Introducing… General Crowder

A valuable innings-eater of the Lively Ball Era, Alvin “General” Crowder was a two-time wins champ in the American League with the Washington Senators.  The right-hander eclipsed twenty wins in three separate seasons and was a valuable workhorse for a couple forgotten teams: the Senators and St. Louis Browns.  Crowder came about his nickname because there was a famous WWI general by the name of Crowder.

Crowder made his Major League debut with the Senators in 1926 but wouldn’t win twenty games with the club until they reacquired him after his dismissal to St. Louis.  As a rookie, the general won seven games with a .636 winning percentage.  The following season he won an equal seven games but his winning percentage plummeted because he coupled those seven victories with twelve defeats.  The Senators shipped Crowder off to the Browns during the season for the ageless Tom Zachary.

After a rough sophomore season that saw him switch teams in the summer, Crowder enjoyed a breakout campaign in 1928.  The General went 21-5 for the Browns and paced the junior circuit with an amazing .808 winning percentage.  He became a workhorse that season by tallying 244 innings.  He wouldn’t fall below 230 innings again until 1934.  A solid pitcher in an era known more for its offensive exploits, Crowder nevertheless flourished when the boys were driving in runs at a record clip.

Crowder won 17 games for the Browns in 1929 while leading the league in shutouts.  But the following year he suffered from the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? question when he began the season poorly.  The Browns sent him back to the Senators in a deal that saw two future Hall of Fame outfielders switch sides: Crowder joined Heinie Manush en route to Washington for the great Goose Goslin. The General got back on track with the Senators as he went 15-9 after the trade. 

The Senators were about to get things settled for a championship run about this time.  The days of Walter Johnson blazing his fastball by bewildered AL batters had come to a close but with their high average hitters and a pack mule like Crowder leading the rotation, they ventured back to respectability in the early 1930s.  He won 18 games for the Senators in 1931 before posting back-to-back 20-win seasons.  Crowder led the AL with 26 wins in 1932 while also pacing the league in games started and innings pitched.

Washington returned to the World Series in 1933 when Crowder, who made the All-Star Team, led the league with 24 wins and 52 games pitched.  He just missed another 300 innings pitched season by two-thirds of an inning but nevertheless fashioned consecutive seasons of league leading wins totals.  The Giants had his number in the World Series but Crowder would get two more shots at the Fall Classic thanks to a deal that sent him to the Tigers the following season. 

Crowder, who had just led the American League in wins the previous two seasons, got off to a rocky start with Washington in 1934 and he was placed on waivers.  Detroit claimed General and he went 5-1 down the stretch to help the Tigers capture the AL pennant.  He posted a 1.50 ERA in the World Series but lost his only decision to the champion Cardinals.  He had his last good year in 1935 when he won 16 games for Detroit en route to his last Fall Classic.  At the age of 36, General won his only World Series contest by besting the Cubs in a complete game victory.  He pitched one final season before calling it a career.


W 167/L 115/PCT .592/ERA 4.12/G 402/CG 150/SHO 16/IP 2,344/H 2,453/BB 800/SO 799


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