This baseball, signed by members of the 1928 St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, includes the signatures of two Nebraska baseball greats, Clarence Mitchell and Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Clarence E. Mitchell was born in a sod house in Franklin County, Nebraska, on February 22, 1891. After attending public schools in Franklin County, Mitchell began a career in professional baseball as a left-handed spitball pitcher. He broke into the major leagues with Detroit in 1911 and pitched for Cincinnati, Brooklyn, the Philadelphia Phillies, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Giants before retiring in 1932 with a lifetime record of 125 wins and 139 losses. While playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1920, Mitchell earned the dubious distinction of being the only man ever to hit into an unassisted triple play in World Series competition. In 1943, he moved to Aurora, Nebraska, where he operated a tavern. On August 17, 1953, Mitchell was inducted into the Lincoln Journal Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame. Mitchell died in the Veterans Hospital, Grand Island, Nebraska, on November 6, 1963.
Grover Cleveland Alexander, the third-winningest pitcher in major league baseball history, was born near Elba, Nebraska, on February 26, 1887. After pitching for local and minor league teams, Alexander signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1911, his first season, he amassed twenty-eight victories, still a rookie record. In a career that included stints with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, "Alexander the Great" compiled 373 victories; ninety shutouts, a National League record; and a major league record of sixteen shutouts in a season. Military service and bouts with epilepsy and alcoholism probably limited his career totals. Renowned for pinpoint control, Alexander threw one of baseball's most famous strikeouts in the seventh game of the 1926 World Series. Pitching in relief for the Cardinals, the veteran right-hander, then called "Old Pete," struck out the Yankees' Tony Lazerri with the bases loaded.In 1938 Alexander was among the first thirteen inductees to baseball's Hall of Fame. He died in St. Paul, Nebraska, on November 4, 1950. In "The Winning Team," Alexander's 1952 film biography, the baseball immortal was portrayed by Ronald Reagan.
The 1928 Cardinals were the National League Champions that year but New York Yankees swept the World Series in four games. Babe Ruth playing for the Yankees hit .625 rocketing three home runs over the right-field pavilion in Sportsman's Park in Game 4. Lou Gehrig, also playing for the Yankees, hit .545 with four home runs. During the series, Gehrig drove 9 runs by himself, almost as many runs as the entire Cardinal team combined.
Both Mitchell and Alexander pitched in game two of the series, which the Cardinals lost 3 to 9 at Yankee Stadium.
Source: Clarence Mitchell, Jr. (9646-4)