Klutz though he may have been on the base paths and with the glove, Alexander batted .336 for Newark in the International League in 1934. Then it was on to the American Association and Kansas City, where he hit .358 and .315 and once clubbed four consecutive home runs. In 1941 Alexander retired and began a 30-year career scouting for the Giants, Braves and Red Sox. His lack of renown had been a product of plain bad luck. He played on dismal teams. No matter how well he hit, a teammate overshadowed him. When he batted .343 in 1929, Harry Heilmann, another Hall of Famer, finished at .344. The next season Gehringer hit four points better. Even Alexander's hitting title is somewhat besmirched. One Red Sox history lists Smead Jolley as the team leader in 1932 because Alexander had come to bat 392 times, eight shy of the minimum the author deemed necessary for consideration. (The league requirement at the time was left to the discretion of the league's president.) Worse still, the Detroit Tiger media guide devotes two pages to "Tigers to Remember," and doesn't remember Alexander at all.
Why the gods of baseball turned on Alexander is hard to fathom. But if it's possible for the tenor of a man's career to be summed up by a single incident, then what happened to him one afternoon in Detroit says it all. Gehringer recalls: "He smashed a tremendous shot to dead center that hit about 20 feet up our flagpole just inside the fence. An inch either way and it would have been way up in the bleachers, but the ball bounced right back into play and nearly ended up in the infield. Any ordinary guy would have been standing at second, but Dale got only a single out of it.