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Grover Cleveland Alexander

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Grover_Cleveland_Alexander_Baseball.jpg
Grover Cleveland Alexander of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1915.

Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander (February 26, 1887, Elba, Nebraska - November 4, 1950, St. Paul, Nebraska) was a professional baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals.

Alexander was one of thirteen children and played semipro ball in his youth. He signed his first professional contract at age 22 in 1907 for $50 per month. He had a good first season, but it was marred by a beaning that probably contributed to later bouts with epilepsy. This incident set his career back, but he had recovered by 1910, became a star pitcher again, and was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies for $750.

Alexander set the league on fire in his 1911 debut, leading the league with 28 wins (a modern-day rookie record), 31 complete games, 367 innings pitched, and seven shutouts while finishing second in strikeouts and fourth in ERA. The best, however, was yet to come. Alexander was the dominate pitcher in the National League from 1915 to 1917, becoming the only pitcher to win the pitching triple crown three years in a row, and from 1912 to 1920, Alexander led the league in ERA four times (1915, 1916, 1919, 1920), wins five times (1914-17, 1920), innings six times (1912, 1914-17, 1920), strikeouts six times (1912, 1914-1917, 1920), complete games five times (1914-1917, 1920), and shutouts six times (1913, 1915, 1916 [a single season record 16], 1917, 1919). In 1915, he was instrumental in leading the Phillies to their first pennant, and he also pitched a record four one-hitters.

After the 1917 season, the Phillies sold Alexander to the Cubs, fearful that he would be lost to the army in World War I. Sure enough, he was drafted, and spent most of the 1918 season in France as an artillery officer, suffering from shell shock, partial hearing loss, and increasingly worse seizures. Always a drinker, Alexander hit the bottle particularly hard after the war. He still gave Chicago several successful years, however, and grabbed another pitching triple crown in 1920. Finally tiring of his increasing drunkedness and insubordination, the Cubs sold him to the Cardinals in the middle of the 1926 season for the waiver price.

The Cardinals won the National League that year and met the New York Yankees in the World Series, where Alexander had his finest moment. He pitched complete game victories in Games 2 and 6 before coming into the seventh inning of Game 7, after Jesse Haines developed a blister, with the Cardinals up 3-2 the bases loaded and two outs. Facing Yankee slugger Tony Lazzeri, Alexander got him to strike out and then held the Yankees scorless for two more innings to preserve the win and give St. Louis the championship. Alexander had one last 20-win season for the Cardianls in 1927, but his continued drinking finally did him in. He left baseball after a brief return to the Phillies in 1930 and pitched for the House of David until 1938. Alexander was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938.

Alexander's 373 wins and 90 shutouts are both National League records, and he is also third all time in wins, tenth in innings pitched (5190), second in shutouts, and eighth in hits allowed (4868).

YEAR TEAM        AGE   W   L   PCT    G  GS  CG  SV  GF   IP      H    R   ER   BB   SO    ERA RSAA
1911 Phillies     24  28  13  .683   48  37  31   3  11  367    285  133  105  129  227   2.57   44 
1912 Phillies     25  19  17  .528   46  34  25   3  10  310    289  133   97  105  195   2.82   20 
1913 Phillies     26  22   8  .733   47  36  23   2   9  306    288  106   95   75  159   2.79   24 
1914 Phillies     27  27  15  .643   46  39  32   1   7  355    327  133   94   76  214   2.38   19 
1915 Phillies     28  31  10  .756   49  42  36   3   7  376    253   86   51   64  241   1.22   69 
1916 Phillies     29  33  12  .733   48  45  38   3   3  389    323   90   67   50  167   1.55   38 
1917 Phillies     30  30  13  .698   45  44  35   0   0  388    336  107   79   56  200   1.83   46 
1918 Cubs         31   2   1  .667    3   3   3   0   0   26     19    7    5    3   15   1.73    3 
1919 Cubs         32  16  11  .593   30  27  20   1   3  235    180   51   45   38  121   1.72   28 
1920 Cubs         33  27  14  .659   46  40  33   5   6  363    335   96   77   69  173   1.91   49 
1921 Cubs         34  15  13  .536   31  29  21   1   1  252    286  110   95   33   77   3.39   21 
1922 Cubs         35  16  13  .552   33  31  20   1   2  246    283  111   99   34   48   3.62    6 
1923 Cubs         36  22  12  .647   39  36  26   2   2  305    308  128  108   30   72   3.19   32 
1924 Cubs         37  12   5  .706   21  20  12   0   0  169    183   82   57   25   33   3.04   17 
1925 Cubs         38  15  11  .577   32  30  20   0   1  236    270  106   89   29   63   3.39   20 
1926 Cubs         39   3   3  .500    7   7   4   0   0   52     55   26   20    7   12   3.46    3 
     Cardinals    39   9   7  .563   23  16  11   2   7  148    136   57   48   24   35   2.92   17 
     TOTALS           12  10  .545   30  23  15   2   7  200    191   83   68   31   47   3.06   20 
1927 Cardinals    40  21  10  .677   37  30  22   3   4  268    261   94   75   38   48   2.52   50 
1928 Cardinals    41  16   9  .640   34  31  18   2   2  244    262  106   91   37   59   3.36   14 
1929 Cardinals    42   9   8  .529   22  19   8   0   3  132    149   65   57   23   33   3.89   11 
1930 Phillies     43   0   3  .000    9   3   0   0   2   22     40   24   22    6    6   9.00   -8 
     TOTALS          373 208  .642  696 599 438  32  80 5189   4868 1851 1476  951 2198   2.56  523 
     LG AVERAGE      286 286  .500          315  11     5189   5259 2466 1956 1598 1891   3.39    0  
YEAR TEAM          HR   H/9  BR/9  SO/9  BB/9 SO/BB SHO  WP IBB HBP   BFP BK  NW  NL
1911 Phillies       5  6.99 10.35  5.57  3.16  1.76   7   4   0   8  1475  1  27  14 
1912 Phillies      11  8.39 11.61  5.66  3.05  1.86   3   5   0   6  1290  0  21  15 
1913 Phillies       9  8.47 10.76  4.68  2.21  2.12   9   3   0   3  1234  0  18  12 
1914 Phillies       8  8.29 10.50  5.43  1.93  2.82   6   1   0  11  1459  0  25  17 
1915 Phillies       3  6.06  7.83  5.77  1.53  3.77  12   2   0  10  1435  0  34   7 
1916 Phillies       6  7.47  8.86  3.86  1.16  3.34  16   3   0  10  1500  0  31  14 
1917 Phillies       4  7.79  9.23  4.64  1.30  3.57   8   2   0   6  1529  0  30  13 
1918 Cubs           0  6.58  7.96  5.19  1.04  5.00   0   0   0   1    98  0   2   1 
1919 Cubs           3  6.89  8.35  4.63  1.46  3.18   9   1   0   0   906  0  19   8 
1920 Cubs           8  8.31 10.04  4.29  1.71  2.51   7   3   0   1  1447  0  29  12 
1921 Cubs          10 10.21 11.43  2.75  1.18  2.33   3   1   0   1  1033  0  17  11 
1922 Cubs           7 10.35 11.71  1.76  1.24  1.41   1   4   0   3  1014  0  15  14 
1923 Cubs          17  9.09  9.97  2.12  0.89  2.40   3   2   0   0  1246  0  21  13 
1924 Cubs           9  9.75 11.13  1.76  1.33  1.32   0   1   0   1   708  0  10   7 
1925 Cubs          14 10.30 11.52  2.40  1.11  2.17   1   1   0   3   977  0  15  11 
1926 Cubs           0  9.52 10.73  2.08  1.21  1.71   0   0   0   0   218  0   3   3 
     Cardinals      8  8.27  9.85  2.13  1.46  1.46   2   0   0   2   597  0  10   6 
     TOTALS         8  8.60 10.08  2.12  1.40  1.52   2   0   0   2   815  0  13   9 
1927 Cardinals     11  8.76 10.07  1.61  1.28  1.26   2   1   0   1  1082  0  22   9 
1928 Cardinals     16  9.66 11.10  2.18  1.36  1.59   1   3   0   2  1009  0  14  11 
1929 Cardinals     10 10.16 11.80  2.25  1.57  1.43   0   2   0   1   562  0  10   7 
1930 Phillies       5 16.36 18.82  2.45  2.45  1.00   0   0   0   0   109  0   1   2 
     TOTALS       164  8.44 10.21  3.81  1.65  2.31  90  39   0  70 20928  1 374 207 
     LG AVERAGE   174  9.12 12.12  3.28  2.77  1.18  43  95   0 134 21881  9 

GROVER CLEVELAND ALEXANDER LEAGUE LEADERSHIP RANKINGS

1911 NL WINS 1ST 28; WINNING PERCENTAGE 4TH .683; GAMES T3RD 48; GAMES STARTED T2ND 37; COMPLETE GAMES 1ST 31; SAVES T8TH 3; INNINGS PITCHED 1ST 367; HITS 5TH 285; RUNS 4TH 133; EARNED RUNS 4TH 105; WALKS T3RD 129; STRIKEOUTS 2ND 227; ERA 5TH 2.57; RSAA 2ND 44; HITS/9 IP 1ST 6.99; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 5TH 10.35; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 2ND 5.57; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 8TH 1.76; SHUTOUTS 1ST 7; BATTERS FACED 1ST 1475; BALKS T6TH 1; NEUTRAL WINS 2ND 27; NEUTRAL LOSSES T7TH 14

1912 NL WINS T6TH 19; LOSSES T8TH 17; GAMES 3RD 46; GAMES STARTED T7TH 34; COMPLETE GAMES T3RD 25; SAVES T5TH 3; INNINGS PITCHED T1ST 310; HITS T5TH 289; RUNS 7TH 133; EARNED RUNS 8TH 97; WALKS T8TH 105; STRIKEOUTS 1ST 195; RSAA T7TH 20; HOMERUNS T1ST 11; HITS/9 IP 10TH 8.39; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 1ST 5.66; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS T7TH 1.86; SHUTOUTS T7TH 3; BATTERS FACED 2ND 1290; NEUTRAL WINS T4TH 21; NEUTRAL LOSSES T5TH 15

1913 NL WINS T4TH 22; WINNING PERCENTAGE 3RD .733; GAMES 4TH 47; GAMES STARTED T3RD 36; COMPLETE GAMES 5TH 23; INNINGS PITCHED T3RD 306; HITS 3RD 288; EARNED RUNS 6TH 95; STRIKEOUTS 3RD 159; RSAA T6TH 24; HOMERUNS T7TH 9; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 10TH 10.76; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 5TH 4.68; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 6TH 2.12; SHUTOUTS 1ST 9; BATTERS FACED 3RD 1234; NEUTRAL WINS T8TH 18

1914 NL WINS 1ST 27; WINNING PERCENTAGE 7TH .643; GAMES T4TH 46; GAMES STARTED T3RD 39; COMPLETE GAMES 1ST 32; INNINGS PITCHED 1ST 355; HITS 1ST 327; RUNS T3RD 133; EARNED RUNS 2ND 94; STRIKEOUTS 1ST 214; ERA 10TH 2.38; RSAA 7TH 19; HOMERUNS T7TH 8; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 8TH 10.50; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 2ND 5.43; WALKS/9 IP 5TH 1.93; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 2ND 2.82; SHUTOUTS T3RD 6; HIT BY PITCHES T5TH 11; BATTERS FACED 1ST 1459; NEUTRAL WINS 1ST 25; NEUTRAL LOSSES T5TH 17

1915 NL WINS 1ST 31; WINNING PERCENTAGE 1ST .756; GAMES T2ND 49; GAMES STARTED 2ND 42; COMPLETE GAMES 1ST 36; SAVES T5TH 3; INNINGS PITCHED 1ST 376; HITS 5TH 253; STRIKEOUTS 1ST 241; ERA 1ST 1.22; RSAA 1ST 69; HITS/9 IP 1ST 6.06; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 1ST 7.83; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 1ST 5.77; WALKS/9 IP 4TH 1.53; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 1ST 3.77; SHUTOUTS 1ST 12; HIT BY PITCHES T8TH 10; BATTERS FACED 1ST 1435; NEUTRAL WINS 1ST 34

1916 NL WINS 1ST 33; WINNING PERCENTAGE 2ND .733; GAMES 2ND 48; GAMES STARTED 1ST 45; COMPLETE GAMES 1ST 38; SAVES T5TH 3; INNINGS PITCHED 1ST 389; HITS 1ST 323; STRIKEOUTS 1ST 167; ERA 1ST 1.55; RSAA 1ST 38; HOMERUNS T8TH 6; HITS/9 IP 10TH 7.47; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 2ND 8.86; WALKS/9 IP 2ND 1.16; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 2ND 3.34; SHUTOUTS 1ST 16; HIT BY PITCHES T4TH 10; BATTERS FACED 1ST 1500; NEUTRAL WINS 1ST 31; NEUTRAL LOSSES T8TH 14

1917 NL WINS 1ST 30; WINNING PERCENTAGE 4TH .698; GAMES 4TH 45; GAMES STARTED 1ST 44; COMPLETE GAMES 1ST 35; INNINGS PITCHED 1ST 388; HITS 1ST 336; RUNS 7TH 107; EARNED RUNS 8TH 79; STRIKEOUTS 1ST 200; ERA 2ND 1.83; RSAA 1ST 46; HITS/9 IP 10TH 7.79; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 3RD 9.23; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 3RD 4.64; WALKS/9 IP 1ST 1.30; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 1ST 3.57; SHUTOUTS 1ST 8; BATTERS FACED 1ST 1529; NEUTRAL WINS 1ST 30

1919 NL COMPLETE GAMES T9TH 20; STRIKEOUTS 3RD 121; ERA 1ST 1.72; RSAA 4TH 28; HITS/9 IP 1ST 6.89; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 2ND 8.35; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 2ND 4.63; WALKS/9 IP 5TH 1.46; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 2ND 3.18; SHUTOUTS 1ST 9; NEUTRAL WINS 4TH 19

1920 NL WINS 1ST 27; WINNING PERCENTAGE 2ND .659; GAMES T2ND 46; GAMES STARTED 1ST 40; COMPLETE GAMES 1ST 33; SAVES T2ND 5; INNINGS PITCHED 1ST 363; HITS 1ST 335; STRIKEOUTS 1ST 173; ERA 1ST 1.91; RSAA 1ST 49; HOMERUNS T5TH 8; HITS/9 IP 6TH 8.31; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 3RD 10.04; STRIKEOUTS/9 IP 2ND 4.29; WALKS/9 IP 6TH 1.71; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 3RD 2.51; SHUTOUTS 2ND 7; BATTERS FACED 1ST 1447; NEUTRAL WINS 1ST 29

1921 NL WINS T10TH 15; COMPLETE GAMES T4TH 21; INNINGS PITCHED 10TH 252; HITS 9TH 286; RSAA 6TH 21; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 6TH 11.43; WALKS/9 IP 2ND 1.18; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 2ND 2.33; SHUTOUTS T1ST 3; NEUTRAL WINS T5TH 17

1922 NL COMPLETE GAMES T4TH 20; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 7TH 11.71; WALKS/9 IP 2ND 1.24; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 8TH 1.41; NEUTRAL LOSSES T9TH 14

1923 NL WINS 3RD 22; WINNING PERCENTAGE 6TH .647; GAMES STARTED T6TH 36; COMPLETE GAMES T4TH 26; INNINGS PITCHED 5TH 305; HITS T5TH 308; RUNS 9TH 128; EARNED RUNS T7TH 108; ERA 6TH 3.19; RSAA 4TH 32; HOMERUNS T1ST 17; HITS/9 IP 9TH 9.09; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 1ST 9.97; WALKS/9 IP 1ST .89; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 1ST 2.40; SHUTOUTS T4TH 3; BATTERS FACED 7TH 1246; NEUTRAL WINS T3RD 21; NEUTRAL LOSSES T9TH 13

1924 NL WINNING PERCENTAGE 5TH .706; ERA 6TH 3.04; RSAA 9TH 17; WALKS/9 IP 2ND 1.33;

1925 NL WINS T9TH 15; GAMES STARTED 10TH 30; COMPLETE GAMES T6TH 20; INNINGS PITCHED 10TH 236; HITS 7TH 270; ERA 7TH 3.39; RSAA 9TH 20; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 5TH 11.52; WALKS/9 IP 1ST 1.11; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 2ND 2.17

1926 NL SAVES T9TH 2; ERA 9TH 3.06; RSAA T6TH 20; HITS/9 IP 6TH 8.60; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 1ST 10.08; WALKS/9 IP 2ND 1.39; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 6TH 1.52; SHUTOUTS T10TH 2

1927 NL WINS 4TH 21; WINNING PERCENTAGE 5TH .677; COMPLETE GAMES T4TH 22; SAVES T5TH 3; INNINGS PITCHED 7TH 268; HITS 10TH 261; ERA 2ND 2.52; RSAA 1ST 50; HITS/9 IP 9TH 8.76; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 1ST 10.07; WALKS/9 IP 1ST 1.28; SHUTOUTS T5TH 2; BATTERS FACED 9TH 1082; NEUTRAL WINS 2ND 22

1928 NL WINS T10TH 16; WINNING PERCENTAGE 9TH .640; GAMES STARTED T7TH 31; COMPLETE GAMES 6TH 18; INNINGS PITCHED T8TH 244; HITS 7TH 262; HOMERUNS T5TH 16; BASERUNNERS/9 IP 5TH 11.10; WALKS/9 IP 1ST 1.36; STRIKEOUTS/WALKS 4TH 1.59


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