Grover Cleveland Alexander was an icon for his generation of professional baseball players. He was a phenomenal pitcher, who established major-league records, many of which still stand today. During World War I he served as an army sergeant in France. He lived through Prohibition, two marriages and divorces from the same woman, the Great Depression, and ill health due to epilepsy, alcoholism, and cancer.
Grover Cleveland Alexander was born on February 26, 1887 in Elba, Nebraska. He was the youngest of thirteen children (twelve boys and one girl). Baseball was mostly an interesting past time for Alexander until 1909.
Although Alexander worked for a time as a telephone lineman for the Howard Telephone Company, he managed to play on local teams for the fee of five silver dollars. Then he began playing baseball for independent clubs and in 1909 he signed his first contract with the Galesburg Boosters.