Robert "Lefty" Grove
Robert "Lefty" Grove, Left-handed
Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles 1920-1924;
Philadelphia A's 1925-1933; Boston Red Sox 1934-1941.
Grove has the highest win-loss percentage in baseball history.
He was 12-2 as a 20 year old while pitching in the Big Leagues
for the Baltimore Orioles of the International League. In
the 1920's, major stars were drawn to the International League
because of the higher salaries being paid there; the Orioles
at this period in history were paying the highest of any team
and were able to win seven straight pennants. Lefty Grove
won 121 games and only lost 38 in his five years with the
In 1925, Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics paid the
Orioles $100,600 for Lefty Grove; the highest price ever paid
for a player up to this time in history. Tall and lanky, 6'3",
Lefty Grove's fastball exploded in on the hitters as it roared
past home plate. Known for his hot temper, Lefty Grove would
intimate the hitters with his inside pitches. "I
never threw at a hitter" Grove often stated,
"I was just naturally wild."
After losing some ball games "Lefty" would often
punch the clubhouse lockers with his right hand and complain
that his team mates were lousy fielders. He was so unpopular
with his high and tight fastball that many batters complained,
"Lefty" Grove was throwing at their heads."
Opposing teams' baseball fans would flock to the ballpark
and "boo" and curse "Lefty" Grove; hoping
their teams would beat him. Hence even today, this
one-of-a-kind pitcher, with all of his great records remains
very unpopular and few historians care to tell about his great
He won 20 games or more in eleven different seasons; and
in 1928; Grove was 24-8, in 1929 he went 20-6. In 1930,
Lefty Grove won 28 games and lost only 5, he also came on
in relief and saved 9 games for the Philadelphia A's.
He only allowed 60 walks and struckout 209 batters in 291
innings. His great pinpoint control vaulted the Philadelphia
Athletics into three straight world series from 1929-1931.
Grove's pitching highlighted two world championships; 1929
& 1930. Not until baseball legends' Babe Ruth and
Lou Gehrig came on to led the powerful New York Yankees in
the 1932 season could any team stop the Philadelphia A's and
This "Hall of Famer" in 1931, was 31-4, pct. of
886; the fourth highest W & L percentage in history. His
ERA was 2.06, Grove started 30 games, had 4 shutouts and had
an OBP of .229, and he won the Most Valuable Player Award.
"Lefty" Grove led the league in wins in four different
years and he holds the American League record of having the
best pct.- W & L in five different years. He also holds
the record of leading the league in ERA in nine different
years. In his first seven seasons he led the American
League in strikeouts.
In the depression year of 1933, Connie
Mack sold Grove to the Boston Red Sox where he won over 20
games in two different years. Some baseball stats
researchers rank "Lefty" Grove as the greatest pitcher
of all-time. Lefty Grove's career stats are International
League 121-38. Major Professional League: 300 wins -
141 loses; pct. .680; Career ERA of 3.06 and opponents
batting average .255. Grove's totals are 421-179 which gives
him the highest winning pct in baseball history; .702.