Re: So just how old WAS Pike?
I never accepted that James T. Kirk was in his early 30s at the beginning of TOS. I know there was that line in "The Deadly Years" when he insisted he was 34, but that seemed ridiculous to me. While I suppose it is not impossible for a naval officer to rise to the rank of Captain (equivalent of an army colonel) that fast, it still seemed a bit of a stretch, even for an over-achiever like Kirk.
I always assumed Kirk to be in his 40s.
This would suggest Pike to be in his 50s.
"The way that you wander is the way that you choose. / The day that you tarry is the day that you lose. / Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder / Where the fair wind blows ..."
-- Lyrics, Jeremiah Johnson's theme.