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Pete Alexander vs. Lefty Grove

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  • Pete Alexander vs. Lefty Grove

    Let's do a pitcher comparison this time around. Here we have two 300 game winners--Pete Alexander went 373-208 with a 2.56 ERA, besting Grove in complete games and shutouts. Grove, on the other hand, went 300-141 with a 3.06 ERA, besting Alexander in strikeouts and ERA+.

    But which one was better?
    Pete Alexander
    Lefty Grove

  • #2
    This one is just about as close as it can get. Both these guys have a case as being the greatest pitcher ever. I'm not saying either one is number 1, but reasonable arguments can be put forth for both. And, both had "handicaps" to overcome. Very interesting.


    • #3
      I picked Pete Alexander for this one. I believe Pete's repertoire and pitching chops in general would work great in today's game. I cannot say the same for Grove. He generally pitched in hitter-friendly parks, but still performed wonderfully. Just when he was rolling along(1915-1917), he was then thrown into a war and came back shellshocked and deaf in one ear. Prior to the war, he had arguably the best 3 year stint in history. He had 3 straight 30 win seasons and ERA of less than 2.0 in a hitters' park. He also tossed 36 shutouts! But then the war damaged him severely. Within two years of getting back, he enters the Live Ball era at the ripe old age of 33. Most would think this would have finished him off. How could this war-damaged guy possibly be able to adjust to the Live Ball era? But from 1920-28(ages 33-41), he went 156-97 with a .617 pct, 2.99 era, and an ERA+ of 130. This is incredible. Had he simply put up similar stats prior to this 9 year stint, he still would have been good enough to make the Hall of Fame. And I give kudos for Pete shutting down the mighty Yankees in 1926 at the age of 39.

      I am one of the few that has Pete as the best non-steroid pitcher ever(Clemens with steroids wins). His stats don't quite warrant this claim. But considering everything, I have Pete edging out everyone, including Grove.


      • #4
        I went with Grove, although I would under no circumstances be sorry if I had Alexander instead.
        "The first draft of anything is crap." - Ernest Hemingway

        There's no such thing as an ultimate stat.


        • #5
          Tough call, normally I would always have Grove as my 2nd best pitcher of alltime but Pete Alexander is very underrated when it comes to the top pitchers of alltime. I would say Alexander was better nowdays.

          I read on here that Grove sometimes skipped starts vs the Yankees and that puts Alexander ahead for me. Very close call though.
          "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

          "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)


          • #6
            Originally posted by chicagowhitesox1173 View Post
            I read on here that Grove sometimes skipped starts vs the Yankees and that puts Alexander ahead for me. Very close call though.
            Grove did pitch over 550 innings against the Yankees in his career. For contrast:

            Tigers: 700 IP
            Indians: 580 IP
            WSox: 560 IP

            Senators: 530 IP
            Browns: 490 IP
            Red Sox: 360 IP
            A's: 150 IP

            (Since of course, he was an A's/BoSox player)


            • #7
              I have to go with Alexander for the same reasons posted by pheasant. He battled alcoholism, depression, slight deafness, PTSD, and a livelier era different from what he was used to while managing to be top ten on anyone's list.
              "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tyrus4189Cobb View Post
                I have to go with Alexander for the same reasons posted by pheasant. He battled alcoholism, depression, slight deafness, PTSD, and a livelier era different from what he was used to while managing to be top ten on anyone's list.
                Don`t forget the epilepsy and having to pitch in Baker Bowl for some years


                • #9
                  Alexander probably had a better peak, and his 1915 season was better than any Grove season....but overall Grove gets the nod. I think what puts him over the edge is his remarkable run after age 34., with 4 ERA titles. The fact that he only had about 9 less WAR than Alexander, despite about 1200 less innings pitched, and despite not getting started until age 25, is pretty telling.


                  • #10
                    I'm going with Pete, no hesitation. The guy played for a very poor team, and in the most hitter friendly ball park of his time if not ever. And yet he still turned out to be a great success. By contrast, Grove played for a very solid offensive team, had a shorter career, and was not the workhorse that Pete was. Looking at it through that perspective, Pete Alexander actually has a case for being one of the top two or three pitchers of all-time, possibly even number one. But I cannot say the same for Grove.
                    Last edited by rsuriyop; 08-31-2012, 07:01 AM.
                    "Age is a question of mind over matter--if you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
                    -Satchel Paige


                    • #11
                      --I think you can argue for Grove as one fo the top 2-3 pitchers of all time, possibly number one. Actually I think you can make that arguement a little MORE persuasively for Grove, since he had no contemporary pitcher who could be considered as good or better than him. Alexander was a pretty close contemporary fo Walter Johnson and few would argue the case for Pete over the Big Train. Alexander's "workhorse" advantage is mostly (although admittedly not all) based on his pitching in the deadball era while Grove pitched his entire career in a very high scoring era (and in hitters parks).
                      --That said I think Alexander is one of the more underrated and forgotten of the all time greats. Many would rank Mathewson ahead of him and I don't see that as even close to being true.


                      • #12
                        Grove leading the league in lowest ERA a record 9 times while pitching his whole career in two hitter`s ballparks(Shibe and Fenway)has got to be one of the greatest feats of any pitcher.He also has the highest winning % of any of the 300(wins)club at .680.Likewise,Alexander's record 16 shutouts in one season (his home games were at the Baker Bowl)is another tremendous pitching feat,Dead Ball Era or not)!I picked Grove,but I wouldn`t pout for one second if I got "stuck" will Alexander instead.


                        • #13
                          Pete's teams weren't the greatest.

                          Here's a breakdown of Pete's teams record, Pete's record, and his team minus Pete's decisions(wins, loss, pct)

                          Dead Ball Phillies 1911-1917 582-484 .545
                          Pete Alexander 1911-1917 190-88 .683
                          The rest of Philly 1911-1917 420-396 .515

                          Live Ball Cubs 1920-1925 443-471 .484
                          Pete Alexander 1920-1925 107-68 .611
                          Rest of Cubs 1920-1925 336-403 .454

                          The Phillies without Alexander were slightly above average. The Cubs without Pete were pretty bad. Pete's pinpoint control of his sinker and sinking fastball, along with his change of pace of his breaking balls allowed him to transition so well into the Live Ball era. I'm impressed with his stint with the Cubs


                          • #14
                            Lefty pitched for some very good teams. But he outperformed even those teams. Take 1931 (admittedly, probably his best year). The Athletics played .704 ball & ran away with the pennant, 107-45. But Grove went 31-4 that season - that's .886, 182 points above team. Which leads to the question - is it easier for a pitcher to outperform a very good team than a very bad one?
                            Last edited by westsidegrounds; 09-02-2012, 01:18 PM.


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