April 26, 1903|
|Died: March 2, 1979
|April 16, 1929 for the Detroit Tigers|
Last MLB appearance
|September 23, 1933 for the Boston Red Sox|
|Runs batted in||459|
Career highlights and awards
David Dale Alexander (April 26, 1903 – March 2, 1979), nicknamed "Moose," was a Major League Baseball player for the Detroit Tigers (1929–1932) and Boston Red Sox (1932–1933). Dale "Moose" Alexander was a 6 foot, 3 inch, 210 lb. first baseman. One of the American League's better hitters during his first four seasons, Alexander led the league in hits in 1929 and won a batting title in 1932, but a lack of defensive capability coupled with a leg injury ultimately cut short his Major League career.
Early years (1925–1928)
Born in Greeneville, Tennessee, Alexander first played professional baseball with his hometown team. Alexander hit .300 or better in five straight minor league seasons. In 1928, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Alexander won the International League triple crown with a .380 batting average, 31 home runs, and 144 runs batted in.
In 1929, Alexander won the first base job with the Detroit Tigers, hitting .343, scoring 110 runs, and led the American League with 215 hits, and was among the league leaders with 83 extra base hits (second in AL), 363 total bases (second in AL), 137 RBIs (third in AL), 25 home runs (fifth in the AL), a .580 slugging percentage (fifth in the AL), 43 doubles (fifth in AL), and 15 triples (fourth in AL).
In 1930, Alexander had a .326 batting average, 20 home runs and 135 RBIs. In his first two Major League seasons, Alexander had 272 RBIs. The only player with more RBIs in his first two seasons was Joe DiMaggio.
In 1932, Alexander batted .250 in the first two months of the season.
Boston Red Sox
On June 12, 1932, the Tigers traded him with Roy Johnson to the Boston Red Sox, for Earl Webb, who had set the Major League record for doubles (67) the previous season. Webb hit only 19 doubles for the Tigers in 1932 and retired one year later. Alexander won the American League batting crown with a career-high .367 average. He beat Jimmie Foxx by a mere three points, depriving Foxx of the triple crown. Alexander is the only Major League batting champion to be traded to another team in the same league during the season in which he won the title (in 1990, Willie McGee won the National League batting title despite being traded to the American League in late August).
On August 6, 1932, Alexander broke up a no-hitter by Cleveland pitcher Wes Ferrell, who ended up with a one-hitter.
On May 30, 1933, Alexander twisted a knee in a game at Philadelphia. He was given diathermy treatment ("electrically induced heat" used for muscle relaxation) in the clubhouse by Red Sox trainer Doc Woods. Alexander's leg suffered third degree burns during the treatment, and gangrene eventually set in. "It was a new method of treatment and not too much was known about it," Alexander said, years later. "I noticed my leg felt awfully hot. I ended up with third-degree burns and a gangrene infection and almost lost my leg. I was finished in the Majors... I couldn't run and I couldn't field and when I got hurt, that was the end."
Alexander attempted a comeback but injured his leg again in July 1933 and saw limited action for the rest of the season, mostly as a pinch hitter. Alexander wound up hitting .281 in 1933 and played his last Major League game on September 23, 1933 against the New York Yankees.
Minor league career (1934–1942)
After 1933, Alexander's mobility and fielding suffered, but he was able to hit well enough to continue playing in the minor leagues until 1942. Playing for Newark in 1934, he hit .336 and collected 123 RBIs, 14 home runs, 35 doubles, and 7 stolen bases. While playing for the Johnny Kling-owned Kansas City Blues, Alexander hit four home runs in a game against Minneapolis on June 14, 1935.
In 1939, Alexander (age 36) was hired as player-manager for the Sanford Lookouts in the Florida State League. Alexander hit .345 (highest on the team) and led the Lookouts to a 98–35 record and a Florida State League championship.
During his minor league career, Alexander never hit under .300 until 1942, his final year as a professional baseball player. His minor league batting average was .338 with 2,072 hits and 1,171 RBIs.
Life after baseball
Alexander died at his birthplace, Greeneville, Tennessee, at age 75.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Gallery of History and Photograph of Alexander
- Article on 1939 Sanford Lookouts Led by Dale Alexander