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Grover Cleveland ALEXANDER (HOF)


Grover Cleveland Alexander - Grover Cleveland Alexander was born on February 26, 1887 in the tiny farming community of Elba, Nebraska. Grover Cleveland was one of thirteen children (twelve boys), the sixth of eight to survive into adulthood, born to Margaret and William Alexander. Life on the Nebraska plains was harsh, as the infant and child deaths in the Alexander family amply prove. The Alexander farm was self-sufficient, however, and there was always enough food. Grover Cleveland was called "Dode" by his family and folks around Elba. "Dode" Alexander considered himself "an average farm boy" and described his youth as "more or less a matter of long days of work and short nights of sleep." Alexander acquired a reputation as a fine corn shucker, a task credited with giving Alexander the powerful right wrist that made his curveball so deadly. Alexander developed his control throwing stones at clothespins or when his mother needed to fill the dinner pot; chickens. Just to be fair, "Dode" Alexander was sure to give the chickens a running start. Despite growing with the hardships growing up, "Dode" Alexander graduated from St. Paul High School. William Alexander hoped "Dode" would study law as had his presidential namesake, but he wasn't interested. Instead, Alexander became a lineman with the telephone company so he could pitch on the weekends. "Dode" Alexander had quite a local reputation as a pitcher and was signed by Galesburg of the Illinois-Missouri League prior to the 1909 season. After a slow start, Alexander went 15-8 with a 1.36 ERA and 6 shutouts. On July 22, 1909 Alexander pitching in Galesburg against Canton, threw the only no-hitter of his career, a 2-0 masterpiece in which he struck out ten batters, walked one, and hit a batter. Several days later, Alexander pitched an 18 inning shutout against Macomb winning 1-0, while striking out 19 batters and allowing zero walks. The 1910 season got off to a bizarre start for Alexander. Galesburg sold Alexander to Indianapolis, who without even giving Alexander a look, sold him to Syracuse of the New York State League. Syracuse hit the jackpot, Alexander went 29-11 with 15 shutouts, 31 complete games along with a 1.85 ERA, pitching 345 2/3 innings, striking out 217 batters while allowing only 74 base on balls. After his outstanding 1910 season, Alexander was obviously ready for the big leagues and the Phillies drafted Alexander from Syracuse for $500. In 1911 spring training with the Phillies, Alexander didn't particularly impress anyone starting catcher Pat Moran, who saw something special and persuaded the team to take Alexander north. Alexander gave a glimpse of things to come in the final game of the Philadelphia Pre-Season City Series, pitching five scoreless innings against the defending World Series Champion Athletics. Alexander debuted on April 15, 1911 in Boston losing a 5-4 decision on an unearned run in the ninth. Alexander picked up his first career victory on April 26, 1911 beating Brooklyn in the first game of a doubleheader 10-3. Alexander 's rookie season performance in 1911 is arguably the greatest rookie season by a pitcher, Alexander posted a 28-13 record with a 2.57 ERA. Alexander's 28 wins led the league and remains the modern day record for a rookie pitcher. One of Alexander's biggest wins that season came in Boston against the great Cy Young in September, a one-hit 1-0 shutout. Alexander also led the league with: 31 complete games, 367 innings pitched and 7 shutouts including 4 consecutive. Alexander's 227 strikeouts were good for second in the league and his 2.57 ERA was the league's 5th best. All of this came as part of a 79-73 Phillies team. In 1912 the Phillies slumped to 73-79 dragging Alexander down a bit, Alexander "only" went 19-17 with a 2.81 ERA but led the league with 195 strikeouts and 310 innings pitched. In 1913, Alexander had a 22-8 record with a league-best 9 shutouts. In 1914 Alexander went 27-15 with a 2.38 ERA, leading the league in wins (27), innings pitched (355), strikeouts (214), and complete games (32) while Phillies finished below .500 with a 74-80 record. The Phillies decided to make a change; out went went manager Red Dooin, in came Pat Moran, the good-field-fair-hit catcher who originally persuaded the Phillies to give Alexander a chance. Moran, was an exceptional manager who was a genius at getting the absolute best out of his pitchers, as Grover Cleveland Alexander, Eppa Rixey, and a number of other lesser known pitchers had their finest seasons under Moran. Beginning with the 1915 season, Alexander embarked on a three-year reign of terror over the National League. In 1915, Alexander went 31-10 to lead the league in wins and achieved his first pitcher's Triple Crown, leading the league with a microscopic 1.22 ERA and a career-high 241 strikeouts. Alexander led the league in every important pitcher's category: innings pitched (376 1/3), complete games (36), winning percentage (.756), and shutouts (12). In 1916, Alexander went 33-12, with a 1.55 ERA, and a league leading 167 strikeouts in acheiving his second consecutive pitcher's Triple Crown. Alexander also led the league in: innings pitched (389), starts (45), complete games (38) and an incredible (16) shutouts. In 1917 Alexander won his third consecutive pitcher's Triple Crown with a 30-13 record, with a 1.83 ERA and 200 strikeouts. Alexander also led the league in: innings pitched (388), starts (44), complete games (34) and shutouts (8). Alexander is the only pitcher with three consecutive 30+ win seasons. In 1918, with the U.S. involved in World War I, the Phillies traded Alexander to the Cubs knowing he would likely be drafted into the service. After pitching just three games for the Cubs in 1918, Alexander was drafted into the 89th Infantry Division and sent to France to fight on the front lines. Serving on the front lines, Alexander lost his hearing in one ear and began experiencing his first signs of epilepsy. Between his epilepsy and suffering from shell shock, Alexander began to rely more and more on alcohol. Upon returning to the states in 1919, Alexander enjoyed several more successful seasons with the Cubs. In early 1926, "Old Pete" Alexander as he was now known was waived to the Cardinals, with a chronic sore arm problem and the reputation of not being able to keep his drinking under control. In 1926, with the Cardinals, "Old Pete's" arm came back to life enabling Alexander to win several key games down the stretch to help lead Rogers Hornsby's Cardinals into the World Series. In the 1926 World Series against the Yankees, Alexander started and won both game two and game six and then went out on the town partying thinking his work was complete. However in game seven, with the Yankees having loaded the bases in the seventh inning with two out, Alexander was called out of the bullpen to protect the Cardinals 3-2 lead. Alexander, despite having a humongous hangover proceeded to strike out Yankee rookie sensation Tony Lazzeri on four pitches. Alexander then shut down the Yankees the final two innings without allowing a hit and Alexander and the Cardinals became World Champions! In 1927, Alexander went 21-10 his ninth and final season reaching the 20th victory plateau. Alexander's professional career ended in 1930. Grover Cleveland Alexander posted a career 373-208 record, with a stingy lifetime 2.56 ERA along with 90 career shutouts. Grover Cleveland Alexander was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1938.

Animated Player


Birth Date: February 26, 1887
Birth Location: Elba, NE
Death Date: November 4, 1950
Death Location: St. Paul NE, USA
Weight: 185 lb
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Bats: R
Throws: R
Debut Date: April 15, 1911
Final Game Date: May 28, 1930
Years Played: 21
Games Played: 703
At Bats: 1
Runs: 154
Hits: 378
Doubles: 60
Triples: 13
Home Runs: 11
RBIs: 163
Stolen Bases: 3
Base on Balls: 77
Batting Average: 0.209
Position: Pitcher

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