Grover Cleveland Alexander
Grover Cleveland Alexander, the third winningest pitcher in major league baseball history, was born near Elba, Nebraska, on February 26, 1887. After pitching for local and minor league teams, Alexander signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1911, his first season, he amassed twenty-eight victories, still a rookie record. In a career that included stints with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, "Alexander the Great" compiled 373 victories; ninety shutouts, a National League record; and a major league record of sixteen shutouts in a season. Military service and bouts with epilepsy and alcoholism probably limited his career totals.Renowned for pinpoint control,
Alexander threw one of baseball's most famous strikeouts in the seventh game of the 1926 World Series. Pitching in relief for the Cardinals, the veteran righthander, then called "Old Pete," struck out the Yankees' Tony Lazerri with the bases loaded.
In 1938 Alexander was among the first thirteen inductees to baseball's Hall of Fame. He died in St. Paul, Nebraska, on November 4, 1950. In "The Winning Team," Alexander's 1952 film biography, the baseball immortal was portrayed by Ronald Reagan.