Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander
Born: February 26, 1887 - Elba, NE
Died: November 4, 1950 - St. Paul, NE
MLB Pitching Record: 373–208
Philadelphia Phillies NL (1911–1917; 1930)
Chicago Cubs NL (1918–1926)
St. Louis Cardinals NL (1926–1929)
How good was Grover “Old Pete” Alexander? He won 28 as a rookie, and had 373 wins over his career. League leader in strikeouts six times, Alexander struck out 2,198 batters and had a 2.56 career ERA. He also led the league on many occasions in shutouts and complete games. That is exactly why “Old Pete” makes it into our rotation of the four best pitchers in the Collection.
Alexander ranks right behind the legendary Cy Young and Walter Johnson in wins, and has always been considered in the top 10 pitchers of all time. With the Phillies, Alexander had three 20-win seasons, three 30-win seasons, and won the National League Pitcher’s Triple Crown in 1915 and 1916 before he was sold to the Cubs out of fear that he would be drafted into service for World War I, which he was. In 1918, while serving in France, Alexander experienced injuries to his ears and to his right arm, was plagued with shell shock, and developed epilepsy. All of this, combined with the fact that he became a heavy drinker, caused problems when he returned to the mound. As a matter of fact, it has been reported that “Old Pete” sometimes took the mound in an inebriated state. He managed to have several good seasons with the Cubs, winning the Triple Crown again in 1920, but there were problems with behavior both on and off the field.
He was finally sold to the Cards. Alexander pitched two complete game wins (Games 2 and 6) for the Cards in the 1926 World Series, and then in Game 7 he was sent in as a relief pitcher in the seventh inning. It is purported that Alexander was in tough shape from drinking heavily the previous night, but he held the Yanks scoreless for the final two innings. He had one more 20-win season, and was then out of baseball, pitching for the House of David for several years. Grover Cleveland Alexander was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1938.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html