Lefty Grove

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Lefty Grove
Lefty Grove 1939.jpeg
Grove in 1939
Pitcher
Born:(1900-03-06)March 6, 1900
Lonaconing, Maryland
Died: May 22, 1975(1975-05-22) (aged 75)
Norwalk, Ohio
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
April 14, 1925, for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1941, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 300–141
Earned run average 3.06
Strikeouts 2,266
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 1947
Vote76.4% (third ballot)

Robert Moses "Lefty" Grove (March 6, 1900 May 22, 1975) was an American professional baseball pitcher. After having success in the minor leagues during the early 1920s, Grove became a star in Major League Baseball with the American League's Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox. One of the greatest pitchers in history, Grove led the American League in wins in four separate seasons, in strikeouts seven years in a row, and had the league's lowest earned run average a record nine times. Over the course of the three years from 1929 to 1931 he twice won the pitcher's Triple Crown, leading the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA, while amassing a 79-15 record and leading the Athletics to three straight AL championships. [1] Overall, Grove won 300 games in his 17-year MLB career. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947.

Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.

Pitcher the player responsible for throwing ("pitching") the ball to the batters in a game of baseball or softball

In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.

Minor League Baseball hierarchy of professional baseball leagues affiliated with Major League Baseball

Minor League Baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball (MLB) and provide opportunities for player development and a way to prepare for the major leagues. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses. Most are members of the umbrella organization known as Minor League Baseball (MiLB), which operates under the Commissioner of Baseball within the scope of organized baseball. Several leagues, known as independent baseball leagues, do not have any official links to Major League Baseball.

Contents

Early life

Born in Lonaconing, Maryland to John Robert Grove (1865–1957) and Emma Catherine Beeman (1872–1959), Grove was a sandlot star in the Baltimore area during the 1910s. Grove didn't play organized baseball until he was 19 years old. In 1920, he made his professional debut with the Martinsburg Mountaineers of the class-D Blue Ridge League, where he appeared in six games. In 59 innings pitched, Grove gave up just 30 hits, and he had an earned run average (ERA) of 1.68. [2] His performance attracted the attention of Jack Dunn, Sr. (1872–1928), the manager/owner of the minor league Baltimore Orioles, who also discovered Babe Ruth.

Lonaconing, Maryland Town in Maryland, United States

Lonaconing is a town in Allegany County, Maryland, along the Georges Creek Valley. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,214 at the 2010 census.

Sandlot ball or sandlot baseball is a North American game of children and adolescents that generally follows the basic rules of baseball.

Baltimore Largest city in Maryland

Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland within the United States. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1729. With a population of 602,495 in 2018, Baltimore is the largest such independent city in the United States. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.802 million, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2018 population of 9,797,063.

Baltimore Orioles (minor league)

Grove joined the Baltimore Orioles in 1920, while they were playing a half-century in the minor leagues of first the old Eastern League (1903–1914) and then after 1916, in the reorganized International League of AAA ball. Grove broke into the team's pitching rotation at midseason and had a 12-2 record the rest of the way. The Orioles were in the middle of winning six straight IL titles from 1919 to 1925. Over the next four seasons, Grove posted marks of 25-10, 18-8, 27-10 and 26-6, leading the International League in strikeouts each season.

The city of Baltimore, Maryland has been home to two minor league baseball teams called the "Baltimore Orioles", besides the four major league baseball teams,.

International League Minor League Baseball league of AAA teams operating in the eastern United States

The International League (IL) is a Minor League Baseball league that operates in the eastern United States and is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball.

In baseball and softball, a pitcher's win–loss record indicates the number of wins and losses they have been credited with. For example, a 20–10 win–loss record would represent 20 wins and 10 losses.

Grove remained in the minor leagues through 1924, as owner Jack Dunn refused several offers from the majors to acquire him. At the time, the Orioles were an independent operation with no major league affiliation and the International League had declared its players not subject to a major league draft. Since the reserve clause in all contracts was honored throughout organized baseball, this meant that Grove had no way to reach the majors until the Orioles became willing to trade or sell his contract. Finally, early in 1925, Dunn agreed to sell Grove's rights to Connie Mack (1862–1956) and his Philadelphia Athletics in the American League for $100,600 (equivalent to $1.44 million in 2018), the highest amount ever paid for a player at the time.

The Rule 5 draft is a Major League Baseball player draft that occurs each year in December, at the annual Winter Meeting of general managers. The Rule 5 draft aims to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other teams would be willing to have them play in the majors. The Rule 5 draft is named for its place in Major League Rules. The June Rule 4 draft, known as simply "the draft", "amateur draft", or "first year player draft", is a distinctly different process in which teams select high school and college players.

The reserve clause, in North American professional sports, was part of a player contract which stated the rights to players were retained by the team upon the contract's expiration. Players under these contracts were not free to enter into another contract with another team. Once signed to a contract, players could, at the team's whim, be reassigned, traded, sold, or released.

Connie Mack American baseball manager and owner

Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack, was an American professional baseball catcher, manager, and team owner. The longest-serving manager in Major League Baseball history, he holds records for wins (3,731), losses (3,948), and games managed (7,755), with his victory total being almost 1,000 more than any other manager.

Philadelphia Athletics

Grove battled injuries as a major league rookie and posted a 10-13 mark (which would prove his only losing record in 17 major league seasons), despite leading the league in strikeouts. Grove then settled down in 1926 and won the first of a record nine earned run average (ERA) titles with a mark of 2.51. In 1927, Grove won 20 games for the first time, and a year later he led the league in wins with 24.

The Athletics won the AL pennant in three successive seasons from 1929 to 1931, as well as consecutive World Series championships in 1929 and 1930. During the Athletics' championship run, Grove led the way as the league's top pitcher, posting records of 20-6, 28-5 and 31-4. In 1931, Grove led the league in wins, ERA (2.06), strikeouts (175), winning percentage, complete games, and shutouts. His 2.06 ERA was 2.32 runs below the league average. [3] He was also chosen as league MVP in 1931, making him one of only a handful of pitchers to achieve this honor. His MVP award is the only one not enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, instead being housed at the George's Creek Library in Lonaconing, Maryland.

Pennant (sports)

A pennant is a commemorative flag typically used to show support for a particular athletic team. Pennants have been historically used in all types of athletic levels: high school, collegiate, professional etc. Traditionally, pennants were made of felt and fashioned in the official colors of a particular team. Often graphics, usually the mascot symbol, as well as the team name were displayed on pennants. The images displayed on pennants were either stitched on with contrasting colored felt or had screen-printing. Today, vintage pennants with rare images or honoring special victories have become prized collectibles for sporting enthusiasts. While pennants are typically associated with athletic teams, pennants have also been made to honor institutions and vacation spots, often acting as souvenirs. New pennants are made of stretched canvas over a wood frame and are used for every youth sport award and recognition. In addition the pennant is a popular branding item.

1929 World Series 1929 Major League Baseball championship series

The 1929 World Series featured the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago Cubs. The Athletics beat the Cubs decisively in five games.

The 1930 World Series featured the defending champion Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Athletics defeated the Cardinals in six games, 4–2. Philly's pitching ace Lefty Grove, and George Earnshaw, No. 2 man in Mr. Mack's rotation, won two games apiece. Earnshaw also pitched seven scoreless innings as Game 5 starter, but ended up with a no-decision as Grove relieved him in the eighth and took the win on Jimmie Foxx's two-run homer in the top of the ninth for the game's only scoring.

The Athletics contended for the next two seasons, but finished second to the New York Yankees in 1932 and third behind the Washington Senators and Yankees in 1933. In 1933, Grove became the first player in Major League Baseball history to strike out five times in a nine-inning game. [4] On December 12, 1933, team owner Connie Mack traded Grove, along with Max Bishop and Rube Walberg, to the Boston Red Sox for Bob Kline, Rabbit Warstler and $125,000.

New York Yankees Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in the Bronx, New York, United States

The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The Yankees compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. They are one of two major league clubs based in New York City, the other being the New York Mets of the National League. In the 1901 season, the club began play in the AL as the Baltimore Orioles. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the franchise and moved it to New York City, renaming the club the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders were officially renamed the Yankees in 1913.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, and the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Max Bishop Baseball player and coach

Max Frederick Bishop was a second baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1924 through 1935 for the Philadelphia Athletics (1924–1933) and Boston Red Sox (1934–1935). Bishop batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

Boston Red Sox

A 1933 Goudey baseball card of Grove. LeftyGroveGoudeycard.jpg
A 1933 Goudey baseball card of Grove.

Grove was unable to contribute substantially during his first year in Boston, an arm injury holding him to an 8-8 record. In 1935, however, Grove returned to form with a 20-12 record and a league-leading 2.70 ERA. In the 1936 season, he had a 2.81 ERA (winning his 7th ERA title) while recording a 17-12 record and 130 strikeouts. Grove won his eighth ERA title a year later while having a 17-9 record along with 153 strikeouts. He pitched 262 innings for the season; this was his 11th and final season where he pitched over 200 innings. Grove continued to post outstanding records, including 14-4 in 1938 and 15-4 in 1939, as well as lead the AL in ERA four times between 1935 and 1939. He had a 7-6 record in 1940 while recording a 3.99 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 153.1 innings. In his last season, he won and lost 7 games, winning his 300th game on July 25 (giving up 6 runs on 12 hits, but winning 10-6), before losing his last three major league games, ending his career on September 28, pitching just one inning in the 2nd game of a doubleheader.

Legacy

Grove retired in 1941 with a career record of 300-141. His .680 lifetime winning percentage is eighth all-time; [5] however, none of the seven men ahead of him won more than 236 games. His lifetime ERA of 3.06, when normalized to overall league ERA and adjusted for the parks in which Grove played during his career, is fourth all-time among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched (behind Mariano Rivera, Jim Devlin, and Pedro Martínez) at 48 percent better than average. [6]

Grove was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947. He died in Norwalk, Ohio, on May 22, 1975 and was interred in the Frostburg Memorial Cemetery in Frostburg, Maryland.

In 1969 Grove was voted starting pitcher for the 100th anniversary team. In 1999, Grove was ranked number 23 on The Sporting News list of Baseball's Greatest Players. [7] He ranked second, behind only Warren Spahn, among left-handed pitchers. That same year, Grove was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In the 2001 book The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract , Bill James ranked Grove as the 19th best baseball player of all-time and the 2nd best MLB pitcher of all-time.

See also

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The 1929 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 1st in the American League with a record of 104 wins and 46 losses. After finishing in second place to the New York Yankees in 1927 and 1928, the club won the 1929 pennant by a large 18-game margin. The club went on to win the World Series over the NL champion Chicago Cubs, four games to one.

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The 1925 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing second in the American League with a record of 88 wins and 64 losses.

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References

  1. Baseball Hall of Fame
  2. Lefty Grove Minor League Statistics & History
  3. Baseball's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records, p. 51, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN   978-1-55365-507-7
  4. Solomon, Abbot Neil, "Baseball Records Illustrated", Quintet Publishing, London, 1988
  5. Career Leaders & Records for Win-Loss % from Baseball-Reference
  6. Career Leaders & Records for Adjusted ERA+ from Baseball-Reference
  7. Baseball's 100 Greatest Players by The Sporting News
Preceded by
Walter Johnson
American League Pitching Triple Crown
1930 & 1931
Succeeded by
Lefty Gomez