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  • Pete Alexander Thread

    I always thought Alex's true life story would make a great movie. The movie with Reagan was a cute little innocent baseball film, but it left out the gritty details of Grover's life. And it's the gritty details that make his such a compelling story.

    If I were to write the screenplay, I would start the movie out when Alec is a broken down old man in the flea circus, getting paid a quarter to reminisce about his golden days. Then I'd tell his life story in flashbacks, switching between the sad, lonely old man's current sorry existance, and his remembrences of past glories, WWI horrors, and various drunken embarrassments.

    If I could get Clint Eastwood to play Alec, what a movie that would make!
    "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"

  • #2
    Pete Alexander Thread

    Since it's been over a week, I think it's time to declare Old Pete the winner of the Player's Own Thread poll. This thread will be for members to discuss one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. Hope everyone's up for it.
    -----------------------------------------------
    I date all my baseball photos using the following book. (Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century: The Official ML BB Guide, Researched, Illustrated & Written by Marc Okkonen, 1991, 1993)

    Also, the following website, hostd by the Hall of Fame, mainly using the same book above, but also using images after 1993, has assisted me in dating some of the photos. http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.o...e.htm#database

    On this photographic gallery, I have attempted, using the book above, to date all the photos. If I caption a photo with the following, John Smith, Cubs OF, 1910-13, that means that the photo was taken sometime between 1910-13, when the player was on the Cubs. It does NOT mean that the player was only on the Cubs in that time frame. He might have been on the Cubs from 1900-18, but the photo was only taken between 1910-13.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you enjoy this photo gallery, you might also like our other ones, too.

    Historical, Archival Photographs---Pre-1900---Negro L.---Vintage Panoramic Pictures---Members' Gallery---Runningshoes Presents: Photo Op---Meet The Sports Writers

    Photos of the following individual players---Hank Aaron---Pete Alexander---Ty Cobb---Eddie Collins---Sam Crawford---Jimmy Foxx---Lou Gehrig---Rickey Henderson---Rogers Hornsby---Joe Jackson---Walter Johnson---Nap Lajoie---Connie Mack---John McGraw---Mickey Mantle---Christy Mathewson---Willie Mays---Mel Ott---Babe Ruth---George Sisler---Tris Speaker---Pie Traynor---Rube Waddell--- Honus Wagner---Ted Williams---Zack Wheat---Rare Ty Cobb ---Rare Babe Ruth---Bill's Babe Ruth---Rare Ted Williams---Bill's Rare Finds ---Babefan's Fantastic Vintage Baseball photos---GaryL's Boston Public Library Baseball Photo Project

    We also have some very nice, attractive team photo collections---New York Yankees---New York Giants---Detroit Tigers---Pittsburgh Pirates---Brooklyn Dodgers


    ---------------Pete Alexander, Phillies' P, 1913-14----------------1914-17---BB Reference---Pete Alexander video



    Phillies' P, 1917


    ------------------------------------------------------------1917


    Source: Right: The Greatest Pitchers of All Time, by Donald Honig, 1988, pp. 46.

    ---------------------------1911-12--------------------------------------------------- Phillies P,-------------------------------------------------1914-17


    Pete Alexander, Phillies' P, 1914-17-------------------1914, Polo Grounds-------------Cardinals', 1927, World Series


    ---------------------------------September 20, 1915.

    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-20-2011, 05:57 PM.
    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JRB
      Alexander certainly deserves his own thread. I'm surprised to learn that he didn't already have a thread dedicated to him. Thanks for starting it. I look forward to learning more about him.
      I certainly look forward to learning more from you guys on Alexander as well.

      I dredged the following post up from awhile back. Another posted asserted that it was the live ball which precipitated the demise of deadball era pitchers Walter Johnson and Pete Alexander.

      This is the excerpt regarding Alexander's experience in WWI and his career altering injury:

      "As far as Alexander and Walter Johnson's decline after 1920? You're quite right, it's not a coincidence at all. Reading extensively on both of their careers reminded me of the fact that both suffered injuries that (along with the age/old time wear and tear factors already discussed) conspired to limit their (relative) effectiveness from the inception of the liveball era until their careers commenced.

      Johnson developed a sore arm for the first time in his career in 1920. He arrived in spring training with what was basically a dead arm.

      Henry Thomas himself noted that during spring training of that year that Johnson had said "I couldn't raise his arm to my necktie" and that "The cold had settled into my arm". Later in the year, in fact, the pain became so bad that Johnson went to Rochester to see the venerable Dr. "Bonesetter" Knight, to no real avail. At the end of the season, in fact, things got so bad that Johnson seriously considered retirement after 1920, but Griffith and Mike Martin successfully talked him out of it. The cold/soreness in his shoulder never really left him- it came and went, and was particularly bad each spring. Being a fireball pitcher who was absolutely counted on to pitch 350 innings a year and never relied on junk pitches will tend to do that to one's arm.

      Now, as to Alexander and his ostensible demise (which you attribute to the lively ball)...his 342nd field artillery unit in France was part of the Argonne offensive (one of the biggest battles of WWI).

      John Skipper writes:


      "Both Alex and Mathewson, the winningest pitchers in the National League, came out of the war alive, but both came out broken men......When (Alex) returned in (1919), he was, in many ways, a broken man. He was entirely deaf in his left ear from enduring the sound of bombing for seven straight weeks. He was hit with shrapnel in his right outer ear, an injury that resulted in development of cancer in that ear later in life- which resulted in later amputation of the ear."

      It was also Alex's duty to pull the lanyard to fire the howitzer cannons- and it irreparably damaged his shoulder/biceps in his right arm. The shell shock also greatly exacerbated his epilepsy, which had been mainly latent up to that point, and which he had been able to keep in check with alcohol. As the seizures worsened, so to did the drinking.

      Skipper finishes the chapter by aptly noting:

      "When the Cubs got Alexander in the trade with the Phillies, they were getting the best active pitcher in the National League, a great athlete who had won 30 or more games three years in a row and who seemed destined for even greater stardom. What the Cubs had when he came back from the war was a scarred, shell shocked, half deaf epileptic and alcoholic whose zest for life, without the inducement of liquor, was left somewhere on a muddy battlefield thousands of miles away.”

      So, it's true, just looking at the numbers would lead one to believe that it must've been the live ball killed these guys, and that they were strictly a product of their pitching amenable era. But a more in depth analysis proves that there's quite a bit more to the story than that, and to chalk the decline in performance up solely to the introduction of the lliveball is dismissive of the historical reality."

      I think I've written a decent amount more on Pete- probably in the archives here. I'll also try to dig up some novel info, time willing. I hope this thread turns out similar to the new Hornsby thread!!!!! I'd also strongly recommend that anyone interested in Grover Cleveland Alexander take a look at this biography.

      Wicked Curve: The Life and Troubled Times of Grover Cleveland Alexander

      I read it this summer and really enjoyed it. Although not on par with Reed Browning's Cy Young: A Baseball Life (which I had just finished), Skipper's bio was very informative and enriching tale of the life and times of an incredible talent and a twisted soul.

      --------------------------1916------------------------------------------------------1915, Phillies


      Ernie Shore/Pete Alexander: 1915 World Series.


      Source: Top, Left: Cubs Collection: 100 Years of Chicago Cubs Images, by Mark Stang, 2001, pp. 40.

      -----------------Cubs' P, spring training, 1918---------------------------------------------1911


      --------------------- Phillies' P, 1914-17--------------------------------1914-17------------------------------------1911-12


      ------------------------1916---------------------------------------------------------------1917



      Source: The Philadelphia Phillies: An Illustrated History, by Donald Honig, 1992, pp. 45.

      ---------------------Phillies' 1915-17-------------------------------------------------1926-29


      ---------------------------------------------------------------1912


      --------------1914-17


      1912 against the Giants, Polo Grounds
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-25-2009, 02:39 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        From: 100 Years in Baseball

        An alcoholic and epileptic who died broke and alone in a small rented room, Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander ws his own worst enemy - except on the pitcher's mound. Out there, the only people in trouble were those crouching at the plate. For 20 years, Alexander made them pay with the same lack of mercy he showed toward himself.

        It is ironic that such a troubled man made his living as an expert of control, but it was his pinpoint accuracy (he walked just 953 in 5,189.2 career innings) that enabled Alexander to rack up a National League record 90 shutouts. Bursting on teh baseball scene for the Phillies in 1911 with a major-league best 28 victories, he began with a stretch of five straight 20-win campaigns two years later - including 30 each year from 1915 through '17. His high-water mark came in 1916 when he led the National League in wins (going 33-12), ERA (1.55), innings (389), complete games (38), and strikeouts (167) and set a major-league record of 16 shutouts that still stands. Using a live fastball and a sharp-breaking curve, he walked just 50 batters all season.

        After winning one-third (190) of Philadelphia's games between 1911 and '17, Alexander was traded to the Cubs where his hard lifestyle and epilepsy gradually took their toll. Sent to the Cardinals in 1926 in time to help them beat the Yankees in the World Series with a dramatic bases-loaded strikeout of Tony Lazzeri, the Hall of Famer eventually won 373 games (tied with Christy Mathewson for the NL record). Unfortunately, Alexander squandered his baseball earnings and spent later years recounting his exploits for carnival-goers.



        Pete Alexander, Phillies' P,





        Ernie Shore/ Pete Alexander: 1915 World Series


        Pete Alexander, Phillies' P, 1911-17---BB Reference


        Pete Alexander Cardinals' P, 1926-29-------------------------------------------------------------------------1931-35


        ---------------------------------------April 9, 1914 -----------------------------------------------------------------1911-12

        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-30-2011, 07:47 PM.
        "By common consent, Ruth was the hardest hitter of history; a fine fielder, if not a finished one; an inspired base runner, seeming to do the right thing without thinking. He had the most perfect co-ordination of any human animal I ever knew." - Hugh Fullerton, 1936 (Chicago sports writer, 1893-1930's)

        ROY / ERA+ Title / Cy Young / WS MVP / HR Title / Gold Glove / Comeback POY / BA Title / MVP / All Star / HOF

        Comment


        • #5
          My slate of candidates for Best Seasons Ever for a Pitcher:
          Code:
          ----Name---------Year------W-L------ShO---ERA+--Inn.--WS---TPR
          1. Johnson ----- 1913------36-7------11---258---346---54---8.0
          2. Alexander --- 1915------31-10---- 12---225---376---43---7.0
          3. Koufax ------ 1965------26-8-------8---160---336---33---4.8
          4. Gibson -------1968------22-9------13---258---305---36---7.0
          5. Brown ------- 1906------26-6------10---254---277---35---4.9
          6. Matty ------- 1909------25-6-------8---223---275---34---5.8
          7. Joss -------- 1908------24-11------9---206---325---35---5.0
          8. Wood -------- 1912------34-5------10---178---344---44---6.9
          9. Coombs ------ 1910------31-9------13---182---353---37---4.2
          10. McGinnity -- 1904------35-8-------9---169---408---42---4.3
          I give high precedence to ERA+, in conjuction with W-L, Shutouts, and a variety of other stats. Some of the flashier ERA+ seasons of modern vintage by Maddux/Martinez came with too few inninings pitched to make my cut. Sorry about that. I like to see at least 250 innings pitched or so. I have no hard rules.

          My award winner, Walter Johnson's 1913 campaign led his league in:
          Wins, W-L%, shutouts, CG, innings, SO, ERA, ERA+, Total Baseball's RATIO, Opponents BA, Opponents on-base ave., pitching runs+, wins shares, total pitching wins, fewest hits/g, fewest BB/g, SO/g, Total Baseball's starter runs, adjusted starter runs, total pitcher index.

          In other words, Walter swept the boards that year. And he did it while pitching 346 innings. He also won the MVP award. A true evergreen, classic, vintage Year For the Ages.
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Greatest Pitching Seasons:

          I give highest original presumption to ERA+, but do not use only 1 stat. I also look at innings worked, W-L, awards, league leads, etc. This list is in order of sequence according to ERA+.

          For convenience, I high-lighted in red the post 1920 seasons for us, for easy reference.
          Code:
          ------Name----------yr.---ERA+--Inn.---W-L---ShO--CG-Ratio*-WS*-TPR--PCA
          
          Pedro Martinez-----2000---285---217---18-6----7----4--.617--29--7.3
          Greg Maddux--------1995---259---209---19-2---10----3--.609--30--6.2
          Walter Johnson-----1913---258---346---36-7---11---29--.667--54--8.0
          Bob Gibson---------1968---258---305---22-9---13---28--.771--36--7.0
          Mordecai Brown-----1906---253---277---26-6---10---27--.812--35--4.9
          Dwight Gooden------1985---226---276---24-4----8---16--.791--33--7.0
          Grover Alexander---1915---224---376---31-10--12---36--.757--43--7.0
          Christy Mathewson--1909---223---275---25-6----8---26--.735--34--5.8
          Lefty Grove--------1931---218---289---31-4----4---27--.787--42--6.3
          Cy Young-----------1901---217---371---33-10---5---38--.768--41--5.7
          Ron Guidry---------1978---208---273---25-3----9---16--.759--31--5.7
          Addie Joss---------1908---205---325---24-11---9---29--.741--35--5.0
          Jack Taylor--------1902---203---324---22-11--10---33--.830--32--5.1
          Dean Chance--------1964---199---278---20-9---11---15--.825--32--4.6
          Spud Chandler------1943---197---253---20-4----5---20--.810--29--5.0
          Hal Newhouser------1945---194---313---25-9----8---29--.864--36--6.6
          Mort Cooper--------1942---193---279---22-7---10---22--.811--29--5.0
          Carl Hubbell-------1933---193---309---23-12--10---22--.820--33--5.1
          Tom Seaver---------1971---193---286---20-10---4---21--.795--32--5.7
          Randy Johnson------2002---190---260---24-5----8----4--.827--29--6.3
          Ed Walsh-----------1910---189---369---18-20---7---33--.733--36--5.8
          Warren Spahn-------1953---187---266---23-7----5---24--.805--31--5.3
          Lefty Gomez--------1934---185---281---26-5----6---25--.803--31--4.3
          Luis Tiant---------1968---185---258---21-0----9---19--.779--28--3.6
          Vida Blue----------1971---183---312---24-8----8---24--.787--30--4.8
          Jack Coombs--------1910---182---353---31-9---13---35--.886--37--4.2
          Steve Carlton------1972---182---346---27-10---8---30--.817--40--6.8
          Rube Waddell-------1905---180---328---26-11---7---27--.882--35--5.7
          Orvie Overall------1909---179---285---20-11---9---23--.845--30--4.5
          Joe Wood-----------1912---178---344---34-5---10---35--.816--44--6.9
          Joe McGinnity------1904---178---408---35-8----9---38--.836--42--4.3
          Dazzy Vance--------1924---176---309---28-6----3---30--.798--36--6.0
          Dizzy Dean---------1934---170---324---30-7----3---29--.867--37--5.3
          Stan Coveleski-----1917---167---298---19-14---9---24--.820--29--2.4
          Roger Clemens------1986---166---254---24-4----1---10--.762--29--4.9
          Ed Walsh-----------1908---163---464---40-15--11---42--.789--47--8.1
          Jack Chesbro-------1904---158---454---41-12---6---48--.854--53--4.6
          Denny McLain-------1968---157---336---31-6----6---28--.812--33--4.4
          Sandy Koufax-------1965---156---335---26-8----8---27--.728--33--4.8
          Dave McNally-------1968---154---273---22-10---5---18--.782--26--3.2
          Orel Hershiser-----1988---148---267---23-8----8---15--.865--25--3.7
          Bob Feller---------1946---145---371---26-15--10---36--.887--32--4.7
          George Uhle--------1926---143---318---27-11---3---32--.934--32--3.9
          Robin Roberts------1952---141---330---28-7----3---30--.814--32--3.7
          Urban Shocker------1922---140---348---24-17---2---29--.873--29--3.7
          Don Newcombe-------1956---130---268---27-7----5---18--.793--27--3.1
          Nolan Ryan---------1972---120---284---19-16---9---20--.948--24--2.0
          Whitey Ford--------1961---117---283---25-4----3---11--.882--22--0.9
          *ratio = Relative Onbase Ave.; Opponent's Onbase Ave / L. onbase ave.
          WS = Bill James' Win Shares
          TPR = Total Baseball's Total Player Rating[/COLOR]
          -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Most Impressive Pitcher's Peaks:

          1. Pedro Martinez, 1997-2003,-------215 ERA+

          2. Walter Johnson, 1910-1914,-------204 ERA+

          3. Roger Clemens, 1986-1992,--------164 ERA+

          4. Sandy Koufax, 1961-1966,---------161 ERA+

          5. Ed Walsh, 1907-1912,-------------160 ERA+

          6. Christy Mathewson, 1903-1909,----155 ERA+

          7. Grover Alexander, 1911-1917,---150 ERA+

          8. Rube Waddell, 1902-1908,----------145 ERA+
          ----------------------------------------------------------------
          Greg Maddux (1992-1995; 4 years - 236 2/3 innings): 211

          Mordecai Brown (1906-1909; 4 years - 291 1/3): 196

          Bob Gibson (1968-1970; 3 years - 304 2/3 innings): 185

          Randy Johnson (1999-2002; 4 years - 257 1/3): 182

          Tom Seaver (1969-1971; 3 years - 283 1/3 innings) 167

          Juan Marichal (1964-1966; 3 years - 290 1/3 innings): 160

          Amos Rusie (1893-1896; 4 years - 410 1/3): 155

          Bob Feller (1939-1941; 3 years - 320): 146

          Warren Spahn (1951-1953; 3 years - 288 2/3): 142



          Pete Alexander, Phillies' P, 1916

          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-08-2013, 07:32 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net

            Most Impressive Pitcher's Peaks:
            Surprised to see no Lefty Grove up there. Either '28-'32 or '35-'39.
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-05-2007, 07:46 PM.
            "By common consent, Ruth was the hardest hitter of history; a fine fielder, if not a finished one; an inspired base runner, seeming to do the right thing without thinking. He had the most perfect co-ordination of any human animal I ever knew." - Hugh Fullerton, 1936 (Chicago sports writer, 1893-1930's)

            ROY / ERA+ Title / Cy Young / WS MVP / HR Title / Gold Glove / Comeback POY / BA Title / MVP / All Star / HOF

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
              My slate of candidates for Best Seasons Ever for a Pitcher:
              Code:
              ----Name---------Year------W-L------ShO---ERA+--Inn.--WS---TPR
              1. Johnson ----- 1913------36-7------11---258---346---54---8.0
              2. Alexander --- 1915------31-10---- 12---225---376---43---7.0
              3. Koufax ------ 1965------26-8-------8---160---336---33---4.8
              4. Gibson -------1968------22-9------13---258---305---36---7.0
              5. Brown ------- 1906------26-6------10---254---277---35---4.9
              6. Matty ------- 1909------25-6-------8---223---275---34---5.8
              7. Joss -------- 1908------24-11------9---206---325---35---5.0
              8. Wood -------- 1912------34-5------10---178---344---44---6.9
              9. Coombs ------ 1910------31-9------13---182---353---37---4.2
              10. McGinnity -- 1904------35-8-------9---169---408---42---4.3
              I give high precedence to ERA+, in conjuction with W-L, Shutouts, and a variety of other stats. Some of the flashier ERA+ seasons of modern vintage by Maddux/Martinez came with too few inninings pitched to make my cut. Sorry about that. I like to see at least 250 innings pitched or so. I have no hard rules.

              My award winner, Walter Johnson's 1913 campaign led his league in:
              Wins, W-L%, shutouts, CG, innings, SO, ERA, ERA+, Total Baseball's RATIO, Opponents BA, Opponents on-base ave., pitching runs+, wins shares, total pitching wins, fewest hits/g, fewest BB/g, SO/g, Total Baseball's starter runs, adjusted starter runs, total pitcher index.

              In other words, Walter swept the boards that year. And he did it while pitching 346 innings. He also won the MVP award. A true evergreen, classic, vintage Year For the Ages.
              Bill: I agree that Walter Johnson's 1913 season was the best. Even though Alexander had a better ERA+ in 1915, I think I like his 1916 season best, when he was 33-12 with 16 shutouts which is just incredible. I think "Smoky" Joe Wood's 1912 season is probably the second best season behind Walter's 1913 season. Wood was not only was 34-5 with 10 shutouts, he also added 3 wins in the World Series for 37 wins overall, including winning that famous duel with Walter. I think Lefty Grove's 1931 season where he was 31-4 with an ERA+ of 218 deserves top 5 consideration. Sandy Koufax was great in 1965, but I think he might have been even more towering in his 27-9 1966 season.
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-05-2007, 09:31 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                These are some awesome pics and posts. I looked up a few articles and converted them to Word. They are all early stories about Alexander when he was a phenom in 1911. They give some good insight into his pitching form and his background. One thing I notice looking at the pics is that like so many of his fellow players, he looks much older than his actual age. At the age of 23 he could pass for 35. As I read about his upbringing, he lived a hard life on the farm.

                The Atlanta Constitution Jul 16, 1911

                DOOIN SAYS ALEXANDER’S FAST BALL JUMPS A FOOT
                Manager Charles Dooin, of the Phillies declares that he has the greatest young pitcher in the National League in the person of young Alexander, the recruit who has won twelve and lost two games since becoming a major leaguer. Incidentally, Dooin and President Horace Fogel claim that the figures are incorrect and that Alexander really has won thirteen of his fifteen games.

                This young Alexander is supposed to possess one of the finest assortments of deceivers of any youngster in the game. His fast one is the most effective, according to Manager Dooin and the red-haired boss will take oath that this jumps anywhere from fourteen to fifteen inches. An exaggeration? The manager of the Phillies says no. He says it is an actual fact that that the fast one of this youngster jumps more then a foot.

                Alexander isn't exactly built on the endurance order, and yet he has always had the reputation of being a pitcher who could do a lot of work in a season. Last year he was with the Syracuse, N.Y. team of the New York State League. Ho pitched forty-six games in that league. Incidentally, he pitched some mighty good ball the latter part of the season, when he went fifty-tour innings without being scored upon.

                Alexander is a youngster, being but 23 years old. He is a westerner, his home being in St. Paul. Neb. He stands six toot two inches but is rather slight, being built on the King Cole order.

                Dooin is positive that he will be a good twirler for many years for his motion is easy and graceful. There is nothing of the jerky order about him for he is one of those fellows who go along smooth and easy year after year. Dooin thinks he is a wonder. Nor is he afraid to say as much. He says that Alexander has too much sense to allow a bit of praise to turn his head. Merely another asset.

                The Atlanta Constitution, July 23, 1911

                NO NEW STUFF SAYS ALEXANDER
                Somebody asked Pitcher Alexander, of the Philadelphia Nationals, the other day to explain the secret of his wonderful success this year and his sensible reply was:

                "I study the weakness of a batsman and try to place the ball where he can’t hit it. There isn’t much difference between the majors and the minors except that you receive better fielding support in fast company and that always encourages a pitcher.

                I haven't tried to experiment with any mysterious shoot and never will. I rely on my side arm curve a great deal when in tight places and continually change my pace. I've been playing professional ball only three years and the thought that some day I’d be in the National League never entered my head until I was bought from Syracuse. I never abuse my health, keep in good trim and like to pitch whenever called upon.

                I don't believe in a pitcher trying to master too many curves, All I have is a side arm curve, an overhand in-shoot and a hop to my fast ball. By controlling them as well as possible and keeping cool I’ve succeeded better than I ever dreamed I would.”
                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-05-2007, 09:06 PM.
                "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

                Rogers Hornsby, 1961

                Comment


                • #9
                  Chicago Daily Tribune, July 30, 1911

                  Young Players Who Are Making Good in the Major Leagues - No. III - Grover C. A1exander
                  BY HARVEY T. WOODRUFF
                  Less than ten years ago Grover Cleveland Alexander, the sensational young right hand pitcher of the Philadelphia Nationals, earned his first money as a ball player. The amount was $6, but more important than the amount was Alexander’s determination, then formed, to switch from his infield position at second base to the pitcher’s mound.

                  Alexander. who is now only 24 years old, was a boy at the time and playing on one of two picked teams at a Danish celebration at Danneborg, Neb. In the sixth inning with the score 12 to 3 against Alexander’s nine, two venturesome partisans registered wagers of $1 to $16, Bryan odds, that the under dog would win the game. One of them promised Alexander $5 if he could win.

                  Then the future star, who was on the middle sack and had never pitched before, determined to get the $5. Realizing affairs could not be worse, he took his place in the slab and held the opposition hitless for the remainder of the game, while a batting rally behind him resulted in ultimate victory, 13 to 12. That ended Alexander’s days as an infielder. Thereafter he was a pitcher or an outfielder when not working on the mound.

                  The present Quaker's boyhood home was near St. Paul, Neb. His father was one of the pioneers who went to that country and bought farm lands in 1871. So “Dode,”’ as he was known to his boyhood pals, or ‘Aleck,” as he is known to his present teammates, played on the country nine against St. Paul and later was persuaded to join the town club in games against teams from neighboring towns. In a desultory way he played on various clubs in Nebraska sometimes receiving a few dollars for pitching, but more often working only for the fun or it and even taking days off at his own expense from his work as a lineman for a Nebraska telephone company.

                  In 1908, Alexander accepted his first regular position with the Central City Neb. club at a salary of $50 per month playing Saturdays and Sundays and one or two other days a week, the club being backed by the firemen of the city. After the regular season closed for Central City he went to Burwell for a. month of extra games, and while playing against the National Indians attracted the attention of a pitcher named Sanders who had been with Galesburg. Sanders was posing as an Indian, and when Alexander twice downed the Indians Sanders wrote to his former manager at Galesburg telling him of his western find. During the winter Alexander received on offer of $100 per month from Galesburg and the Nebraska farmer boy accepted.

                  ”I didn’t really expect to make good,” said the modest Alexander the Great, as he is now known. “I thought my success had been due to the fact that the fellows I had been playing against did not know anything about baseball, just as I knew practically nothing.”

                  Yet Alexander won fifteen of twenty three games for Galesburg which was ornamenting the lowest round in the pennant race, before he was hit by a thrown ball along in July. The young pitcher was unconscious from the blow for thirty hours, was in bed two weeks, and when he recovered found that his eye had a double vision. His work previous to his injury, however, had attracted the attention of Manager Charley Carr of Indianapolis whose club bought the youngster and had him treated successfully by an Indianapolis eye specialist.

                  In the spring of 1910, Alexander was ordered to report to the Indianapolis club, but did not even get in any practice before he was sent to Syracuse under an optional agreement. Whether Philadelphia bought him from Indianapolis or drafted him from Syracuse, Alexander says he does not know and has never inquired, although the records show he was drafted. For Syracuse last year Alexander took part in forty-three games, winning twenty-nine and losing fourteen. The last six games were shutouts.

                  When the recruit held the world’s champions Athletics without a hit for five innings in one of the exhibition games this spring, Manager Dooin deemed his new charge worthy of a league trial and Alexander, jumped to the front with a sensational a bound as did King Cole of the Cubs last season.

                  Alexander has an effective side arm ball and a good fast ball with a break to it, and with this as the basis of his stock in trade has become the most talked of new pitcher of the year. He nonchalantly admits he is willing to walk four or flve men a game in trying to pitch to a batter’s weakness which is his theory of success in pitching. As a result, he says he often finds himself in a hole to the batter and the base on ball results. But theremust be something in his method, for the twenty-one games he has won for the Phillies this season explains in large measure the high, standing of the club. Alexander ascribes much of his success to the coaching of Pat Moran the old Cub catcher now with Philadelphia.

                  Alexander’s first league game was a defeat from Boston 5 to 4 in ten innings in which only seven hits were secured, but breaks in his support cost heavily. He lost only one other game in his first ten with the Cubs winning 6 to 2. When a young fellow fresh from the minors wins eight of his first ten games the fans begin to sit up and take notice and they have been sitting up and taking notice ever since.

                  The successful pitcher is a big fine looking fellow, standing six feet and one inch and weighing 175 pounds. He is a likable fellow personally and talks intelligently on his chosen profession. His size suggests early prowess on the football field but football was not in his school curriculum. Since giving up his job of lineman to that of baseball player Alexander has hunted during the fall and winter, getting duck, geese, prairie chickens, quail, rabbits, and such game as is found near his home.

                  Alexander comes of Scotch-Irish stock. He has seven brothers and a sister in Nebraska. Of the brothers, he credits only one with a possible baseball future. A sixteen year old has aspirations to be a big league pitcher like brother “Aleck”. Despite all his success and the glamour of the big cities where he is a hero to thousands of fans, this product of the Nebraska prairies looks forward to the time when he can buy Nebraska farm lands with his earnings and there return when his pitching arm loses its cunning. At the rate he is going he will be able to buy several quarter sections before he is a candidate for retirement.
                  Last edited by Bench 5; 11-28-2006, 12:34 AM.
                  "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

                  Rogers Hornsby, 1961

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Atlanta constitution, Aug 13, 1911

                    ALEXANDER’S LIFE-LONG SCRAP
                    Grover Cleveland Alexander. the sensational young twirler of the Phillies, who has startled the baseball world by his wonderful work on the mound this season, is to be signed to a three-year contract by the Phillies when the team arrives home. The exact terms of the contract are not known, but it is said on pretty good authority that “Alex’ will receive the largest salary ever paid to a Philly player with the exception of Manager Dooin.

                    Based entirely upon the theory that “Alex” is to receive considerable over $5,000 a year for his three years which is certain, the youngster becomes one of the highest priced players in baseball and is the first youngster to be honored with such a tremendous salary before he has even completed his first year in the big leagues.

                    President Fogel realizes that Alexander and Dooin have been responsible to a great extent for the successful financial season the club has had thus far, and the club officials realize that Alexander has proven a great drawing card.
                    Throughout the National League circuit Alexander is looked upon with wonder by the fans, and every time he is announced as the twirler the stands are filled. It reminds one of the time when the famous ‘Rube” Waddell as making the Athletics’ owners a barrel of money. It is admitted that Alexander is more of a card, especialy in the west, than Waddell ever was, as the “Rube’ was so eccentric that the fans tired of his antics on the ball field. They realize that “Alex’ is a sensible youngster who takes great care of himself and that he is due to be a star for many years.

                    Alexander’s rise in baseball has been even more rapid than that of Christy Mathewson who broke in with a wonderful record in 1901 and who has been the premier pitcher in the land until this season. Matty saved the National League by packing the grounds in every city whenever he twirled, just at a time when the American League had the National on the run during the baseball war.

                    Not only does the signing of Alexander to a three-year contract at a fancy figure help the club, but it helps the league, as well, as it will make the Nebraskan even more interesting to the public and will attract such large crowds to the ball parks when he is twirling that the whole league will be benefited.

                    The rise of Alexanôer has been marvelous. He recently told a bit of his childhood history the other day which makes him even more interesting to the public. Alexander’s parents lived in Clinton. Iowa and in 1870 they joined a party of settlers off to the far west. A little dot on the present map of Nebraska was the first stopping place of the band, and the little settlement was guarded by government troops because of the hostile Indians who were terrorizing the inhabitants of that section.

                    Several children wore born to the Alexanders, two of which were killed in an accident. Finally, Grover Cleveland came into the world. “Alex,” as he is now known to baseball fans, was born in a hut made of sods.

                    Grover is 22 years of age now, and passed the first three years at his life in this hut. The hut was built by Grover’s father, and was a one-story affair. The floor and ceiling were covered with plain boards, while the walls were made of layers of thick and heavy grass sod.

                    Until “Alex” was 10 years old there was not a residence of any sort within thirty miles of this little settlement composed of fifty families.

                    Finally, St. Paul, Nebraska, was built up, but even St. Paul was ten miles away from the Alexander home. When “Alex” was 16, Grover’s older brothers and father built their present home on the same spot where the hut in which he was born had stood. They built the house themselves, and after their own ideas, improving it from time to time.

                    That old home has its attractions for “Alex” and he says he is going to pass every winter he has in that same old home. His first seasons salary, or that part of it he has received so far, including the extra money the club presented to him for his grand work, has purchased “Alex” a plot of ground in the center of the town

                    Just an soon as he receives enough advance money for signing the three-year contract, Grover is going to build a home on that lot, and present it to his parents. They have always wanted to live in town, and Grover is going to satisfy that wish, now that good fortune is smiling upon him.

                    “Alex” has had a hard time in life until he broke into baseball, and he knows just what his parents went through, and he does not intend that they shall ever want for anything, if he can help them.

                    When he was 16, Grover worked from 5 in the morning until 6 at night on a neighboring farm for $1 a day. When his day’s work on the farm was through, Grover found more work awaiting him at home.

                    “AIex’ never intended to play baseball for a living. His first idea in going to Galesburg, Ind. where he played his first professional ball was to take a summer’s rest, and to go back to hard work on the farm again. “Alex” never shirked work in his life, but he had an easy summer, and he made up his mind to become a ball player.

                    He went into baseball just as he tackled everything else. His whole heart was in the game, and “Alex” worked from morning till night on the ball field to learn how to pitch as a star should pitch.

                    Thousands of baseball fans throughout the country, and seven clubs in the National League, besides the Phillies, can testify that the Nebraska farmer boy has succeeded even beyond his wildest dreams.
                    "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

                    Rogers Hornsby, 1961

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I assume those were originally PDF files. How do you convert them to Word?
                      "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                      - Alvin Dark

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AstrosFan
                        I assume those were originally PDF files. How do you convert them to Word?
                        I believe he said in the Hornsby thread that he hypes them by hand.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTaka
                          Has there been a "Mathewson vs Alexander" poll or thread? If so, could someone give me the link?
                          Here's the biggest one I could find:

                          http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...over+Cleveland
                          Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
                            Most Impressive Pitcher's Peaks:
                            1. Pedro Martinez, 1997-2003,-------215 ERA+
                            2. Walter Johnson, 1910-1914,-------204 ERA+
                            3. Roger Clemens, 1986-1992,--------164 ERA+
                            4. Sandy Koufax, 1961-1966,---------161 ERA+
                            5. Ed Walsh, 1907-1912,-------------160 ERA+
                            6. Christy Mathewson, 1903-1909,----155 ERA+
                            7. Grover Alexander, 1911-1917,-----150 ERA+
                            8. Rube Waddell, 1902-1908,---------145 ERA+
                            ----------------------------------------------------------------
                            Greg Maddux (1992-1995; 4 years - 236 2/3 innings): 211
                            Mordecai Brown (1906-1909; 4 years - 291 1/3): 196
                            Bob Gibson (1968-1970; 3 years - 304 2/3 innings): 185
                            Randy Johnson (1999-2002; 4 years - 257 1/3): 182
                            Tom Seaver (1969-1971; 3 years - 283 1/3 innings) 167
                            Juan Marichal (1964-1966; 3 years - 290 1/3 innings): 160
                            Amos Rusie (1893-1896; 4 years - 410 1/3): 155
                            Bob Feller (1939-1941; 3 years - 320): 146
                            Warren Spahn (1951-1953; 3 years - 288 2/3): 142[/code]
                            By sheer mass and quantity, Deadball pitchers look great. But, they get far too much respect. They seem to rise to the top of every list. Those that actually pitched in the toughest eras - 1890s, 1930s and present - are brushed aside.

                            I'll take Alexander's 373 over Mathewson's anyday.

                            It's one thing to keep your opponents batting average and on-base % at .236 and .273 when your career ended by 1914 than to face face the sluggers Lefty Grove did everyday. Mathewson only gave up 89 home runs. The best of our time (Maddux) has seen 318 ball fly out.

                            Pitchers just didn't suddenly disintegrate. The complexity of the post-1920 game has dictated the use of relievers, pitch counts, five-man rotations, etc. The average team in 1914 scored only 588 runs compared to 856 in 1930 or 777 in 1998.

                            The most impressive nuance about Johnson's, Walsh's, Mathewson's, Alexander's, Waddell's and Brown's peaks were men like Cobb and their ability to break the cycle.
                            Last edited by Brian McKenna; 11-28-2006, 05:50 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My father told me--several times; it must have stuck in his mind--about going to a carnival and seeing Old Pete as a sideshow exhibit after his playing days.
                              The ball once struck off,
                              Away flies the boy
                              To the next destin'd post,
                              And then home with joy.
                              --Anonymous, 1744

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