Coveleskie always said it was the spitball that made him a major-league pitcher.
He had a three-hit shutout in his debut with the A's in 1912, but was returned to
the minors for seasoning and learned the spitter while with Portland (PCL), shortly
before being acquired by the Indians.
Despite the spitter's eccentricity, Coveleskie
(as the name was spelled during his playing days) was a control pitcher who averaged
one walk every 3.86 innings over fourteen years. His spitball broke three ways -
down, out, and down and out - and he said he always could control its movement by
the placement of his fingers on the ball. It was his bread and butter pitch, although
he sometimes went two or three innings without throwing it and had the usual fastball
and curve to mix things up.
He was equally sparing with strikeouts (981 lifetime).
Because of his control many batters swung at his first pitch. A number of times he
got out of an inning with three pitches, and on one occasion he went seven innings
when every pitch was a strike, a foul, or a hit. He claimed success in fanning Ruth
and in reducing Cobb's effectiveness by feeding him fastballs inside.
he had 39 shutouts, a streak of 13 wins in 1925 when he was 36 years old, and six
consecutive seasons pitching more than 276 innings. His best years were with Cleveland,
particularly the championship year of 1920 when he won three splendid five-hitters
against Brooklyn in the Series. He allowed a total of two runs and two walks, struck
out eight, and had an ERA of 0.67. After two under-.500 seasons, Cleveland traded
him to Washington for two
nonentities. His .800 (20-5) winning percentage and 2.84
ERA led the AL as the 1925 Senators repeated as AL champions. He lost two, however,
in the Series against the Pirates.
A quiet, modest man, Covey was the youngest
and most successful of five ball-playing brothers. Harry, the "Giant Killer" of 1908,
was the only other one to reach the majors.
»August 26, 1916: After being knocked out of the box in three innings yesterday against Cleveland, the A's Joe Bush gets revenge by no-hitting Cleveland 5–0 in Philadelphia. It is Nap Lajoie's last ML game. He goes 1-for-3 with a triple, and hits just .280 for the year; his last at bat is a fly to RF. Stan Coveleski takes the loss.
»September 4, 1916:
In Detroit, the Coveleski brothers appear together in the same game for the only time in their careers. Stan starts for the Indians and gets knocked out in Detroit's 5-run first inning. Harry relieves later on in the game as Detroit wins, 7–5.
»December 12, 1924: The Senators pick up 35-year-old Stanley Coveleski from Cleveland in exchange for Byron Speece and Carr Smith. Coveleski, a future Hall of Famer, will go 20–5 and lead the American League in ERA.
»July 20, 1925:
Washington veteran Stan Coveleski wins his 12th straight to keep the Senators near the top. He will have his finest year at 20-5 and the AL's best ERA, 2.84.
»September 25, 1968: In Mantle's last appearance at Yankee Stadium, he slices a two-out first inning single off Cleveland's Luis Tiant, the only hit for the Yankees. Tiant tosses his 9th shutout of the year, tops in the AL, to win, 3–0. El Tiante's ERA drops to 1.60; the previous low for an Indian pitcher was Stan Coveleski's 1.87 in 1917.