Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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Bob Alexander

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 7, 1922 Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

Died: April 7, 1993 Oceanside, California

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Aviation Cadet
Military Unit: US Navy

Area Served: United States

 

Robert S “Bob” Alexander was born on August 7, 1922 in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. He attended Bethany College in West Virginia and was signed by the New York Yankees in 1942.

 

Alexander spent his first season with the Butler Yankees of the Class D Pennsylvania State Association and the Amsterdam Rugmakers in the Class C Canadian-American League. In 1943 he pitched for the Wellsville Yankees in the Class D PONY League and was 4-3 with a 3.60 ERA. He was with Wellsville, the Hagerstown Owls of the Inter-State League and the Norfolk Tars of the Piedmont League for a combined 6-9 record during 1944.

 

On September 6, 1944, Alexander entered military service with the Navy at Buffalo, New York. During the winter of 1944, Aviation Cadet Alexander was playing center for the St Mary’s Pre-Flight School basketball team in the Northern California Basketball Association championship. During the summer of 1945 he was at Ottumwa Naval Air Station in Iowa where he pitched for the Ottumwa Navy Skyers alongside future major leaguer Jack Bruner.

 

Alexander also served at Norman Naval Air Station in Oklahoma, Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas and Memphis Naval Air Station in Tennessee. He was discharged on May 3, 1946 at Lido Beach, New York.

 

He returned to the Norfolk Tars where he was 6-5 with a 2.64 ERA and also spent time with the Binghamton Triplets of the Class A Eastern League in 1946. Alexander continued to pitch in the minor leagues with the Denver Bears in the Western League, where he was 10-12 with a 4.15 ERA in 1947, and the Beaumont Exporters in the Texas League where he was 11-16 with a 3.70 ERA in 1948. The following year - 1949 - he was 8-8 with the Louisville Colonels in the American Association and 12-10 with the Colonels in 1950. In 1951 he was acquired by the Brooklyn Dodgers and pitched for the Montreal Royals in the International League, where he was 15-9 with a 3.58 ERA. He performed well enough to go to spring training with the Dodgers in 1952.

 

However, he was back with Montreal for the regular season and was 8-7 with a 4.34 ERA. Alexander remained with Montreal in 1953 and after the season, he underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. He was acquired by the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League in the spring of 1954 where he finished with a 10-12 record and 3.22 ERA. At the end of the season, Alexander, now 32 years old, was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles. He finally made his major league debut in a relief appearance for the Orioles on April 11, 1955. He would make a further three relief outings before returning to Portland in July to record a 10-10 record and excellent 2.66 ERA.

 

Alexander continued to be a stellar pitcher in the Pacific Coast League and got his final shot at the major leagues in 1957, when the 35 year-old right-hander joined the Cleveland Indians pitching staff. Alexander made five relief appearances for the Indians to end his major league career. He joined the San Diego Padres in 1958 and was 10-5 with a 3.71 ERA. He retired from baseball after making two brief appearances with the Padres in 1959, aged 36.

 

Bob Alexander passed away on April 7, 1993 in Oceanside, California. He was 70 years old.

 

Thanks to Bill Swank for help with Bob Alexander's statistics. Thanks to Bob Stephenson for the photo.

 

Created July 18, 2007. Updated July 22, 2007.

Copyright © 2009 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.