Alexander also pitched for the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Though his Hall of Fame picture and plaque do not identify a team, I have assigned him to the Phillies, where he had most of his success.
Picture it - Game 7 of the 1926 World Series, the Cardinals trying to protect a 3-2 lead in Yankee Stadium in the bottom of the seventh inning. At the plate was Yankee second baseman Tony Lazzeri, a 22-year-old who had just completed an an outstanding rookie season: .275 batting average, 18 home runs and 114 RBIs.
Rogers Hornsby, the Cardinals' manager/second baseman, ambled to the mound and signaled to the bullpen for Grover Cleveland Alexander - could it have been a mistake? After all, the 39-year-old Alexander had just pitched a complete-game victory the day before. And, the story goes, Alexander had celebrated well into the night, wholly confident (and why not?) that his aging right arm wouldn't get another workout until the spring of 1927. Alexander was in the twilight of his career and had been obtained by the Cardinals on waivers from the Chicago Cubs in June.
But it was no mistake - Hornsby wanted Alexander to take over for Jesse Haines, who had shut out the Yankees in Game 3. And Alexander struck Lazzeri out swinging on four pitches.
Over two decades, Alexander won 5 ERA titles, led the league in innings pitched 7 times, and in wins, complete games and strikeouts 6 times each. He set a National League record with 90 shutouts, a total topped only by Walter Johnson. His 373 wins tied Christy Mathewson as the leading National League winner, though a recount of Mathewson's wins indicates that he has one more than Alexander.
After his retirement, he pitched for the "House of David" baseball team, whose players did not cut their hair or shave for religious reasons (Alexander, however, remainedclean-shaven).
Alexander's four one-hitters in 1915 and his 16 shutouts in '16 are still major league highs.
"Less than a foot made the difference between a hero and a bum."
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