Tagged: april 26

April 26 – Happy Birthday Dale Alexander

alexanderThis native of Greeneville, Tennessee was the first Red Sox to win the AL batting title. He accomplished the feat in 1932, after spending the first 50 games of that season as a member of the Detroit Tigers. He was hitting just .250 in mid June of that year when he and Roy Johnson were traded to the Red Sox for an outfielder by the name of Earl Webb. Once he put on a Boston uniform, he went on a tear at the plate and hit .372 the rest of the season, finishing the year with a .367 average, which was three points higher than runner up Jimmy Foxx.

Alexander was no stranger to a .300 batting average. In fact, since he made his debut with the Tigers three years earlier, this big first baseman had never averaged less than .325. During his rookie year in Motown, he hit .343 with 25 home runs and an amazing first year total of 137 RBIs. There was no sophomore jinx for this guy either. In 1926 he averaged .326 with 135 RBIs and 20 homers. There was no doubt that Dale Alexander could handle a bat. His biggest challenges were running the bases and fielding his position. He was mediocre at best at both skills but that sweet swing of his forced him into the lineup.

He had for some reason stopped hitting home runs after his second season with Detroit but he was still raking the ball all over Fenway, when on Memorial Day during the 1932 season, Alexander hurt his leg sliding into home. The Boston trainer had just started using a new deep heating machine as therapy for bruised muscles and joints and by accident, left the machine on too long while treating Alexander’s injury. The leg was badly burned and actually shrunk and atrophied from the overexposure. He never fully recovered and was out of the big leagues for good after that 1933 season. He did manage to continue his playing career in the minors for nine more seasons and continue to average well over .300 while doing so. Alexander passed away in 1979 at the age of 75.