Joe Hicks Tipton
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.
- High School McCaysville High School
- Debut May 2, 1948
- Final Game September 26, 1954
- Born February 18, 1922 in McCaysville, GA USA
- Died March 1, 1994 in Birmingham, AL USA
Joe Tipton was a nineteen-year-old catcher who was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cleveland Indians before the 1941 season. He spent his first season in professional baseball with both the Appleton Papermakers of the class D Wisconsin State League and the Flint Arrows of the class C Michigan State League. The young catcher-outfielder appeared in 69 games for both clubs and hit 13 homers with a .306 batting average. 1942 saw Joe with the Charleston Senators of the class C Middle Atlantic League where he appeared in 81 games in the outfield and hit for a .313 average.
Tipton was called for Military duty during the next three years (1943-1945) serving with the United States Navy during World War II. Joe was back in 1946 with the Harrisburg Senators of the class B Interstate League, again playing both the outfield and catcher positions for 104 games and hitting for a .327 average. Playing with the Class A Wilkes-Barre Barons in 1947, Tipton won the Eastern League batting title with a .375 average.
It proved to be his ticket to Municipal Stadium and the Cleveland Indians in 1948, where he caught in 47 games and hit .289 to help his team win the American League pennant. In the World Series, he appearing in only one game as a pinch-hitter and struck out.
Tipton was traded to the Chicago White Sox prior to 1949 and hit only .204 in 67 games. He was then with the Philadelphia Athletics from 1950 until returning to the Indians in June of 1952 to back up Jim Hegan behind the plate. He was with Cleveland in 1953 also and closed out his major league years with the Washington Senators the following year (1954) with a seven-year career batting average of .236 and 29 homers in 417 games.
Though compiling a rather low career hitting average, Tipton had an excellent on-base-percentage of .351 due to his keen eye and ability to draw walks (averaging one every seven at-bats). His minor league stats covered five seasons, including a last try in 1955 with the Memphis Chicks of the AA Southern Association where he hit .277 in 60 games at age 33 and was chosen for the All-Star team.
Tipton popped up one more time in pro baseball in 1958, as the third manager in a string of four, with the Panama City Fliers of the class D Alabama-Florida League. The team finished last in the eight-team circuit with a 39-84 record, 33.5 games back.
Tipton's older brother, Earl Tipton, was in the Philadelphia Athletics chain, but broke two vertebrae in his neck sliding into second base, ending his career. Joe died March 1, 1994, at age 72 in Birmingham, AL, where he owned an automobile dealership.