JOSEPH PRESTON "PETE" HILL
Born: October 12, 1880, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: Nov. 26, 1951, in Buffalo, New York
Playing Career: 1899-1926
Pete Hill's playing career began in 1899 with the Pittsburgh Keystones and extended through 1926. He played with many of the great pre-1920 ball clubs such as the Leland Giants and Chicago American Giants. Hill managed toward the end of his career with the Milwaukee Bears.
Hill was described by his manager Ben Taylor, as one of the most dangerous hitters a pitcher could face in a tough situation. At 6', 1" tall and 215 pounds, Hill not only hit for power, but patrolled center field, covering a lot of ground. He hit over .300 eight times and twice over .400.
He had two long hitting streaks: 27 games in 1910, and in 1912, streaks of 20 and 14 games. Though most of his career came in the pre-1920 era, he had a .457 on base average after 1920 as well.
Hill went 6-for-7 with four runs scored and five RBI on July 28, 1904, and went 6-for-6 in a July 1909 contest. Hill had four or more hits 21 times, four or more RBI in 11 contests and two or more home runs six times.
Hill spent many winters playing ball in Cuba, hitting .307, leading the league in triples three times, hits twice and once in batting. In the 1910-'11 series against major league competition, he hit .300 in 11 games. In 1915-'16, Hill hit .373 behind Lloyd's .383. In two winter league seasons Hill hit .318 in 23 games.
A 1952 Pittsburgh Courier poll named the best players in the Negro leagues, listing Hill as the fourth best outfielder behind Oscar Charleston, Monte Irvin and Cristobal Torriente. Cum Posey's All-time All-Star team in 1944 included Hill in the outfield.
A 1910 Defender article about Chicago players who would be stars in the majors if only they were white discussed Pete Hill who "can do anything a white player can do. He can hit, run, throw and is what could be termed a wise, heady ball player."
Authored by Leslie Heaphy