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The Winning Team (1952)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 20 June 1952 (USA)
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
...
Eve Miller ...
Margaret Killefer
James Millican ...
Bill Killefer
...
Willie Alexander (as Rusty Tamblyn)
...
George Glasheen
Hugh Sanders ...
Joe McCarthy
...
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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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

An establishing shot of New York City, supposedly in the mid-1920s, clearly shows the Empire State Building---which wasn't built until 1930-1931. See more »

Quotes

Aimee Alexander: Now remember what Bill Killefer said. He said as long as Alex can stand on his two feet, he's still the pitcher I'd want to have in there when we're in a tough spot.
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

Good Film Even Without the Truth
1 August 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Winning Team, The (1952)

*** (out of 4)

Pretty good, if watered down, drama about the career of Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander (Ronald Reagan) who started life on the farm but quickly made a name for himself as a pitcher. When his career was apparently over he started to suffer from alcoholism but his wife (Doris Day) gets him back into shape so that he can make a comeback. Once again we have a bio-pic that has been fictionalized but even with this the movie manages to be very entertaining from start to finish thanks to some very good performances. I think there are a few minor issues with one of them being the fact that the studio forced the producer's to cut down on some of the more darker moments. The alcoholism issue is only touched for a few seconds and Alexander's battle with epilepsy is pretty much overlooked. Another minor problem is that this is a movie about Alexander yet a lot of the attention goes to the wife. Day got top-billing but this is certainly Reagan's movie but at the same time there are many scenes that are obviously here just to give Day more scenes and this includes a really bad singing sequence around Christmas time. With all of that said, the rest of the movie is pretty much a winner. Baseball fans are really going to eat up seeing how they were playing back in the day plus we get to view the old-time uniforms and even better is that we get to see some of the old baseball stadiums. There's also quite a bit of stock footage used to try and re-create some moments of the 1926 World Series, which was against the New York Yankees and their Murderers Row. This was Reagan's final film at Warner after fifteen-years worth of service and they certainly let him go out on a high note. I thought Reagan was very believable in the role and manages to look quite natural as a pitcher and he also managed to be very believable in the part of the farm boy. The early scenes with him struggling with his disease were extremely well-done and this ranks as one of the actors better performances. Day is also in top-form even though I think we could have used a little less of her character. Frank Lovejoy gets a good bit as Rogers Hornsby and we get some real-life players including Jerry Priddy, Bob Lemon, Peanuts Lowery and Irving Noren. Frank Ferguson, who most will remember from ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, plays Day's father here. Again, if you're wanting to truth on Alexander then it's best you go read a book but if you're just looking for some quick entertainment then this film does the job.


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