Lefty Grove official thread


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
Lets discuss about Lefty Grove.

Some people say he's the greatest pitcher to ever play the game and some other people say that he's not even in there top 5 list. Lefty had 300 wins in his career and only 141 losses. His ERA was pretty high at 3.06 His two best years came 1930 and 1931 which he posted 28-5 and 31-4 records.

He didn't pitch as well with the Red Sox like he did with the Atheletics, but tend to forget that the Red Sox were a pretty bad team during his tenure there.

He won the MVP in 1931 he won eight ERA titles, one of the most amazing things he's done in my opinion is that he struck out the side on nine pitches twice.

So where do you guys rank him on your pitchers greatest list?

What else can you tell me about Lefty Grove?

Lefty's ERA looks high because he played in one of the highest scoring eras in baseball history. Compared to league average, his ability to prevent runs was on par with the all-time greats. I would rank him in the top 5 all time and not think about it twice.

For those who don't agree that he was a top 5 pitcher all time, please argue the 5 guys who are better. Thanks.
A few other points about Grove.

He had an arm injury shortly after being acquired by the BoSox, and lost some of the zip on his fastball, which contributed to his A's career being better than his Red Sox career.

He did not make the majors until he was 25 because his minor league team wouldn't sell him until they got top dollar. He almost certain could have been an effective MLB starter before then.

He was extremely high strung - several stories have circulated about him destroying locker rooms after a loss, throwing at teammates in batting practice - heck he once threw at Eddie Collins at an Old-Timers game, and that was when Eddie was his boss as GM of the Red Sox. Of the best pitchers in MLB history, he probably was the highest strung.

One last story - I read this in Japan, and never found it anywhere else - when Grove was touring Japan with othe MLB stars and playing top amatuer teams - Grove would do things aimed to humiliate the Japanese players. He was reported to have:

a. thrown underhand a few times,
b. thrown to third on balls he fielded, forcing the 3rd baseman to then throw to first to record the out, and
c. thrown 3 pitches well wide to open an at bat, then strike the batter out on 3 pitches down the pipe.

Needless to say, this was not appreciated by the Japanese, and he is not well regarded by baseball historians there.
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Sultan of Swat
Staff member
When people rank pitchers they look at Peak Value over Career Value, well if you do that with Grove then yes you'd consider him one of the best, if you look at his peak value then he's probably even better then Koufax 62-66 run where is was just unbeatable almost.

Bill James as said that Grove is the greatest pitcher of all time, he's the only 300 game winner to have won over twice many games that he has lost.

If the Baltimore Orioles had sold him 2-3 years earlier, and he had some 600-900 more innings under his belt...and narrowed that 2000 inning career gap between him and Johnson....it would be a no-doubter.

I still rank Walter Johnson the greatest pitcher of all time, but Grove is in my top three.