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.
In 1975, Cleveland became the first Canadian to start a World Series game when he got the nod in Game 5. The durable righty pitched largely out of the bullpen with Texas and Milwaukee in his final big league seasons. In all, the Saskatchewan native won 105 major league games, ranking him fourth on the all-time Canadian list behind Fergie Jenkins (284), Ryan Dempster (132) and Kirk McCaskill (106).
CAREER MAJOR LEAGUE STATISTICS
To view Reggie’s season by season Major League statistics click HERE.