Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Salute to the 15 Greatest U.S. Armed Forces Veteran MLB Players

Memorial Day Weekend Series- Part 10 of 16

No. 7 Grover Cleveland Alexander

Grover Cleveland Alexander's baseball career was interrupted by one year of combat duty in World War I in 1918 on his way to becoming the third winningest pitcher in Major League history. Over 20 seasons, Alexander accumulated a 373-208 won-loss record with a sparkling 2.56 ERA.

"Old Pete" began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, but was sold to the Chicago Cubs after seven dazzling seasons when the team feared that he would be drafted. The Phillies speculation turned out to be reality, but the Cubs got several fine seasons from the right-handed hurler once he returned from active duty.

Alexander's one-year of combat in France did take its toll on him, though. He suffered shell shock, partial hearing loss, ongoing seizures, and resorted to alcohol for relief. Although he was very good after returning, the pitcher was not the same player who dominated the National League prior to his departure.

Immediately prior to be drafting, Alexander recorded three consecutive 30-win seasons. He accumulated a staggering 190-88 in those first seven Phillies seasons— more than half his ultimate win total.

His 1915-1917 body of work are undoubtedly three of the best campaigns ever complied by a big league pitcher. A 31-10, 1.22 ERA season was followed by a 33-12, 1.55 ERA and 30-13, 1.83 ERA. It doesn't get much better than that.


696 373 208 .642 2.56 2198 90

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