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The Winning Team (1952)

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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 Big Leagues' Big Love Story 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

Grover Cleveland Alexander: You must be so tired, Dear!
Aimee Alexander: Why should I be tired?
Grover Cleveland Alexander: I've been stealing strength from you all season - every game, every pitch. Without you there, I couldn't have done any of it. God must think a lot of me. He's given me you.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Lucky Day
(uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Played at the beginning of the Yankee Stadium sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Alex the Great
6 October 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In filming the life story of Grover Cleveland Alexander, Warner Brothers made it a story of redemption when in fact it was a story of tragedy. But 1952 movie audiences wanted their happy endings.

Grover Cleveland Alexander (1887-1950) was possibly the greatest right handed pitcher in National League history. He played for 3 teams, the Phillies, Cubs, and Cardinals and compiled 373 lifetime victories over a 20 year period.

While still in the bush leagues Alexander sustained a serious head injury when a ball struck him right between the eyes while he was a base runner. He had double vision and headaches for a year. During World War I while an artillery officer the noise of exploding shells compounded a seemingly healed injury with a complication of epilepsy. To anesthetize himself, Alexander took to drinking some of that Prohibition whiskey and became an alcoholic.

After leaving baseball in 1930 for the next twenty years, Alexander drifted to all kinds of menial jobs, occasionally making headlines with some alcohol related incident. One positive headline was his election to the Hall of Fame in the second round of elections. He was on hand for the dedication of the building in Cooperstown.

In 1950 Alex was on hand as the Phillies won their second National League Pennant. Alex was the star of the first pennant winning team in 1915. A month later he was found dead in a cheap rooming house.

That unfortunately is the sad truth of the real Grover Cleveland Alexander. This is not the film you will see.

Ronald Reagan is just fine and actually comes close to the character of the real Alexander who was a genial and kind man with a terrible drinking problem. This was the final film Reagan made while at Warner Brothers.

Doris Day in her second film with Reagan plays Amy Arrants Alexander, his loyal, faithful wife. In her memoirs Doris wrote that during the shooting she and Reagan had a few dates and she remembers him best as a good man who was quite a dancer when they went out. This film also qualifies as a musical for in the beginning Doris has a Christmas number, Old St. Nicholas, and Reagan joins her for the last two bars. Ronald Reagan actually did sing in one of his films.

Today Hollywood would have no problem filming the real story which was quite a love story. Amy Alexander married Alex 3 times and divorced him twice, both those divorces an effort to give him a wake up call.

But the widow Alexander was an adviser on the film and she got the film made to show the public the husband she wanted them to remember.

And baseball fans the world over remember Grover Cleveland Alexander as a great baseball pitcher and a decent and patriotic man whose service to his country caused him a lifetime of triumph and tragedy trying to control the pain in his brain. It's a good legacy that doesn't need any embellishment from Hollywood.


24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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