Teams: Philadelphia Athletics, 1912; Cleveland Indians, 1916-1924; Washington Senators, 1925-1927; New York Yankees, 1928
In 1924, Coveleski had a 4.04 ERA.
Thought to be through, he was traded to
Washington. In 1925, he went 20-5 with
a loop-best 2.84 ERA. He won 14
games in ’26.
Born Stanislaus Kowalewski in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, a coal-mining town near Scranton, Stanley Coveleski (1889-1984) was one of five sons born to Polish immigrant parents. All five boys entertained dreams of a professional baseball career as a way of escaping life in the mines, but only two made it to the top -- Stan and Harry.
Harry was a southpaw who received the nickname “The Giant Killer” after beating the New York Giants three times late in the heated 1908 National League pennant race.
Harry later became a 20-game winner for Detroit, by which time Stan had joined Cleveland. Despite pleas from the owners of both clubs, who envisioned the crowds the two might draw if they pitched against one another, the brothers declined, claiming neither wanted to be responsible for the other’s defeat.
Although only three years younger than Harry, Stan took nearly a decade longer to reach the majors. He was almost 27 years old and had been in the minors eight seasons before he joined Cleveland in 1916. A fast worker who showcased exceptional control and a puzzling spitball, Covy was a manager’s dream. Almost always ahead in the count, he once worked a contest in which he did not have a ball called against him until the eighth inning. Too, his games were usually over, win or lose, in little more than an hour.
Covy won 20 or more games for four straight years between 1918 and 1921. Overshadowed by 31-game-winner Jim Bagby in 1920 when Cleveland won its first pennant, Stan emerged as the team’s hero that autumn when he registered three World Series triumphs over the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Coveleski was so reserved and unassuming that he would not even correct sportswriters who spelled his name without an “E” on the end rather than as he and his brother Harry did after legally changing their surname. As a result, Covy’s Hall of Fame plaque has his name spelled incorrectly, as that was the name under which he played.
After nine years with Cleveland, Stan was traded to Washington in December 1924. Thought to be through, he rebounded to collect an even 20 victories and lead the American League in winning percentage while assisting the Senators to their second consecutive pennant. In two World Series starts against the Pirates, however, he was beaten in both. Covy was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.
Here are Stan Coveleski's major league totals:
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