Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20

1948 Leaf #66 - Orval Grove

On this day in 1992 pitcher Orval Grove died.

Orval spent his entire career with the White Sox, getting his first taste in 1940. By 1943, he proved himself as a reliable starter and stayed in the rotation with help from his 4-F status, which meant he was ineligible for military service. Grove won his first nine starts in 1943, the first pitcher to do that since Lefty Williams in 1917. Orval lost his attempt at ten wins in a row by issuing a balk against the Yankees which lost the game for the White Sox.

Grove nearly joined the ranks of pitchers that threw no-hitters. With one out left to go in the ninth inning of a game against the New York Yankees, Joe Gordon ripped a double that was fair by inches, to end Orval's closest no-hit bid. Ironically, Gordon and Grove became close friends after their playing careers were over. Grove declined in the last few years of his MLB career. In his last year, 1949, he only pitched two-thirds of an inning in one game before being demoted.

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