a key figure on three of Negro baseball's most legendary teams: the Philadelphia Giants, the Leland Giants of Chicago, and the Chicago American Giants. From 1904 through 1907, with Sol White's Philly team, Hill played alongside such stars as Rube Foster, "Home Run" Johnson, Pete Booker, Charlie Grant, and Dan McClellan.

The aggregation won consecutive titles in 1905 and 1906. It was a great place to learn; Hill established himself as not only a fine player, but a heady one as well. When he joined the Leland Giants to play under Foster, the manager considered Hill his "field general," often calling the younger man his "second manager."

Foster's Leland Giants of 1910 were one of the most dominant teams of all time, compiling an unbelievable 123-6 record against mostly semipro Midwest competition. Foster said it was the greatest team of all time, ever, anywhere. Hill was its leading batsman, outhitting even the great John Henry "Pop" Lloyd with a .428 average.

The following year, Foster handpicked his favorites and formed the Chicago American Giants. Naturally, his speedy center fielder, Hill, was there. Pete responded with one of the greatest batting seasons any hitter ever had, hitting safely in 115 of 116 games. He finished that 1911 season with a batting average of .400.

Foster's career average in black baseball is .326. He also rapped .307 over six winter seasons in Cuba, including a 1910-11 winter in which he hit .365 and led the league in hits and triples.

In 1919, Foster asked Hill to become the player-manager of the newly formed Detroit Stars. After his stint with Detroit, Hill went on to play with at least two more Negro League clubs and spent a little more time in other leagues as well. As his playing career wound down, he moved to the front office with the Baltimore Black Sox.

Hill's career spanned two distinct eras of black baseball: After participating in the great barnstorming teams of the century's first two decades, he was both a player and manager in the early Negro National League years. In a poll taken in 1952 by the African-American weekly Pittsburgh Courier, he was named the fourth-best outfielder in Negro League history, behind Oscar Charleston, Monte Irvin, and Cristobal Torriente. He was selected for the Hall in 2006 by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues.

Here are Pete Hill's Negro League Statistics*:


*Note: Hill's career statistics are incomplete.

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