Originally posted on The Recliner GM  |  Last updated 12/9/11

For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page

Longevity – 3

Alexander played for the Phillies for the first 7 years of his career, from 1911-1917, ages 24-30. He pitched 21 innings for the Phillies in his final season, in 1930, at age 43.

Peak – 5

Absolutely one of the best pitchers to ever play the game. In his seven years with the Phillies he posted ERA’s of 1.22, 1.55, 1.83, 2.38, 2.57, 2.79 and 2.81 while averaging 356 innings (not a typo) per season. His average WAR in those years was 7.9. From 1911-1917 he and Walter Johnson owned the MLB like few pitchers before or after. Johnson led the league in WAR over that period with 63.8, Alexander was 2nd at 55. Third was Eddie Plank, at 28.1. Besides Johnson (whom Alexander had 51 more innings than over that time), no pitcher was within 700 innings (100 per season) of the tandem.

Popularity – 1

You would have to be darn near 100 years old to have seen Alexander play in Philadelphia, so he’s not exactly an icon. Hardcore baseball fans know all about him though as one of the most under-appreciated players in franchise history. For whatever reason, when the Phillies moved over the CBP, they did without the retired “P”s for Alexander and Chuck Klein that adorned the outfield at the Vet.

Team Success – 3

The Phillies were 582-484 during his tenure. In games in which Alexander got a decision, the Phillies were 190-88. In games he didn’t, they were 392-396.  They made it to the World Series in 1915, losing 4-1 to the Red Sox. Alexander started 2 games in the World Series, giving up just 3 runs in 17.2 IP (1.53 ERA).

Awards – 3

He gets jipped here for playing during a time when there were pretty much no awards, but he did win the pitching triple crown in 1915 and 1916, which almost certainly would have won him the Cy Young. In my top-20 Phillies individual seasons of all-time, Alexander’s 1915 campaign ranked 2nd.

Stats – 4

Alexander’s all-time Phillies’ ranks are as follows: 2nd in ERA and WHIP, 3rd in IP, W and WAR, 5th in K. If you include his non-Phillies’ years, he is top-10 all-time in the following pitching categories: 4th in WAR (behind Clemens, Walter and Seaver), 3rd in wins, 10th in IP.

Historical Standing – 5

In the discussion after Walter Johnson for the 2nd best pitcher of all-time. Probably isn’t, but is in the discussion.

Excitement – 3

Alexander wasn’t a strike out pitcher, with a career 3.8 K/9 rate, but there must have been a decent level of excitement watching someone THIS good pitch, regardless of how he got the outs.

Total: 27

For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page

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