One of the most outstanding pitchers in Nebraska in the 1930’s and 40’s was Byron’s own Elia Grueber.
The 6-foot-5-inch fireballer had numerous strikeout pitches without ever having any real coaching.
On Feb. 8, Grueber will be inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame at Aunt Mary’s Restaurant and Events Center in Beatrice.
Grueber grew up on a farm near Byron during the Great Depression.
He was tall, loose and confident.
With no formal coaching, he developed a strong arm with speed to burn, a screwball, curve ball, slider and a knuckle ball that even catchers hated to see.
Often Grueber was seen in one town in the afternoon pitching a tough game and then traveled to another distant place to pitch that same night.
Without a doubt, Grueber was one of the most talented pitchers in the area and even the major league scouts saw it.
Elia was signed to a professional contract by the Brooklyn Dodgers and played in Newport, Ark., then on to Cheyenne, Wyo., to pitch in the Western League.
As Reuben Schleifer, another Hall of Famer stated: “I had the pleasure of playing with Elia including two trips to Wichita and the national semi pro tourney where we were both salaried. I saw many excellent hurlers but none better than Elia. He is a worthy addition to the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame.”