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Grover Cleveland Alexander
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Baseball Player
    (February 26, 1887-November 4, 1950)
    All-time National League leader in wins
    Philadelphia Phillies (1911-1917, 1930), Chicago Cubs (1918-1926), St. Louis Cardinals (1926-1929)
    He was portrayed by Ronald Reagan in 'The Winning Team.'
    He was a severe alcoholic, who often drank his wife's perfume if no alcohol was available.
    He was released by the Chicago Cubs in 1925, and was told that if they were to be in last place (which they were), they would prefer to do it without him (and they did).
    He was quiet, and made few friends in baseball.
    When elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, he refused to pose for the historic photo of the living first inductees because he was not paid for it.
    He developed epilepsy from a thrown ball hitting his head in a minor league game, and often suffered seizures in the dugout.
    Unlike other star athletes, he fought in the front line trenches of World War I, and suffered from damaged hearing and what would now be called post-traumatic stress disorder.
    Considering he suffered from alcoholism, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder, it is remarkable that he was able to function as a human being, much less perform as a star athlete.
    The movie 'The Winning Team' does a poor job of describing his tragic life, and avoids his alcoholism.
    His most famous moment in baseball, when he struck out Tony Lazzeri of the New York Yankees with the bases loaded and two out while drunk in the 1926 World Series, is false (He was hung over, but not intoxicated).
    He won two games in the 1926 World Series besides saving the seventh game with his famous strikeout.
    He had to work at carnivals and fairs as a side show attraction after his career was over.
    He died alone in a motel room.

Credit: Gregg Moeller


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