The Nebraska Hall of Fame does not include any sports personalities.
Signers of a petition promoting the induction of legendary baseball pitcher and Nebraska native Grover Cleveland Alexander would like to change that.
Lincoln resident and baseball fan Randy Moody is spearheading a petition drive aimed at encouraging the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission to consider inclusion of the right-handed pitcher from Elba, Nebraska, who played 20 seasons (1911-1930) for three Major League Baseball teams.
Alexander died in 1950 at age 63 in St. Paul, Nebraska. He posted some glittering statistics during a stellar career that led to induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1938. In the twilight of his career, he helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the 1926 World Series over Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees.
Along the way, he was inducted into three teams’ Halls of Fame -- the Cardinals, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs. Polls have suggested that Alexander is one of Nebraska’s all-time sports greats, ranking alongside Bob Gibson and Gale Sayers.
His statistics for 20 seasons of work in the majors included a 373-208 won-loss record, 2,195 strikeouts, and a glittering 2.56 lifetime ERA. His win total is tied for the most ever in the National League, and third all-time in the Major Leagues.
Alexander missed most of the 1918 baseball season, serving his country in France during World War I with the 342nd Field Artillery. Serving on the front lines for seven weeks, he suffered a serious head wound from which he never completely recovered, even though he returned to play 10-plus years in the majors.
His career peaked during a seven-year stint with the Phillies, for whom he averaged 27 wins per season, including a three-year span in which he won 31, 33 and 30 games from 1915-1917.
Never forgot his roots
“Grover Cleveland Alexander never forgot his Nebraska roots, spending his off-seasons in St. Paul, and returning many times to his home state to support and raise money for American Legion baseball,” according to an excerpt from the petition.
The Museum of Nebraska Major League Baseball proudly acknowledges Alexander’s achievements at its location in St. Paul, an area where the legendary pitcher spent his retirement years.
The community of St. Paul has celebrated a community festival, Grover Cleveland Alexander Days, annually since the early 1980s.
How to get involved
Moody said he has reached out to all three MLB teams for whom Alexander pitched during his career. Locally, he has contacted baseball interest groups and circulated petitions among interested fans.
To obtain a copy of the petition, Moody can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 402-489-1874.
Petition applications are due by the end of 2021, at which time the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission will conduct hearings in each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts.
About the Hall
The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans. The Hall honors people who were born in Nebraska, who gained prominence while living in Nebraska, or whose residence in Nebraska was an important influence on their lives and contributed to their greatness.
Busts of Hall of Fame members are displayed in the State Capitol and other commission-approved locations.
The Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission, composed of members appointed by the governor, names people to the Hall of Fame. Until 1996, the commission named one person every two years, with some occasional exceptions. Due to legislation passed in 1998, no more than one person can be added to the Hall of Fame every five years. That same legislation also requires that a person cannot be considered for the Hall of Fame until at least 35 years after his or her death.