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The Winning Team (1952)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 529 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 4 critic

Poor health and alcoholism force Grover Cleveland Alexander out of baseball, but through his wife's faithful efforts, he gets a chance for a comeback and redemption.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Aimee Alexander
...
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Frank Lovejoy ...
Eve Miller ...
Margaret Killefer
James Millican ...
Bill Killefer
...
Willie Alexander (as Rusty Tamblyn)
Gordon Jones ...
George Glasheen
Hugh Sanders ...
Joe McCarthy
Frank Ferguson ...
Sam Arrants
Walter Baldwin ...
Pa Alexander
...
Ma Alexander
Bob Lemon ...
Jesse 'Pop' Haines
Jerry Priddy ...
Ballplayer
Peanuts Lowery ...
Ballplayer (as Peanuts Lowrey)
George Metkovich ...
Ballplayer
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Storyline

In 1911, Grover Cleveland Alexander - Alex to his friends - is a Nebraska country hayseed who says he wants to settle down, marry his girlfriend Aimee Arrants and be a farmer to offer Aimee a secure and stable life. However he always seems to drop everything whenever the opportunity to play baseball, specifically as a pitcher, arises. This focus on baseball does not sit well with either Aimee or her father, who see it as Alex solely wanting to have fun while shirking responsibility. When Alex is asked to pitch in a game against a visiting professional team, he seizes the chance and throws a three hitter en route to winning the game. That leads to a stint on that pro team, the money from which he promises to use to buy Aimee her farm. When an eye injury seems to end his career even before it begins, he changes his focus to being a farmer to please his now wife Aimee Alexander, but thoughts of baseball that can never be in his life still torture him. When his injury does eventually heal... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

And here comes the pitch, Yes, the pitch, the pitch for the warmest, most wonderful, most human story ever told, the true story of Grover Cleveland Alexander! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big League  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to TMC Ronald Reagan had lobbied hard to play the title role in "The Stratton Story" but Warner Bothers didn't want to take a chance on a baseball film and passed on the project. After "The Stratton Story" became a huge hit they picked up the Grover Cleveland Alexander story about another ball player who made a comeback after being forced from professional baseball. See more »

Goofs

Not only does much of the stock footage (as well as regular footage) show players wearing numbers on their uniforms long before this was the case, a number of the crowd shots were actually shot in the late 1940s or early '50s, as indicated by the clothing and hairstyles. See more »

Quotes

Sideshow heckler: How does it feel to be livin' off the fleas?
Grover Cleveland Alexander: Well, it's better than havin' 'em live offa me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Diamonds on the Silver Screen (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
(uncredited)
Music by Albert von Tilzer
Lyrics by Jack Norworth
Played during the opening credits and sung by Doris Day
See more »

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User Reviews

Average Biographical Film
8 December 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is an average and generally somewhat interesting film biography of baseball pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, whose life does provide plenty of material for a movie. Although the portrait of Alexander is somewhat stylized, it is relatively straightforward in bringing out the less admirable events in his life. Overall, it follows the usual formulas for such films, with a reasonable degree of success.

Ronald Reagan gives a solid if unspectacular performance as Alexander, with Doris Day as his wife giving it a little more energy. The supporting cast is decent, with Frank Lovejoy probably getting the best opportunities as Rogers Hornsby, although the character takes some noticeable liberties with the Hornsby of baseball history. There are also numerous other factual inaccuracies about the players, stadiums, and so forth. In this respect, it's somewhat interesting as a contrast to many recent biographical movies.

Recent movies sometimes make better efforts to get the minor details right, but then they often distort the larger picture to promote a pet view of history or of a historical character. Older biographies like "The Winning Team" might be more likely to change factual details to fit a dramatic story, but less likely to distort the broader view of events.

Regardless of all that, this is a reasonable picture, without many significant strengths or flaws. It's probably mostly of interest to baseball fans or to those curious to see Reagan's role.


8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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