Sunday, December 10, 2023


On the blog today, we add the great Lefty Grove to my on-going 1971 "Minor League Days: Legends Edition", celebrating his time with the Baltimore Orioles before dominating the Major Leagues:

Take into account those "lost" years pitching for the Baltimore Orioles Minor League franchise in the early 1920's, when the team owner refused to sell him to a Major League franchise.
Those were some of the all-time best Minor League clubs, and all Grove did in his five years there was go 111-39!
That's a .740 winning percentage. Imagine some of those wins tacked on to his Major League totals. Just awesome.
In his five years in the Minors, his win totals were: 15, 25, 18, 27 and 26!
So he started out in the Big Leagues at the age of 25 because his Minor League team refused to sell him earlier in his career, and all Grove did was go on to win 300 games against only 141 losses, good for the best winning percentage among all 300-game winners at .680.
He won nine E.R.A. titles, four games won titles, and seven strikeout titles in his 17 year career.
In 1931 he won the first BBWA American league M.V.P. award when he went 31-4 with a 2.06 E.R.A. and 175 strikeouts, all league leading numbers. That would also be his second straight pitching triple-crown, as he lead the league in the same categories in 1930 as well.
His .886 winning percentage that year is second all-time among 20+ game winning seasons, behind Ron Guidry's .893 winning percentage when he went 25-3 in 1978.
How about this for a cool performance: in 1930, as Grove went 28-5 with a 2.54 E.R.A. and 209 strikeouts for his first pitching triple-crown, he also lead the league in saves with nine.
By the time Grove retired after the 1941 season playing for the Red Sox, he was a sure fire Hall of Famer, and was inducted his first year of eligibility in 1947, getting named on 123 of 161 ballots cast.


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