The low five had been a fixture of African-American culture since at least World War II. It might seem impossible to pinpoint when the low five ratcheted itself upright and evolved into the high five, but there are countless creation myths in circulation.
It seems crazy to think that such a simple gesture as the high-five, second nature to me now, was actually invented. Even if there isn’t a clear consensus to the originator (it was likely invented by multiple people at multiple times), this reaction is priceless:
Burke, waiting on deck, thrust his hand enthusiastically over his head to greet his friend at the plate. Baker, not knowing what to do, smacked it. “His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back,” says Baker, now 62 and managing the Reds. “So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do.”