Pete Hill

Hill was one of the outstanding players in Negro League history. He was a lefthanded line-drive batter who hit to all fields, and an excellent defensive outfielder with great range and a strong accurate arm.

Hill was the cornerstone of three of the most talented teams in the pioneer years of black baseball. From 1904 through 1907, he was the star left fielder for Sol White‘s powerhouse Philadelphia Giants. Rube Foster took over as manager of Frank Leland’s Giants in 1907, reorganized the team, and brought Hill to the club for his leadership ability. For three seasons beginning in 1908, Hill was Foster’s field general. The 1910 Leland Giants posted a 123-6 record, including 21 shutouts against the best talent in the Midwest. In 1911, Foster formed a new team, the Chicago American Giants, consisting mostly of former Leland players. He made Hill the team captain the following year.

Hill was always his team’s premier slugger. In 1911, as an American Giant, only once in 116 games did he fail to get a hit. He accomplished this feat against pitchers of the Tri-State League and against many white major leaguers, including Nap Rucker, Eddie PlankChief Bender, and Mordecai Brown. Cum Posey, owner of the Homestead Grays, called Hill “the most consistent hitter of his time. While a lefthanded batter, he hit both lefthanders and right-handers equally well. He was the backbone, year in and year out, of great ball clubs.”

When Foster organized the Detroit Stars in 1919, he asked Hill to become the team’s player-manager. At the age of 41 in 1921, Hill led the Stars in batting with a .388 average. He went on to play with the Madison Stars of Philadelphia, the Cleveland Tate Bears, and the Milwaukee Bears. He also played in Cuba, compiling a .307 average in six seasons. He led the Cuban Winter League with a .365 average for Habana in ’10-11. His final position in pro baseball was as the business manager of the 1924-25 Baltimore Black Sox