Stoler: When Pete Alexander lost his fastball

From SABR member Mark Stoler at Things Have Changed on July 22, 2016:

Others have noted that Grover Cleveland (“Pete”) Alexander (1887-1950) is the only ballplayer named after an American President, and to be portrayed in a movie by a future American President; Ronald Reagan who played Pete in the 1952 film “The Winning Team” (a terrible film, co-starring Doris Day; you can watch the trailer at the end of this post).

Considered one of the game’s best pitchers, Pete won 373 games between 1911 and 1930, including a three year stretch (1915-17), when he won at least 30 games each season and tossed 36 shutouts.  The 24-year old Alexander reached the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he pitched through 1917, compiling a 190-88 record.

In December 1917, the Phillies traded Alexander to the Chicago Cubs.  Pete won two of three decisions early in the 1918 season, before being drafted into the army and eventually serving as an artilleryman in France.  Some sources report that it was while he was in the army that Pete became a heavy drinker and eventually an alcoholic, which would plague him for the rest of his career and lead to a troubled and impoverished retirement, all of which was compounded by his epilepsy.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 24, 2016. Last Updated: July 24, 2016.