Boston Red Sox: Top 5 starting pitchers in franchise history
By Sean Penney
Robert Moses Grove had already established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball long before he arrived in Boston, leading the league in ERA in five of his last eight seasons with the Philadelphia A’s (yes, this was back in the old days, before the A’s moved to Oakland and Philly had an American League team).
The trade that shipped him to Boston in 1933 failed to pay immediate dividends for the Red Sox, as Grove was derailed by an arm injury that limited him to 12 starts and a brutal 6.50 ERA that was more than double his career mark.
If Boston was suffering from any buyer’s remorse, Grove quickly washed it away by reeling off five straight All-Star campaigns, capturing four more ERA titles along the way.
Grove is one of the few pitchers in major league history to win 300 games. While only 105 of those game in a Red Sox uniform, that’s still enough to place him 11th in franchise history. His 3.34 ERA during his time in Boston would look significantly better if not for that injury plagued first season. The final two years of his career were a bit below his usual standards, dragging his numbers down further, but in fairness he retired at the age of 41.
He may only have had five great seasons in Boston, but he was so dominant during that time that he still ranks 4th in franchise history with 34.6 WAR.
His accomplishments may be a bit overlooked, in part because he began his career with a franchise that has twice since moved to other cities, but the man affectionately known as “Lefty” was one of the top left-handed pitchers to ever take the mound. Grove was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947. While some of his best years came in Philadelphia, it’s a Boston cap that is emblazoned on his plaque.