Tuesday, November 17, 2009
#4 Dale Alexander
Dale Alexander was born in Greeneville, Tennessee, and upon signing with Toronto in the International League, won the leagues Triple Crown in 1928. He burst onto the Major League scene with the Detroit Tigers in 1929. He batted .349 in his rookie season, and followed that with a .326 average. In 1931, he won the AL batting title, hitting .367. His batting title is a contention, due to his low number of plate appearances. He did qualify under the rules of the time, but some contend that Jimmie Foxx should have won, which would have given Foxx the AL Triple Crown that year.
In his first four seasons, Alexander had a .338 average and was one of the most feared hitters in the AL. Who know what would have happened with his career, if it weren't for a freak injury.
On Memorial Day weekend in 1932, Alexander sprained his knee in a game against Philadelphia. He was given diathermy as a treatment, and wound up receiving third degree burns. He almost lost his leg to gangrene, and this essentially ended his major league career.
After his playing career, he spent a few years as a scout.
The Autograph: Alexander died in March of 1979. His autograph on a Grand Slam card is fairly rare, but not impossible. However, there are reports that his wife ghost-signed a lot of mail requests in the few months before his death. There are subtle differences in the autograph, and authenticity is muddied by the fact he did sign on his own after a stroke, and that signature is also subtly different from his pre-stroke signature.
I bought this card from a dealer, and it matches some certified examples I've seen. But I am not 100% sure of its authenticity.