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The Winning Team (1952)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 537 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 8 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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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:

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

Ain't We Got Fun
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Played during the carnival scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first half of this film is reasonably true--the second differs greatly from reality.
19 October 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

When film began, Grover Cleveland Alexander was a teenager--while Ronald Reagan was almost 40! singing?! This is a biopic about the career of one of the greatest pitchers in major league history, Grover Cleveland Alexander. If you look at the man's statistics, they are staggeringly impressive. Because of this and Alexander's later medical issues, it's not at all surprising they made this film. What is rather surprising, however, is that they chose Ronald Reagan to play the man. When the film began, he was supposed to be a very young man--while Reagan was nearly 40! He did fine in the role, however.

The first half of the film sticks reasonably close to the facts. If anything, it underplayed the greatness of the man (such as not even mentioning his three consecutive 30 win seasons and winning the triple-crown three times). However, around the middle of the film, the story gets hokey--and deviates very far from the truth. While Alexander did have problems with epilepsy and alcohol following his stint in WWI, the film made it look like his life and career fell apart. It also shows him being out of major league ball for some time until he cleaned himself up--but this just isn't true. He never had a losing season and still had excellent statistics until his final season in ball (when he was 43)--and the lengthy downward spiral in the film just never happened. With a career record of 373 and 208, he clearly was no bum! Overall, "The Winning Team" is a highly enjoyable and highly inaccurate and sensationalized film. While I do recommend it (it's well made and interesting), it seems sad that a great man's life was so distorted just to see a few extra tickets. But, that was pretty common for Hollywood during this era.


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