Orville Tipton

Lori Graham contacted me through the Kitty League Baseball Facebook page and asked for information about her great-grandfather, Orville Tipton. She knew he had played for Hopkinsville, Kentucky, though he lived in Indiana and Illinois.

Orville Glen Tipton played two seasons in the Kitty League, 1913-1914. Born in Yale, Illinois, on 21 May 1891, he was the son of Henry and Margaret (Lennox) Tipton. Orville was 19 years old when he was captain and second baseman for the semi-pro Miller High Life club of Terre Haute, Indiana, in the spring of 1910. In April, he began his professional baseball career with Lincoln (IL) Abes in the Class D Illinois-Missouri League.

Orville Tipton with the Bicknell Braves, 1920s (Vincennes Sun-Commercial, 28 Aug 1969, p. 24)

Tipton played second base for his hometown Vincennes club in the Kitty League in 1913. He batted .215 for the last-place Alices with 20 doubles, eight triples, and 20 stolen bases in 125 games. He split the next season between Hopkinsville and Paducah — both second-division teams — and hit a combined .213 with 12 doubles, four triples, and stole 15 bases.

According to his contract card in The Sporting News Player Contract Cards online archive, Orville later played for minor-league teams in Chillicothe, Ohio (1915), and Maysville, Kentucky (1915-16).

Beats the St. Louis Cardinals

One highlight of his baseball career undoubtedly was playing against the St. Louis Cardinals. The major-league club filled two open dates in their schedule with games at Bicknell and Greensburg, Indiana, on September 7, 1921. Although a detailed box score could not be located online, Tipton reportedly played in the exhibition game for the Bicknell Braves, an independent club that played northeast of Vincennes. The Braves had 13 hits off Hutchinson (an unsigned rookie trying out) and Lou North and beat the Cards in eight innings, 9-6. Future Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby was hitless in the game.

St. Louis Star, 8 Sep 1921, page 15

Following his minor-league career, Orville worked for the Bell Telephone Company and continued playing independent ball for teams such as the Bicknell Braves and the Lawrenceville (IL) Havolines.

Orville Tipton died in Vincennes on July 1, 1959, at 68.

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