At age 14, Reggie Cleveland, already six feet tall, was pitching against players several years older than him. The fast-growing right-hander was discovered in Swift Current by carnival operator, Sam Shapiro, who encouraged his friend, Cardinals manager, Red Schoendienst, to sign him. In 1965, Cleveland inked a deal with the Cards that included a $500 signing bonus.

After almost four years in the minors, Cleveland made his major league debut with the Cards on October 1, 1969, but it wasn’t until 1971 that he would become a regular in the St. Louis rotation. On the strength of 12 wins and 10 complete games that season, he was named The Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year. He followed that up with 14 wins and 11 complete games the next year, before registering his finest major league season in 1973 by posting a 14-10 record with a 3.01 ERA.

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