Robert Moses "Lefty" Grove (1900
) was was one of the two or three greatest left-handed pitcher
s of all time and was the centerpiece of the Philadelphia Athletics dynasty
that went to three straight World Series
and won two.
Grove did not reach the Major Leagues until he was 25, but only because he was so good that the then minor league Baltimore Orioles refused to part with him. Groves pitching prowess was built around his blazing fastball that had a sharp tailing action. When he finally did get sold to the A's in 1925 for an incredible $100,600 (more than the Yankees paid for Ruth), Grove led the American League in strikeouts every season for the next seven years.
Grove was unquestionably the greatest pitcher of his era. His astonishing nine ERA titles are easily the most ever. He also led the league four times in wins and five times in winning percentage, winning 20 or more games in eight different seasons. In 1931 he went 31-4 with a career best 2.06 ERA, winning the pitching triple crown and capturing the AL MVP award. Unlike other 30-game winners who started an inordinate number of games, Grove pitched in a mere 41 games that year, starting 30 and relieving in 11.
Grove retired in 1941 with 300 wins and only 141 losses. His .680 career winning percentage ranks 3rd all time among pitchers with at least 1500 innings pitched, behind only Pedro Martinez and Whitey Ford. Grove was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947.
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