Here’s one very valuable game worn jersey that won’t be sitting in a private collection.
The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum, in recognizing the 80th anniversary of the franchise’s first World Series Championship, has announced the acquisition of a historically significant item – the jersey Grover Cleveland Alexander was wearing when he closed Game Seven of the 1926 World Series.
The 1926 Cardinals, led by player-manager and star second baseman Rogers Hornsby, won 89 games to capture their first National League pennant. Catcher Bob O’Farrell batted .293 and was selected as the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Jim Bottomley led the league in doubles (40) and RBI (120), while Flint Rhem had a 20-7 pitching record. Grover "Old Pete" Alexander was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in late-May, then won nine games for the Cardinals.
The Redbirds would face the mighty Yankees, led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. New York pitcher Herb Pennock pitched a complete game to take a Series lead in Game One. Alexander countered with his own complete game in the second affair to knot the series at one game each. Jesse "Pop" Haines followed suit in Game Three with a complete game shut-out of his own, including a homerun in his second at-bat. New York stormed back, however, with two consecutive complete game victories by Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock.
Down three games to two in the best-of-seven series, Alexander again took the ball for another complete game victory, evening the Series at three games a piece and setting the table for an exciting Game Seven showdown in Yankee Stadium.
Jesse Haines took the ball for the Redbirds, but ran into trouble with the bases loaded, two outs and a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning with Tony Lazzeri coming up to bat. Hornsby summoned Alexander from the bullpen, even after his complete-game performance a day earlier. Alexander struck out Lazzeri and didn’t allow a Yankee to reach base until the bottom of the ninth when Babe Ruth was walked. With two outs, Ruth attempted to steal second, but was promptly thrown out by catcher Bob O’Farrell to give the Cardinals their first World Series Championship.
The Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum honors the 1926 team with an exhibit featuring unique items from that fabled season including the jersey Grover Alexander was wearing in Game Seven of the World Series, the first pitched ball of the 1926 World Series, the bat attributed to Jesse Haines when he hit his homerun in Game Three, Branch Rickey’s championship ring, Ray Blades’ championship pocket watch, Rogers Hornsby’s 1926 contract, and other items including programs, ticket stubs, signed baseballs, and photos.
Other exhibits include Bob O’Farrell’s 1926 MVP award, a panoramic photo of game action in the 1926 World Series, and equipment from players including bats, jerseys, and warm-up jackets from Hornsby and Bottomley.