Tag Archives: Grover Cleveland Alexander

Philography series of Philadelphia Phillies mini-bios to resume

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It was October 2014 and I was writing for another site when I decided to begin a series of mini biographies on important figures in Philadelphia Phillies history.

Over the next few years and across a handful of different writing outlets, that series which I named “Philography” would continue to accumulate entries, a few during each off-season.

This year the tradition continues, beginning next week with what will be the 22nd entry in the Philography series. The new entry will highlight the career of the greatest pitcher in Phillies history, Steve Carlton.

To get Phillies and overall baseball history fans ready, below are links to the previous 21 pieces. These bios will usually key on the individual’s playing career, but I try to provide more personal and professional background if widely available.

I hope that you will find the series increases your enjoyment of baseball and the Phillies in particular, and come back for the new entries. There will be one each month during December, January, February, and March.

Click on the “date” in order to read the Philography piece. Click on the individual name to view their stats page at Baseball Reference.

PHILOGRAPHY SERIES

 

10.17.2014Greg Luzinski

10.24.2014Mitch Williams

10.31.2014Chris Short

11.07.2014Von Hayes

11.14.2014Placido Polanco

11.21.2014Jim Konstanty

11.28.2014Dick Allen

12.06.2014Dick Ruthven

12.12.2014Grover Cleveland  Alexander

12.20.2014Darren Daulton

12.13.2015Larry Bowa

1.09.2016Sherry Magee

1.26.2016Kevin Stocker

2.10.2016Granny Hamner

2.15.2016 – Edith Houghton

12.27.2016Bob Boone

1.19.2017Mike Lieberthal

2.02.2017Red Dooin

11.29.2018Richie Ashburn

2.03.2019Jim Bunning

2.10.2019Mike Schmidt

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Philography series to resume with Phillies retired number legends

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Phillies legends Schmidt, Carlton, Bunning to be covered as ‘Philography’ series resumes

It was just over four years ago that I first decided to write mini-biographies about famous Philadelphia Phillies figures of the past. The effort was largely for me. I have always enjoyed history and biographies of influential and famous figures from the past, not just sports-related.

While I knew the “baseball card” information on most of the players, I knew very little about their backgrounds. Where did they come from? What was the specific path leading them to Philadelphia?
If they played for another team, what achievements did they enjoy with that club? How did their career, and in some cases their lives, come to an end? Did they enjoy a post-baseball career?
Out of this natural curiosity on my part the “Philography” series was first born. I decided that I wanted to write about the playing careers, and touch on other aspects of the lives, of some of my own Phillies favorites of the past. The series would begin with a star player from my youth, “The Bull” himself, Greg Luzinski.
Over the next two months, I produced a new piece each week, picking from the team’s past in no specific pattern: Mitch WilliamsChris ShortVon HayesPlacido PolancoJim KonstantyDick AllenDick RuthvenGrover Cleveland “Pete” AlexanderDarren Daulton,
Paintings and memorabilia adorn the walls and fill the
halls on the Hall of Fame level at Citizens Bank Park

The Philography series was officially born. I then made the decision that this would become a regular off-season project, to write a handful of Phillies mini-bios each fall and winter.

In December 2015 a piece on Larry Bowa was produced, and we were off and running once again. A month later I reached back in time to produce a piece on Sherry Magee. Before spring training began for the 2016 season there would be installments on Kevin StockerGranny Hamner, and the only female to appear thus far, Edith Houghton.
The series returned in December of 2016 with a piece on Bob Boone, and I made a decision to push the series in a specific direction for the first time. That off-season, I would go after the Phillies all-time best catchers who hadn’t previously been covered. With Daulton and Boone in the books, the series continued with Wall of Famer Mike Lieberthal and old-timer Red Dooin.

And then the series was shelved. Last off-season saw a number of changes in my life, and most of my writing took a back seat for a while. I returned to regular baseball writing this summer upon joining the staff here at Phillies Nation. And now, the series will be making its return as well.
This off-season will see the continuation of “Philography” with some of the biggest names in franchise history. Over the next few weeks there will be pieces covering each of the five players who have had an actual uniform number retired by the Philadelphia Phillies due to their play with the team: Richie AshburnJim BunningMike SchmidtSteve Carlton, and Robin Roberts.
I hope that you enjoy these pieces, which it will be my goal to release each weekend beginning after Thanksgiving. If you are interested in catching up with the past “Philography” series installments, they can each be found at the following links.

Important off-season dates for the Phillies and Major League Baseball

Rob Manfred leads MLB into a big off-season
It has finally arrived, one of the most anticipated Major League Baseball off-season periods in years. Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have been led to believe that the team will be a major player in the free agent market during this ‘Hot Stove’ season.
As of 9:00 a.m. EDT on Monday morning the contracts expired for dozens of players. They are now free to negotiate for deals covering 2019 and beyond. Their former team has exclusive negotiating rights for the first five days. After that, it’s on to the open market.
The list of available names at this point includes Bryce HarperManny MachadoJosh DonaldsonCraig KimbrelMichael BrantleyPatrick CorbinAndrew McCutchenDallas Keuchel, and World Series MVP Steve Pearce among dozens of others.
The list of big names could increase by midnight on Halloween, as star pitchers Clayton Kershaw and David Price have until that point to decide whether or not to exercise player options on their contracts. If either or both turns down the option, they would also join the free agent ranks.
A number of players who appeared with the Phillies during the last few years are also available as free agents. That list includes Freddy GalvisWilson RamosAsdrubal CabreraClay BuchholzCharlie Morton, and Jake Diekman.
Other names available on the market and very familiar to Phillies fans from their time with the team include outfielder Hunter Pence, starting pitcher J.A. Happ, and reliever Ryan Madson. The latter two own World Series rings from the Phillies 2008 championship team.
Here is an exhaustive list of the important dates to look for as we move through the MLB off-season and into the start of the 2019 season:
OCTOBER 31: Halloween. Okay, okay. Besides candy, the majority of contract options must be exercised by teams or players for the following season. Already picked up were team options on players such as Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Carrasco. Shortstop Elvis Andrus exercised his player option. The big name here is Clayton Kershaw with the Dodgers. He has until the clock strikes midnight after the trick-or-treaters are tucked in bed to make his decision.
NOVEMBER 2: This is the deadline by which MLB teams must tender a qualifying offer (click link for detailed explanation) to eligible free agents. The one-year offer this season would be for $17.9 million. For example, the Nationals could make a qualifying offer to Harper. He could accept and play with them next year on a contract worth $17.9, or decline and become a free agent. If a qualifying offer is made, players have 10 days maximum to make their decision. However, players acquired in mid-season deals cannot have such an offer made. Therefor, the Dodgers cannot make a qualifying offer to Machado. He is automatically headed to free agency.

Phillies are expected to be major players in the bidding for free agent Harper.
NOVEMBER 3: The date on which the full and open free agency period will begin. This would, for instance, be the earliest that the Phillies could formally negotiate with Harper or Machado. It is also the earliest that free agents can sign with a new team, though you won’t see that happen in most instances since the player would need to negotiate a contract first. That would likely happen after entertaining multiple offers.
NOVEMBER 4: Rawlings and Major League Baseball will announce the winners of the 2018 Gold Glove Awards.
NOVEMBER 5: Finalists will be announced by MLB for each of the major awards, including the Most Valuable Player in each league, the Cy Young Award, the Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year. Also, the MLB Executive of the Year will be announced on this date.
NOVEMBER 6-8: GM meetings held in Carlsbad, California. Big deals don’t usually happen here, but the groundwork is often laid for those consummated later, including at the later Winter Meetings.

NOVEMBER 7: Winners of the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year announced.
NOVEMBER 8Silver Slugger Award winners announced.
NOVEMBER 8-15: MLB Japan All-Star Series tour with games against stars from NPB.
NOVEMBER 11: The IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) begins announcement of their annual MLB award winners with the AL & NL Top Relief Pitcher honors. The IBWAA will announce their further award winners over the next few days on the same schedule as the BBWAA.
NOVEMBER 12: The BBWAA official NL and AL Rookie of the Year Awards announced.
NOVEMBER 12: Deadline for free agents to accept or reject any qualifying offers that may have been extended. Those who accept will play for their 2018 ball club again next season at a $17.9 million salary. Players who reject the offer will have draft pick compensation attached to any new team signing them as a free agent.
NOVEMBER 13: The NL and AL Manager of the Year Awards announced.

Principal owner John Middleton will take part in the owner’s meetings. He will have some big financial decisions to make this off-season.
NOVEMBER 14: The NL and AL Cy Young Awards announced.
NOVEMBER 14-15: MLB owner’s meetings held in Atlanta, GA. Usually just off-field matters discussed here.
NOVEMBER 15: The NL and AL Most Valuable Players announced.
NOVEMBER 19: The NL and AL Comeback Players of the Yearannounced.
NOVEMBER 20: The AL Designated Hitter of the Year Award announced. Also, my birthday, a far more important event.
NOVEMBER 20: Deadline for MLB teams to add eligible minor league players to their 40-man roster in order to protect those prospects from the Rule 5 Draft.
NOVEMBER 26-29: Meeting of the MLBPA in Dallas, TX. The player’s union key figures are already gearing up for the expiration of the current CBA, which still has three years to run.
NOVEMBER 30: The non-tender deadline. This is the deadline for teams to offer contracts to arbitration and pre-arbitration eligible players.
DECEMBER 9: The Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Today’s Game” committee (1988-present) gets their turn this year. This is the date on which they will announce whether or not they have selected anyone from that period for enshrinement. Leading contenders being considered include Mark McGwireWill ClarkDavid Cone, and Bret Saberhagen.
DECEMBER 9-132018 Winter Meetings will take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
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The Flyin’ Hawaiian was a big pickup for the Phillies in the December 2004 MLB Rule 5 Draft.
DECEMBER 13Rule 5 Draft. The Phillies have cashed in big at previous Rule 5 Drafts with players including Grover Cleveland Pete AlexanderShane VictorinoPinky WhitneyClay Dalrymple, and Odubel Herrera.
JANUARY 8-13, 2019Phillies Vacation to Paradise trip to the Bahamas. Six days at the Royal Bahamian Resort & Spa with Greg LuzinskiRhys HoskinsScott Kingery, the Phanatic, and more.
JANUARY 11: Contract salary figures must be exchanged by this date between teams and those players eligible for arbitration. Despite the exchange of arbitration figures, the teams and players are still free to continue negotiating to try and reach an agreement up until the actual arbitration hearing. Those will take place at individual dates set by the arbitrators.
MID-JANUARY 2019: Results of the voting by the BBWAA for the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2019 will be announced. Leading contenders for enshrinement include Mariano RiveraEdgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina. Among the interesting candidates who should receive wide support are Barry BondsRoger Clemens, and the late former Phillies star pitcher Roy Halladay.
FEBRUARY 1-20, 2019: Salary arbitration hearings will take place during this period.
FEBRUARY 13, 2019: Spring training camps open for most teams with pitchers and catchers due to report.
FEBRUARY 21, 2019: Play begins in the Cactus League in Arizona.
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Before you know it the Phillies and their fans will return to Clearwater, Florida for spring training 2019.
FEBRUARY 22, 2019: Play begins in the Grapefruit League in Florida. The Phillies will open play that afternoon by visiting the Tampa Bay Rays at the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.
FEBRUARY 23, 2019: Phillies first home spring training game at 1:05PM EST hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida.
MARCH 20-21, 2019MLB Opening Series in Tokyo, Japan between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners.
MARCH 23, 2019: Ninth annual Phillies Charities 5K.
MARCH 25, 2019: Phillies close spring training by hosting the Tampa Bay Rays at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida.
MARCH 28, 2019: Opening Day for the Phillies and all other teams across Major League Baseball. The Phillies will open up by hosting the defending NL East champion Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
Keep following us here at Phillies Nation all during the fall and winter months. We’ll be covering and giving our take on all of the top news regarding the ball club, especially any free agent signings. You’ll also get to enjoy a number of Phillies history pieces over the off-season, including my own “Philography” series of Phillies biographies.

Phillies Fall Classics I: 1915 World Series Game One

My 14-part series examining each of the games won by the club in the World Series over the franchise’ history begins here with Game One of the 1915 series against the Boston Red Sox.
In 1915, the Phillies played in just their 33rd season of existence since the franchise had been founded back in 1883. 
Not once in the prior 32 years had the club finished in 1st place, and they had just three 2nd place finishes. 
One of those had been just two years earlier, in 1913, when the Phils won 88 games, the 2nd-highest total in franchise history to that point.
The club was unable to put it together in 1914 due largely to defections to the rival Federal League, finishing 74-80 and in 6th place of the 8 teams then playing in the National League.
Then on Christmas Eve of that disappointing year, the Phillies traded away star outfielder Sherry Magee to the defending World Series champion Boston Braves for players to be named later, and cash.
Magee had debuted with the Phils a decade earlier in 1904 at just age 19. Over that next decade, Magee became one of the best players in baseball. 
He won a batting title in 1910, and led the NL in RBI that year for one of four times in his career, three of those wearing the Phillies ‘P’ on his cap.
The 1914 season may have been the best of his career. He hit for a .314/.380/.509 slash line during baseball’s Dead Ball Era, tying a career high with 15 homers and producing a league leading 103 RBI. 
He also led the National League in hits, doubles, and total bases. Magee finished 7th in the NL MVP voting that season.
However, Magee had also just turned 30 years of age, and for years while benefiting from his tremendous baseball skills, the Phillies had also been putting up with his hot temper, one that led to numerous ejections and suspensions, including a famed 1911 incident in which he had actually punched out an umpire.
In Magee’s SABR bioTom Simon quoted a 1908 Philadelphia Times article:
“That he is one of the most hot-headed players in either big league is admitted; it couldn’t be denied, because the records, showing how often he has been suspended for scrapping with the umpires, speak for themselves.”
Magee also had a massive ego, and thought himself the best man to take over as Phillies manager when the club ownership decided to move on from Red Dooin, who had been the skipper for five seasons. 
When owner William F. Baker decided to hire former Phillies player Pat Moran as skipper, it was a blow to that massive Magee ego.
Magee began to lobby for a trade to a winning team. So the team decided to deal away what they saw as a troublemaker, albeit a talented one, who was also aging, while they could still get some value in return. 
The Braves were the champs, had a talented roster, and in the end sent the Phillies a pair of players to complete the Magee deal.
One of those was a utility player named Oscar Dugey, who would amount to little. But also sent to the Phils was a hustling 25-year old named Possum Whitted, who would become the Phillies starting center fielder for the next three seasons.
Under Moran, the 1915 Phillies bolted out to a white-hot start, winning their first eight games, and 11 of their first 13. 
The club held first place until the end of May, but then a slump dropped them into 2nd place. 
In mid-June, a stretch during which they lost six of eight games dropped them a season-high 4 1/2 games out in the National League.
From that point on, the Fightin’ Phils would battle back, reclaiming first place on July 13th. 
They would never yield the top spot in the standings again that season. The team would win 21 of their final 27 games, and slowly pulled away in the NL race.
On Tuesday, September 28th at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn against the Robins (later the ‘Dodgers’, and now the Los Angeles Dodgers), the Phillies clinched the franchise’ first-ever National League pennant with a 6-4 victory.
Led by future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, known as Old Pete Alexander at the time, and often simply called “Alex”, the Phils’ pitching staff allowed the fewest runs in the National League. Alexander won the pitching “Triple Crown”, leading the league in Wins (31), ERA (1.22), and Strikeouts (241) that season.
Partnering with the 28-year old Alexander, the Phillies staff also featured tough, young 25-year old righthander Erskine Mayer, who won 21 games with a 2.36 ERA.
In addition to that leading 1-2 punch, the rotation included steady 30-year old righty Al Demaree, who went 14-11 and pitching 209.2 innings. 
Talented, young 24-year old lefty Eppa Rixey fashioned a tidy 2.39 ERA and won 11 games. 
5th starter George Chalmers went 8-9 with a 2.48 ERA. The club also received 8 strong starts from George McQuillan, obtained in a mid-August trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In those pre-closer days, the relief innings needed were usually filled by the starting pitchers who might be available on any given day, each of them recording at least one Save in their official records.
Only four men pitched out of the bullpen for the Phillies that season, and three of them were kids: 23-year old Joe Oeschger, 22-year old Ben Tincup, and 20-year old Stan Baumgartner, who despite his being the youngest appeared in the most games (14) and tossed a pen-high 48.1 innings.
Offensively, the 1915 Phillies were led by right fielder Gavvy Cravath, who had finished 2nd in the NL MVP voting for that Phillies 2nd place team in 1913, and who would receive MVP votes in the next three seasons as well, including in that 1915 campaign.
In 1915, the man nicknamed “Cactus” hit for a .285/.393/.510 slash line with 24 homers, 31 doubles, 115 RBI, 89 runs scored, and a .902 OPS. 
In most of those categories, Cravath led the league, though his numbers were undoubtedly inflated thanks to Baker Bowl’s generous hitting dimensions.
In center field, Whitted showed his worth in the Magee trade as he hustled his way to a team-high 24 stolen bases, and his 43 RBI were fourth on the club. 
In left field, Moran platooned the lefty-swinging Beals Becker and righty Dode Paskert, the two combining for 14 homers, 89 runs, and 74 RBI.
Around the infield, the 1915 Phillies started Bobby Byrne at 3rd base for most of the season. However, Byrne suffered a late-season injury, and was replaced for the final month and most of the World Series by backup Milt Stock. Both men were light hitters, so the loss didn’t hurt the Phillies at all.
At shortstop was a switch-hitting 24-year old rookie named Dave Bancroft, who was just beginning what would become a Hall of Fame career. In that freshman season, Bancroft hit just .254 and led the league by being thrown out stealing 27 times.
Still, his 85 runs scored and 143 hits were 2nd on the club only to Cravath. Bancroft would become known as a defensive whiz at shortstop from that point and right through his career spanning the entirety of the 1920’s. 
He played with four teams, none for longer than the parts of the first six seasons which he spent in a Phillies uniform.
The 2nd baseman was another slick fielder named Bert Niehoff. At 31, Niehoff was the senior man on the infield for the Phillies. While a light hitter, he was also a clutch hitter, and finished 3rd on the team with 49 RBI.
Perhaps the most underrated player in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise handled the duties at 1st base.
That would be Fred Luderus, the starter at that position for more games than any player in franchise history until Ryan Howard came along over this past decade.
Luderus hit for a .315/.376/.457 slash line with a team-high 36 doubles. He was 3rd on the club with seven homers, 2nd with 62 RBI, and his .833 OPS was also 2nd on the club to only Cravath. 
Luderus fashioned a career with the Phils that is clearly deserving of a place on the Wall of Fame.
The catching for that 1915 Phillies club was handled by two men, regular starter Bill Killefer, who was a 27-year old with no power, but who was an excellent handler of pitchers and defensive backstop. 
His backup was Ed Burns, who was the same age and pretty much a carbon copy as far as playing ability goes.
That was the team that won the 1915 National League pennant by seven games over Magee and the Braves, and which advanced to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Facing them would be another team from Boston, the American League’s Red Sox. The Red Sox were a team with no power whatsoever. The entire team hit just 14 home runs all season, four of those hit by a 20-year old pitcher by the name of Babe Ruth.
What those 1915 Red Sox could do was run, and pitch. Their offense was led by a trio of 27-year old outfielders including future Hall of Fame center fielder Tris Speaker, who hit .322 with 29 steals and 108 runs, and was one of three Boston players with at least a dozen triples.
Left fielder Duffy Lewis hit .291 with a team-high 31 doubles and 76 RBI. The right fielder was another future Hall of Famer, Harry Hooper, who had perhaps his worst statistical season that year. Still, Hooper was 2nd on the club with 22 steals, and hustled his way to 90 runs scored and a team-high 13 triples.
On the mound, the 1915 Boston Red Sox came at opposing teams with one of the greatest starting pitching rotations, at least over one season, in the history of baseball. 
It was this starting rotation made up of three righthanders and a pair of southpaws that would ultimately prove too much for the Phillies to overcome.
At the front of that dominating quintet of arms was 27-year old Rube Foster, who had gone 19-8 with a 2.11 ERA over 33 starts. Ernie Shore went 19-8 with a 1.64 ERA over 32 starts. 
Then came the lefties, with the rookie Ruth making 28 starts and going 18-8 with a 2.44 ERA. His lefty partner was Dutch Leonard, who went 15-7 with a 2.36 ERA over 21 starts. 
Finally, Smoky Joe Wood received 16 starts but appeared in 25 games, going 15-5 with a 1.49 ERA.
Pitching in five games for the Red Sox that year in what was already his 4th season in the big leagues was a 21-year old who had been a member of the Philadelphia Athletics staff when they lost the World Series the previous year. 
That young pitcher would go on to fashion a Hall of Fame career over 22 seasons, 11 of them with the New York Yankees. But Herb Pennock would not see action in the 1915 World Series.
The Red Sox had gone 101-50, winning the American League pennant by just 2 1/2 games over the Detroit Tigers. 
They didn’t clinch until Leonard shut out the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader by 2-0 at the Polo Grounds on October 6th, giving the Bosox a three game lead with just two remaining.
So these were the two clubs that moved into the World Series to face off against one another. 
For a 2nd straight season, it would be Boston against Philadelphia for the world championship of baseball. But this time, instead of the Braves against the Athletics, it was the Red Sox against the Phillies.
While the Phils were in what would become later known as the Fall Classic for the first time, it was the Red Sox’ 3rd visit to the postseason. 
Boston’s AL entry had won both the first-ever 1903 World Series by 5-3 over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and then the 1912 World Series by 4-3 over the New York Giants.
The locations for the games were determined when Phils’ owner Baker won a coin toss over Red Sox owner Joseph Lannin. 
Baker chose to have the first two games in Philadelphia, while Lannin chose to have his team’s games played not at Fenway Park, but instead at the National League Braves Field, which was brand new and held more spectators.
This was the setting for Game One of the World Series at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia on October 8th, 1915. 
With a packed crowd of 19, 343 fans in attendance at Broad and Huntingdon Streets, Moran sent out his ace Alexander to start the opener. Red Sox skipper Bill Carrigan countered with Shore.
Alexander hadn’t started a game in 10 days, and the rust showed a bit. He allowed eight hits to the usually weak Red Sox lineup. 
Hugh S. Fullerton, a writer with the New York Times, later reported that “Alexander pitched a bad game of ball. He had little or nothing. He was tagged hard, and the only times at which he showed his prowess were on the two occasions on which the Red Sox threatened him. Then he fell back upon his curve and stopped them, and finished breezing along easily and seemingly without tiring himself at all.”
The game was scoreless through three innings, thanks in part to Alexander picking off Boston 1st baseman Dick Hoblitzell at 1st with Boston runners at the corners and two outs in the 1st inning.
Meanwhile, as Fullerton reported it, the Phillies “did not hit Shore at all“, their “few and scattered hits were of the accidental variety.” 
In fact, through those first three innings, the Phils managed just two walks and an infield single by Alexander himself. In the bottom of the 4th, the Phillies broke through with the first run of the game. 
Paskert led off with a looping single to right, “a dropping handle hit that fell safe back of first base” as described in Fullerton’s account. Cravath then sacrificed Paskert to 2nd, and the Phillies’ left fielder moved to 3rd base on a ground out.
It was then that the game’s first key hit came, with Whitted proving his worth by hustling out a grounder to 2nd for a base hit, allowing Paskert to score with the run that put the Phillies ahead by 1-0.
Alexander continued to move workmanlike through the Boston lineup into the top of the 8th, allowing a hit each inning, but keeping the Red Sox off the board and maintaining the slim lead.
In that top of the 8th, however, his luck ran out, and Boston broke through for the tie. With one out, Speaker drew a walk to begin the rally.
Alexander then recorded the 2nd out, and though Speaker moved up to 2nd base on the play, ‘Old Pete’ seemed ready to again maneuver his way out of an inning. 
However, Lewis ripped a game-tying RBI single to left, scoring Speaker to make it a 1-1 ball game.
The Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the 8th having registered just three hits off Shore. But with one out, Shore made the mistake of walking the light-hitting Stock. 
When Bancroft followed with an infield single, the Phillies were threatening. Clearly struggling, Shore then walked Paskert to load the bases.
Cravath then did what the best hitters on a team do, he got the key run home. It was only with a ground out to shortstop, but it was enough to bring home Stock with the go-ahead run. 
Now up 2-1, Luderus came to the plate with runners at 2nd and 3rd. He grounded back towards Shore, and the ball apparently changed directions off the edge of the dirt cutout which existed at the time between the pitcher’s mound and home plate.
As Fullerton recounted the play, the ball “rolled straight toward him, struck the side of the scalped spot, and rolled past his feet for a base hit that yielded the third (run).”
With the Phillies now leading by 3-1, Alexander took the mound for the top of the 9th and struck out the leadoff hitter. 
Pinch-hitter Olaf Henriksen then reached on an error, and the Red Sox brought the tying run to the plate.
At that point, Carrigan decided to give his biggest threat a shot as a pinch-hitter. and sent to the plate the young George Herman Ruth. 
It would prove to be the Babe’s only appearance on this, his first-ever World Series, and it would not prove memorable. 
The future ‘Sultan of Swat’ grounded out meekly to 1st base. Alexander then retired Hooper on an easy pop out to 1st to end it.
The Phillies had won the first-ever World Series game in franchise history, holding a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series against the Red Sox. 
Their ace Alexander got the win, and the fans at Baker Bowl filed out happily awaiting the next day’s Game Two.
Unfortunately for the Phils and their fans, that would be the last Phillies win of the series. 
The next day, the Red Sox would score a run in the top of the 9th to steal a 2-1 victory in Game Two and tie the series. 
Back in Boston, they scored in the bottom of the 9th to win Game Three by an identical 2-1 score and to take a 2-1 series lead.
In Game Four in Boston, the Red Sox held off a late Phillies rally to again win by the very same score of 2-1, opening up a 3-1 series lead. 
The series returned to Baker Bowl for Game 5, and the Phils finally solved the Boston pitching, taking a 4-2 lead into the 8th. 
But the Red Sox rallied, scoring twice in that 8th to tie, and a run in the 9th that would clinch the World Series victory.
The Phillies won Game 1 of the World Series, 2-1 behind the legendary Grover Cleveland Alexander.
It thus becomes our Phillies Fall Classic I in this 14-part series. But it would take another 65 years before the franchise would win another World Series game, and thus provide us with Phillies Fall Classic II. 

Philography: Grover Cleveland Alexander

Embed from Getty Images

Grover Cleveland ‘Pete’ Alexander led the Phillies to the franchise first National League pennant in 1915

 

As told by Jan Finkel in a biography of Grover Cleveland Alexander at the SABR website, he was “the only ballplayer named for a sitting United States president and portrayed on film by a future one.

In the 1952 biopic film “The Winning Team“, Ronald Reagan portrayed Alexander, with Doris Day playing Alexander’s wife, Aimee. It told his story from his amateur into pro days, and his battles through alcoholism and epilepsy.
U.S. President Grover Cleveland is the only Chief Executive to have served for two non-consecutive terms (1885-89, 1893-97), and thus he is considered both the nation’s 22nd and 24th President.
The ballplayer was born into a large family in a Nebraska farming community. He began to show prowess as a baseball pitcher in his youth, and took a job with a company stringing telephone lines, pitching on weekends for local club teams.
In 1909 at age 22, Alexander hooked on with his first pro team, signing with the Galesburg Boosters of what was then known as the Class ‘D’ Illinois-Missouri League.
He went 15-8, but his season was ended, and nearly his career, when he was struck in the head by a thrown ball while running the bases. He recovered, and in 1910 had a dominant 29-11 record for the Class ‘B’ Syracuse Stars.
His performances in Syracuse caught the eye of major league scouts, and Philadelphia Phillies owner/president Israel Durham approved the purchase of his contract.

At age 24, Alexander made his Phillies debut in the 1911 season, and his dominance continued there against the best competition in the land. He went 28-13 with 7 Shutouts and 31 Complete Games as a rookie.

He had a 2.57 ERA in 48 games, 37 of them starts, while pitching 367 innings that year as well. It was just the beginning for what would become one of the greatest pitching careers in baseball history.
From 1911-17, Alexander pitched 7 seasons for the Phillies that amount to a full career for many of today’s modern starting pitchers in the 21st century.
In those 7 years, Alexander pitched 329 games, making 277 starts. In 2,492 innings he allowed just 2,101 hits and struck out 1,403 batters. His ERA was a minuscule 2.12 ERA, and he registered a 190-88 win-loss record.
In 1915, Alexander helped lead the Phillies to a 7-game margin of victory over the Boston Braves for the franchise’ first National League Pennant, advancing them into the World Series against Boston’s American League team, the Red Sox.
That year, Alexander went 31-10 with a 1.22 ERA and a career-best 241 strikeouts. It began a 3-year period in his prime in which he would win at least 30 games each season.
The 1915 World Series opened in Philly at Baker Bowl, and “Alexander the Great” got the Phils off to a good start, with his complete game 3-1 victory putting the team out in front of the Red Sox.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, it would be their last win in the Series. In fact, it was the last postseason win by a Phillies team for 62 years, and the franchise’ last World Series win for 75 years.
The Red Sox rallied to win the final four games of that 1915 World Series by all one-run margins: 2-1, 2-1, 2-1 and 5-4, the final win coming in Philadelphia back again at Baker Bowl.
The man nicknamed ‘Old Pete’ (for still unknown reasons) would return to the World Series two more times in his career. Alexander would win his lone championship in 1926. But he would have to leave Philadelphia in order to do so.
Following the 1917 season, Alexander was traded by the Phillies to the Chicago Cubs along with starting catcher Bill Killefer in one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history.
The Phils got pitcher ‘Iron Mike’ Prendergast and a reserve catcher, William ‘Pickles’ Dillhoefer, in return. Each would last for just one season in Philly.
Meanwhile, Alexander found his Cubs career delayed when he was drafted into the Army after just 3 April starts in order to serve at the end of World War I.
During this first portion of his career, Alexander was sometimes accused of drunkenness on the mound. But an opponent as great as Ty Cobb knew the true story. “He wasn’t drunk out there on the mound, the way people thought. He was an epileptic. Old Pete would fall down with a seizure between innings, then go back and pitch another shutout.
Returning for his first full season in Chicago at age 32 in 1919, Alexander set about resuming the building of his Hall of Fame career. From 1918 into 1926, a period covering most of his 30’s, ‘Old Pete’ went 128-83 in a Cubs uniform.
Unfortunately, a 3rd place finish in that first full 1919 season was the best that the team could muster during his tenure. At mid-season in 1926, the Cubs released the then 39-year old Alexander.
He was signed by the Saint Louis Cardinals, who were battling for the NL Pennant and hoped that the wily veteran could help push them over the top. That he did, making 16 starts and going 9-7 with a 2.91 ERA in the 2nd half.
The Cardinals won the National League Pennant by 2 games over Cincinnati, and advance to the World Series where they matched up against an emerging power, the New York Yankees.
At that point in their history, the Yanks had just won the AL Pennant for the 4th time in 5 years thanks largely to the slugging exploits of the incomparable Babe Ruth. But they had only won a single World Series, in 1923. This would not be their 2nd.
In the 1926 World Series, Alexander was dominant. He started and won both Games 2 & 6, registering complete game victories in each. Then in the decisive Game 7, he came on in relief, trying to preserve a 3-2 Cardinals lead.
Alexander set the Yankees down in the 7th, and then again in the 8th. In the 9th inning, he registered the first two outs, and then up stepped Ruth. The two future Hall of Famers battled to a full count, and then finally Ruth earned a walk.
With the Babe on first as the tying run, up stepped Bob Meusel, who had some success against Alexander in Game 6. Meusel would never really get a chance this time.

Alexander fired a fastball past Meusel, and as he delivered, Ruth took off for 2nd base, hoping to get into scoring position with a surprise steal. Cards catcher Bob O’Farrell threw him out by 10 feet, ending the game and giving Saint Louis the World Series championship.

 

Now entering his 40’s, Alexander continued to find success with the Cardinals in both the 1927 and 1928 seasons. They returned for a 1928 World Series rematch with the Yanks, but this time New York got the better, sweeping Saint Louis.
In 1929, Alexander was clearly slowing down. He was able to give the Cards one final 19-start campaign, going 9-8, including what would prove to be the final victory of his career.
That final victory for ‘Old Pete’ would come against, of all teams, the Philadelphia Phillies. In the 2nd game of a doubleheader on August 10th at Baker Bowl, Alexander earned the 373rd and final win of his career.
That would not, however, mark his last appearance on a big league mound. On December 11th, 1929, the Cards dealt him back to the Phillies, in order that he might finish out his career where it all began.
In that final 1930 season, at age 43, Alexander would appear in 9 games for the Phils during April and May. He made 3 starts, recording his final effective starting effort in his first outing on April 20th. That day, Pete went 6 innings allowing just 2 earned runs in what turned out to be a 2-1 loss to the New York Giants.

By May 28th at Boston, it was clear that he was done. In his final MLB appearance that day he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits over 2 innings. The Phillies released him. He tried to stay in the game over the next few years, but his skills would not allow a return to big league baseball.

 

His post-baseball life was miserable, to be kind. He battled alcohol, depression, epilepsy, a heart attack, and ultimately cancer. His lone bright moments came at his Hall of Fame induction in 1938, and as a guest of honor for Games 3 & 4 of the Yankees-Phillies 1950 World Series.
Just one month after that Series was concluded with a Yankees sweep of his old Phillies team, Grover Cleveland ‘Old Pete’ Alexander passed away in a hotel room in Nebraska at age 63.
Alexander is tied with fellow Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson at the top of the National League all-time Wins ranking with his 373. His 90 shutouts are a league record. In a 1999 ranking by The Sporting News of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players he was ranked at #12.