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They Played
the Game
GROVER CLEVELAND (PETE) ALEXANDER

Nickname: "Old Pete"
Born: February 26, 1887 (Elba, NE)
ML Debut: April 15, 1911
Final Game: May 28, 1930
Bats: Right     Throws: Right
6'1"     185
Hall of Fame: 1938 (Baseball Writers; 212 votes on 262 ballots; 80.92%)


Played for: Philadelphia Phillies (1911-1917, 1930); Chicago Cubs (1918-1926); St. Louis Cardinals (1926-1929)
Postseason: 1915 WS, 1926 WS, 1928 WS


Alexander played semi-professional ball as a youth, signing his first pro contract in 1907 at age 22 for $50 month. During his first season he was hit in the head with a ball, an injury probably responsible for the epilepsy he suffered in subsequent years. In 1910 he was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies for $750. In his first year in the majors he led the league with 28 wins (against 13 losses) -- a modern-day rookie record. He also pitched seven shutouts and 31 complete games. Between 1912 and 1920 Alexander led the league in ERA four times (1915, 1916, 1919, 1920), wins five times (1914, 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1920), innings pitched six times, strikeouts six times, complete games five times and shutouts five times (setting a single season record of 16 in 1916). A master of the curveball, he was unquestionably the dominant pitcher in the National League from 1915 through 1917, winning the pitching triple crown in those three years. (He won 30 or more games in three consecutive seasons.)
Anticipating that Alexander would be drafted when America entered World War I, the Phillies sold him to the Chicago Cubs. Alexander served in France in 1918 as an artillery officer; he returned from the war suffering from shell shock, and his epileptic seizures had worsened. He had also become dependent on alcohol. Nonetheless, he earned another pitching triple crown in 1920. In 1925 he entered a sanitorium, and the following year was suspended by the Cubs before being waived to St. Louis. The Cardinals won the National League that year and met the New York Yankees in the World Series, during which Alexander pitched complete game victories in Games 2 and 6. In Game 7 he came in with the Cardinals up 3-2 in the 7th inning. The bases were loaded and there were two outs. Striking out Yankees slugger Tony Lazzeri with four pitches, Alexander held New York scoreless for the final two innings, and St. Louis won the championship.
Old Pete had another 20-win season in 1927, but then the drinking got the better of him. He pitched for the House of David from 1931-1935, and in 1938 was elected to the Hall of Fame.
-- Jason Manning
"He made me want to throw my bat away. He fed me pitches I couldn't hit."
-- Johnny Evers

Holds the third highest total in wins (373) in ML history.
Holds league records for most complete games (437) and shutouts (90).
Tenth all time in innings pitched (5,189), and eighth in hits allowed (4,868).

Major League Pitching Record
[Bold entries indicate 1st in league in that category for that year. An asterick (*) indicates player was tied for 1st in that category.]
Year
Team
G
GS
CG
SV
SO
IP
H
R
ER
BB
K
W
L
W Pct.
ERA
1911
PHI
48
37
31
3
7
367.0
285
133
105
129
227
28
13
.683
2.57
1912
PHI
46
34
25
3
3
310.1*
289
133
97
105
195
19
17
.528
2.81
1913
PHI
47
36
23
2
9
306.1
288
106
95
75
159
22
8
.733
2.79
1914
PHI
46
39
32
1
6
355.0
327
133
94
76
214
27
15
.643
2.38
1915
PHI
49
42
36
3
12
376.1
253
86
51
64
241
31
10
.756
1.22
1916
PHI
48
45
38
3
16
389.0
323
90
67
50
167
33
12
.733
1.55
1917
PHI
45
44
34
0
8
388.0
336
107
79
56
200
30
13
.698
1.83
1918
CHC
3
3
3
0
0
26.0
19
7
5
3
15
2
1
.667
1.73
1919
CHC
30
27
20
1
9
235.0
180
51
45
38
121
16
11
.593
1.72
1920
CHC
46
40
33
5
7
363.1
335
96
77
69
173
27
14
.659
1.91
1921
CHC
31
30
21
1
3*
252.0
286
110
95
33
77
15
13
.536
3.39
1922
CHC
33
31
20
1
1
245.2
283
111
99
34
48
16
13
.552
3.63
1923
CHC
39
36
26
2
3
305.0
308
128
108
30
72
22
12
.647
3.19
1924
CHC
21
20
12
0
0
169.1
183
82
57
25
33
12
5
.706
3.03
1925
CHC
32
30
20
0
1
236.0
270
106
89
29
63
15
11
.577
3.39
1926
CHC
7
7
4
0
0
52.0
55
26
20
7
12
3
3
.500
2.91
1926
STL
23
16
11
2
2
148.1
136
57
48
24
35
9
7
.563
2.52
1927
STL
37
30
22
3
2
268.0
261
94
75
38
48
21
10
.677
3.36
1928
STL
34
31
18
2
1
243.2
262
107
91
37
59
16
9
.640
3.89
1929
STL
22
19
8
0
0
132.0
149
65
57
23
33
9
8
.529
9.14
1930
PHI
9
3
0
0
0
21.2
40
24
22
6
6
0
3
.000
2.56
TOTALS
696
600
437
32
90
5190.0
4868
1852
1476
951
2198
373
208
.642
2.56
World Series
1915
PHI
2
2
2
0
0
17.2
14
3
3
4
10
1
1
.500
1.53
1926
STL
3
2
2
1
0
20.1
12
3
3
4
17
2
0
1.000
1.33
1928
STL
2
1
0
0
0
5.0
10
11
11
4
2
0
1
.000
19.80
TOTALS
7
5
4
1
0
43.0
36
17
17
12
31
3
2
.600
3.56