It’ll never happen again! Pete Alexander Pitches Both Games of a Doubleheader!

It’ll never happen again! Pete Alexander Pitches Both Games of a Doubleheader!

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It’ll never happen again!

“Grover Cleveland Alexander wasn’t drunk out there on the mound. He was an epileptic. Old Pete would fall down with a seizure between innings, then go back and pitch another shutout.” -Ty Cobb, speaking of Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander

“The Cubs finished last last year and if they finish last again, I’d rather it be without Alexander.” –Cubs’ manager Joe McCarthy in 1926, speaking of Pete Alexander.

Like the Joe DiMaggio hitting streak, I think we can safely place this one in the same file: “It’ll Never Happen Again in Baseball.” Pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies on September 3, 1917, exactly 99 years ago today, Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander went the distance in both games of the Phillies’ doubleheader sweep of Brooklyn at Ebbets Field!

Yes…you read that right. Old Pete started and finished both games of a double header that day. In his 18 innings of work, the Philadelphia right-hander held the Dodgers to seven hits en route to posting 5-0 and 9-3 victories in the twin bill. I guess we can safely say Phillies’ manager Pat Moran had a lot of confidence in the Ol’ Pete that day…and that Pete felt pretty strong!

In the featured photo above, we see a beautiful colorization by our resident baseball artist, Don Stokes, of “Pete” Alexander, Cubs’ owner William Wrigley, and Cub manager Bill Killefer in 1922.

Over his 20-year career (1911-1930), Alec went 373-208 (.642) with a career 2.56 ERA and 2198 strikeouts.  His 373 wins are third all-time behind Cy Young (511) and Walter Johnson (417), and tied for first all-time in the National League with Christy Mathewson.

Although he is usually remembered as the ace of the Phillies staff (1911-17, 1930), including their pennant-winning year of 1915, he also pitched for the Cubs (1918-1926), and Cardinals (1926-29). He was the star of the 1926 World Series when Cardinals’ manager Rogers Hornsby called him out of the bullpen in the seventh inning of the seventh game (possibly nursing a hang-over). He proceeded to strike out the dangerous slugger Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded and preserved the game and Series win for the Cardinals.

Other career milestones for Old Pete include being a three-time pitching Triple Crown winner, six-time National League wins leader, four-time National League ERA leader, and six-time National League shutout leader. His best year was probably 1916 when he posted a 38-16 record, with a 1.55 ERA and 16 shutouts in 389 innings. He topped 300 innings seven times in his career. His 90 career shutouts are a National League record and second all-time. He’s also tenth all-time in innings pitched (5190), and eighth in hits allowed (4868).

In 1999 he ranked 12th on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Pete was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1938, the third year of the Hall, the only player elected that year. His jersey has been retired by the Phillies.

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: Pete Alexander colorization by Don Stokes: https://www.facebook.com/Don-Stokes-Old-Time-Baseball-Colorizations-923346241033508/photos; All others found on Google search

Information Excerpts edited from the Grover Cleveland Alexander Wikipedia page. Read more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Cleveland_Alexander

Statistics from the Grover Cleveland Alexander page on Baseball-Refrence.com

 

 

I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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