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  • #16
    A few little tidbits on Alexander I found at the library:

    From Douglas Wallop's Baseball: An Informal History, regarding Alec's strikeout of Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded in the 1926 World Series:

    "Thousands saw and reported the strikeout pitch as a great, sharp-breaking curve, but according to Ruth, 'the ball that Tony fanned on was not a curve at all. It wasn't even a fast ball. It was a half-speed pitch that cut the corner of the plate within half an inch of the spot' called for by catcher Bob O'Farrell" (95).

    From David Voigt's Baseball Volume II: From the Commissioners to Continental Expansion:

    "Likewise, a player-turned-sportswriter, Stan Baumgartner, recalled how the Edgewater Inn at St. Petersburg, Florida, offered the Phillies cheaper rates and patronizing treatment. When a player ordered steak, the waiter yelled, 'baseball steak,' a contemptuous call lfor a poor cut. Incensed at this kind of treatment, Grover Alexander once looked at the offering, dashed it to the floor, and stormed out to a better eating place" (69).

    From Harold Seymour's Baseball: The Golden Age:

    "Then on September 4 [1920] news broke that a National League game at Chicago on August 31 had been fixed for last-place Philadelphia to win over the Cubs. Bill Veeck, Sr., Chicago president, explained to reporters that shortly before the game he had received telephone calls and telegrams of warning, so at the last minute he had directed his team manager, Fred Mitchell, to start Grover Alexander out of turn, instead of Claude Hendrix, who was scheduled to pitch. Alexander had even been promised a $500 bonus if he won, but the Cubs lost 3-0 anyway" (297).

    From The Ultimate Baseball Book, eds. Daniel Okrent and Harris Lewine, regarding the Lazzeri strikeout:

    "After that game, Alexander rebuffed a reporter, 'How do I feel? Go ask Lazzeri how he feels.'" (144).
    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

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    • #17
      The pitch that he struck out Lazzeri on sounds like it had a cutter/slider movement.
      "I was pitching one day when my glasses clouded up on me. I took them off to polish them. When I looked up to the plate, I saw Jimmie Foxx. The sight of him terrified me so much that I haven't been able to wear glasses since." - Left Gomez

      "(Lou) Gehrig never learned that a ballplayer couldn't be good every day." - Hank Gowdy

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Myankee4life
        The pitch that he struck out Lazzeri on sounds like it had a cutter/slider movement.
        What sort of off-speed pitches did he throw beside the screwball. Sounds like it could be some sort of change as well.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by mwiggins
          What sort of off-speed pitches did he throw beside the screwball. Sounds like it could be some sort of change as well.
          I read that a fast sinker was his bread & butter pitch.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by [email protected]
            I read that a fast sinker was his bread & butter pitch.
            You are correct, Bill. I looked him up in the Neyer/James Pitchers book last night, and they list him as thowing:

            1. Sinking Fastball
            2. Curve
            3. Change
            4. Fadeaway

            Also, regarding the pitch to Lazerri, they list a quote by Jessie Haines saying that Alexander almost exclusively worked low and away with his sinker and a 'short, hard curve'. Since sidearm curves typically break more laterally rather than downward, probably what Ruth saw was his curve, it just had more of a cutter action than a true 12-6 curve ball.

            They also have a quote from Horsnby saying that Pete was the best pitcher he ever faced.

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            • #21
              1915 shoul dnot be considered one of the greatest seasons ever

              I love Petey...he is my desktop pic...wearing the ole P of his Philly days

              But 1915, the federal league killed the talent of both leagues, except for a few teams....the Phillies were one team that benefited. He slipped back to earth in 1917

              Pete was a GREAT pitcher, but to mention him with Mathewson, Young, Walter Johnson, Tom Seaver, Grove et al....I don't know. I think he is there in the Gibson, Spahn, Koufax range...which isn't bad, it is still great, just not elite.

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              • #22
                It is interesting, according to Win Shares, 1916 was Petey's best year, not 1915. Even accounting for a low league quality, Pete's 1915 season is very good. Multiply 43 WS by .9, you get 39. By .85 it's 37. .8 = 34. Anything below that and I think we're getting too extreme in how bad the league was relative to its surrounding years.
                Alexander, even after adjusting for Federal League effects, has more career value than Mathewson and a better peak. The only edge Mathewson has is an edge in MVP type seasons, which is 30 WS or more. Matty leads in that, 9 to 5. I count Alec's 1915 season, because there is no way it should be adjusted down below 30 WS from where it stands at 43.

                I know you didn't want to hear about Win Shares, but I just wanted to show that even with the Federal League effect accounted for, it is doubtful that Alexander's status would drop from elite to great.

                Also, my apologies for jacking this thread away from historical discussion of Alexander. Hopefully we can stay on the history theme.
                "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                - Alvin Dark

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Imapotato
                  1915 shoul dnot be considered one of the greatest seasons ever

                  But 1915, the federal league killed the talent of both leagues, except for a few teams....the Phillies were one team that benefited. He slipped back to earth in 1917
                  It still has to be considered one of the greatest seasons ever, his outclassing of his peers was extraordinary. Federal League losses would have to basically bring Alexander down and no one else in this scenario, especially since he was tyrant again in 1916. Plus no other Phillie was remotely close to his production, so if there was a window provided by the FL they didn't do anything out of the ordinary. The three other teams in the first division that year had similar offensive results to Philadelphia's, including two teams with pitcher's parks compared to the Baker Bowl.

                  Maybe there's some wait to it, I can see that. Things came back closer to him in 1916, one guy 1 point behind in ERA+ (in 205 IP) and one guy close in WHIP
                  (in a better park, worse at preventing runs anyway), so he wasn't AS far in front in 1916. But there are caveats for pretty much every season, integrated or not, high IP + low-offense or lower IP with better quality better relative to league.
                  (fantasy football)
                  JM: Only did that for a couple of years and then we had a conspiracy so it kind of turned me sour. Our league's commissioner, Lew Ford(notes) at the time, was doing some shady things that ... I'd rather not talk about [laughs].
                  DB: Isn't he in Japan right now?
                  JM: I don't know where Lou is right now. He's probably fleeing the authorities [laughs].

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                    I've got something about it somewhere on this site. BAsically I looked at the pitchers and hitters who made the jump. What they did before jumping and what they did afterwards. Came up with a few lists showing who the better players were and so on. BAsically what I found if I remember correctly is that for the most part quality did not leave the majors for the federal league. It was fringe to average players jumping.

                    Which makes sense to a degree. These are the players who were held down by the majors. These are the guys who haven't broke through yet and are most likely to take a chance on a new league.
                    I'd love to see the research you spoke of though (a breakdown of who left, and maybe the SD data to give a rough sketch of how much the competitive balance/parity/strength of the average player might have been affected.

                    Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                    If anything it is entirely possible that the 1915 majors was of higher quality then it was previously, due to some of the dregs being cleared out. I doubt this though since the leagues at this time were generally not well organized when it came to talent procurement and development. So in all probability the player drain had a negligible effect on quality.
                    VERY interesting supposition on the plausibility of the quality actually being higher, not debased. This is possible, given the disbursement of talent in the minor leagues (some of which were nearly as great as the ML's).

                    All in all, I look at the seasons of Alexander, Cobb, Ruth, Speaker, and basicallly every great player that played before, after, and during the Federal League raid, and I see no reason to believe that the league quality of 1914-15 was debased significantly, if at all.

                    Cobb had his what was probably his greatest year in 1917, although he had seasons that were about equally as awesome in 1911 and 1915.

                    Alex was just about as outstanding in 16' as he had been the previous two years. Speaker had an alltime great season in 1916, after the league had supposedly be infused with all of the missing talent. Same with Joe Jackson and Walter Johnson pre and post Federal League.

                    (Etc.)

                    I'd have to work off of the premise that the effect was negligible as well until I see evidence in support of the opposing opinion.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I'm at work right now so I can't find it. But if I recall Imapotato was involved in the conversation. I don't really remember the specifics because I have done three or 4 such studies. One for the FL, one for the creation of the AL, I think one for the 50's, and one for the modern DH times.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                        I'm at work right now so I can't find it. But if I recall Imapotato was involved in the conversation. I don't really remember the specifics because I have done three or 4 such studies. One for the FL, one for the creation of the AL, I think one for the 50's, and one for the modern DH times.
                        Good work, in any case. Independent research is copious and painstaking. I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labor. Speaking of which, hopefully I'll have the time to post more on my Alexander readings (and do more on ProQuest) before my subscription runs out forever on 12/31/06.

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                        • #27
                          Alexander is the first player mentioned in Ogden Nash's poem "Line-Up for Yesterday":

                          A for Alex
                          The great Alexander
                          More goose eggs he pitched
                          Than a popular gander.

                          By the way are there any good Alexander biographies?
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                            By the way are there any good Alexander biographies?
                            Wicked Curve: The Life and Troubled Times of Grover Cleveland Alexander

                            Published this year. One of the best baseball bios I've read in awhile.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by csh19792001
                              Wicked Curve: The Life and Troubled Times of Grover Cleveland Alexander

                              Published this year. One of the best baseball bios I've read in awhile.
                              Cool! Thanks! I just love a good baseball biography.
                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Alright I found it, it is under the title "was a more lively ball introduced in 1919".

                                What I found was that a greater number of pitchers were being taken from the ML to the FL, and they were of better quality then the hitters. So one could say Pete did dominate to a greater degree because his competition in these relative stats were weakened by the FL.

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