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Grover Cleveland Alexander

Related Biography: Catcher "reindeer" Bill Killefer

No movie captured his life story. He was never inducted into the Hall of Fame. But, "Reindeer" Bill Killefer was an integral key to Alexander's success and was a good friend to the famous pitcher on and off the field.

William Killefer was born the same year as Alexander, 1887, in Bloomingdale, Michigan. Soon after he began his major league career (1909 with the Browns), he was dubbed Reindeer because of his amazing running speed. The match up with Alexander was one of the most successful battery matches there ever was; Killefer was well tuned to Alexander's every move and responded accordingly.

Killefer was a master at mediation and at getting along well with others. Killefer also was a team player, and he remained loyal to the talented men he called his friends such as Rogers Hornsby and Alexander. Killefer's teammates were also loyal to him, and he was known as a player's manager. While Killefer looked out for the good of the team, he knew that the team's success depended on the wellbeing of its individual players as well as its staff. He more likely was remembered for his coaching and management than for his playing.

He joined the Phils in 1911, where he was first paired up with Alexander in what would become a legendary battery. Killefer also was a playing manager for the Cubs, from 1921-1925, and for the Browns, from 1930-1933. According to Killefer's obituary in the New York Times, July 3, 1960, Killefer's career spanned more than forty-five years, when he finally retired in 1955 after scouting for Cleveland. He died in Elsmere, Delaware, on July 2, 1960, at the age of 72.

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Famous Sports StarsBaseballGrover Cleveland Alexander - Chronology, Career Statistics, Related Biography: Catcher "reindeer" Bill Killefer, The Winning Team