Lipman Emanuel Pike (Lip, The Iron Batter) (1845-1893) was one of the stars of early baseball, and was involved in many historic moments in baseball history.
Lip's pro career began in 1866, which saw him play 16 games at third base, a defensive position then as second base is now, with Athletic of Philadelphia. Moving on to Boss Tweed's club, Mutual of New York, he became one of the first "professional" baseball players, accepting a cushy job in Tammany Hall in exchange for playing on Tweed's "gentleman's" team. While Pike's claim to the title of first professional player is flimsy, as Jim Creighton was widely known to be paid for his services and had died six years prior, he has a much better chance of being the first Jewish player, and was certainly the first one of any renown.
Lip played most anywhere on the diamond, even though he was left handed, and was one of the first combinations of power and speed; newspaper accounts of the day invariably mentioned that he had the powerful swing most lefthanders possessed, and a much told story, which may be true, has him beating a trotting racehorse in a footrace. (Some accounts, including Bill James', has the horse breaking into a dead run at the end of the race, when it saw it was behind.
While he is largely forgotten today, contemporary accounts regarded him as something similar to today's Five Tool Players, skilled in all phases of the game.