Thursday, March 18, 2010

#220 Lefty Grove

This is one of my favorite cards in the set (have I been saying that about every card?). I like the vivid and colorful depiction of the ballfield and it certainly doesn't hurt that it features one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. I picked up this card from Heritage Auctions a couple of months ago. It's a solid SGC 50, with no creases or wrinkles. With a little better centering, it might have had a shot at grading as a 60.

Robert "Lefty" Grove's career really speaks for itself, so I'll just highlight some of his impressive achievements. Grove pitched for 17 seasons from 1925-1941 for the Philadelphia Athletics (1925-1933) and Boston Red Sox (1933-1941). For his career, Grove was 300-141, with a 3.06 ERA and 2,266 Ks (which is a lot for the era in which he pitched - he led the AL in strikeouts for seven consecutive seasons from 1925-1931). His career 148 ERA+ is fourth-best all-time, behind Mariano Rivera (202!), Pedro Martinez (154) and Jim Devlin (151).

His best season was 1931 when he was named MVP after going 31-4 with a 2.06 ERA (219 ERA+) and 27 complete games. That season, Connie Mack's squad went 107-45, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series in seven games. A win in that series would have made three in a row, as the A's won in 1929 and 1930. In eight career World Series appearances, Grove went 4-2 with a 1.75 ERA and 4 complete games in 5 starts.

Following the 1933 season, the A's traded Grove, along with Max Bishop and Rube Walberg to the Red Sox for Bob Kline, Rabbit Warstler, and $125,000. Unless the A's were on the brink of bankruptcy and needed the cash, it was a mistake. Kline and Warstler washed out and Grove led the league in ERA in 1935, 1936, 1938, and 1939. Over eight seasons in Boston, Grove went 105-62 with a 3.34 ERA (143 ERA+)

Grove was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947.


  1. Hey Keith. Followed you over here from Net54. Look forward to more posts in the future.

    Jason (Beatles Guy)

  2. I just discovered your awesome blog... I LOVE the 33 Goudey set. I have a couple cards, but it is out of my budget. I still scour the auction sites searching for a bargain on a creased up piece of history... Gotta love the Lefty Grove though! Very jealous! I look forward to reading more about your pickups...