When Bob Walk was credited with the win in the first game of the 1980 World Series, he became just the second Phillie to earn the honor. For the previous 65 years, Grover Cleveland Alexander was the sole pitcher in franchise history to carry a postseason win on his record — doing so against today’s inter-league opponent, the Boston Red Sox.
During my teen and early adult years, I thought that the reasoning behind the HOF recognizing him as a Phillie had as much to do with the pathetic history of the franchise than anything else. I took it as a pity designation since he actually played one more season with the Cubs and than with The Fightins. However, I realized the error in my logic one evening in college when carefully looking over his stats and realizing that his best years (by far) were in Philly. In addition, he very nearly pitched more innings and games for the Phillies than the Cubs and Cardinals combined. Clearly, the HOF made the right choice designating him a Phillie.
According to Beckett.com, Alexander has appeared on 75 cards since 1980. I don’t have an exact breakdown of how many of those are Phillies card (I can give one, but don’t have the time to do the necessary research), but any Phillies collector can pretty readily purchase a recent Alexander card fairly easily. The 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes (#23) shown with this post is likely (though I’m not certain) the first Alexander card I added to my collection. Some other time I’ll post one of the older ones, but based solely on appearance, this one is my favorite. I love all of Dick Perez’s artwork, and I love the fact that the Phillies selected him to do the artwork for their 1983 Phillies Greatest Moments Postcards and 1983 Phillies Great Players and Managers Postcards sets. While I’m certain that it would be cost prohibitive and will probably never happen, I think it would be awesome if the Phillies would commission him to do the artwork for another set. Oh well, I can dream.