Dave McNally

David Arthur McNally (October 31, 1942 – December 1, 2002) was a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher from 1962 until 1975. He was signed by the Baltimore Orioles and played with them every season except for his final season with the Montreal Expos.[1][2]

Dave McNally
Pitcher
Born: October 31, 1942
Billings, Montana
Died: December 1, 2002 (aged 60)
Billings, Montana
Batted: Right Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 26, 1962, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
June 8, 1975, for the Montreal Expos
MLB statistics
Win–loss record184–119
Earned run average3.24
Strikeouts1,512
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Career

McNally is the only pitcher in major league history to hit a grand slam in a World Series[2] (Game 3, 1970, a 9–3 victory). The bat (lent to him by teammate Curt Motton) and ball are in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

He is also part of World Series history for his (and his pitching mates') performance in 1966, which the Orioles swept the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers. In the fourth game, McNally and Don Drysdale matched four-hitters; one of Baltimore's hits was Frank Robinson's fourth-inning home run for a 1–0 Oriole victory. McNally's shutout capped a World Series in which Baltimore pitchers set a Fall Classic record by pitching 33⅓ consecutive shutout innings, beginning with Moe Drabowsky's 6⅔ scoreless innings in relief of McNally (Drabowsky entered the game in the third inning and issued a bases-loaded walk that scored Lou Johnson—the Dodgers' second and last run of this Series) in Game One, followed by shutouts from Jim Palmer and Wally Bunker. The trio had pitched one shutout total during the regular season—that by McNally on August 6 against the Washington Senators.

McNally won more than 20 games for four consecutive seasons (19681971) and was one of four 20-game winners for the 1971 Orioles (Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer, and Mike Cuellar were the other three). He was the only pitcher other than Roger Clemens to win 12 decisions in a row 3 times, including 17 consecutive at one time. In 1968 he broke Barney Pelty's franchise season record of walks plus hits per innings pitched that had been set in 1906, establishing the new franchise record of 0.852.[3] After winning the last two decisions of the 1968 season, he opened 1969 with a 15–0 record; his first loss of the season came in early August,[4][5] and he ended the regular season at 20–7.

On September 24, 1974, McNally gave up Al Kaline's 3,000th career hit in Baltimore.[6]

In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Because of space limitations the Irish team, including McNally as left-handed pitcher, was omitted.

1975 free agent labor grievance

McNally is known for his role in the historic 1975 Seitz decision which led to the downfall of major league baseball's reserve clause, ushering in the current era of free agency. McNally and Andy Messersmith were the only two players in 1975 playing on the one-year reserve clause in effect at the time. Neither had signed a contract, but both were held with their teams under the rule. The two challenged the rule and won free agency.

McNally retired in June 1975,[7] and he had no intention of claiming free agency. According to John Helyar's book The Lords of the Realm, players union executive director Marvin Miller called McNally to ask him to add his name to the grievance filed in opposition of the reserve clause, and he agreed. The reason that Miller thought of McNally, Helyar wrote, was "insurance" in the event that Messersmith decided to sign a new contract. Baseball owners wanted McNally's name off the grievance, so the Expos offered him a $25,000 ($116,404 today) signing bonus and a $125,000 ($582,019 today) contract if he made the team. McNally declined. The hope was to have Messersmith sign at the same time, thus eliminating the challenge.

Career Statistics

W L PCT ERA G GS CG SHO BF IP H R ER HR K BB BB/9 WP HBP Fld% AVG SH
184 119 .607 3.24 424 396 120 33 11229 2730 2488 1070 982 230 1512 826 2.7 59 72 .961 .133 58

After baseball and death

After retiring from baseball, McNally owned car dealerships in his hometown of Billings, Montana, where he lived until his death from lung cancer in 2002.[2][8]

See also

References

  1. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Dave McNally". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Pitcher who also won in court dies". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 3, 2002. p. 2E.
  3. ^ Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Single-Season Pitching Leaders | Baseball-Reference.com
  4. ^ "McNally suffers setback". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). August 4, 1969. p. 3B.
  5. ^ "Sports scoreboard". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). August 4, 1969. p. 2B.
  6. ^ "Kaline surpasses a milestone". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. September 25, 1974.
  7. ^ "McNally retires from baseball". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). June 10, 1975. p. 1B.
  8. ^ Goldstein, Richard (December 3, 2002). "Dave McNally, 60, early free agent, dies". New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2017.

External links

1965 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1965 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 3rd in the American League with a record of 94 wins and 68 losses.

1970 American League Championship Series

The 1970 American League Championship Series was a match-up between the East Division champion Baltimore Orioles and the West Division champion Minnesota Twins. Like the year before, the Orioles swept the Twins three games to none. The Orioles went on to win the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.

(Note: Due to a one-day strike by major league umpires, the series was begun using AL supervisor Berry, veteran umpire Stevens—who had been used in a substitute capacity in 1970—and minor league umpires Deegan and Satchell, with the regularly assigned crew returning for Games 2 and 3.)

1970 Major League Baseball season

The 1970 Major League Baseball season. The Seattle Pilots relocated to Milwaukee and became the Brewers, thus returning Major League Baseball to Wisconsin for the first time since the relocation of the Milwaukee Braves to Atlanta following the 1965 season.

1970 World Series

The 1970 World Series matched the American League champion Baltimore Orioles (108–54 in the regular season) against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds (102–60), with the Orioles winning in five games.

In this series Emmett Ashford became the first African American to umpire in the Fall Classic. It also featured the first World Series games to be played on artificial turf, as Games 1 and 2 took place at Cincinnati's first-year Riverfront Stadium.

This was the last World Series in which all games were played in the afternoon. Also this was the third time in a World Series where a team leading 3–0 in the series would fail to complete the sweep by losing game 4 but still win game 5 to win the series. 1910 and 1937 were the others. This was the last World Series until 2017 in which both participating teams won over 100 games during the regular season.

1971 Baltimore Orioles season

In 1971, the Baltimore Orioles finished first in the American League East, with a record of 101 wins and 57 losses. As of 2016, the 1971 Orioles are one of only two Major League Baseball clubs (the 1920 Chicago White Sox being the other) to have four 20-game winners in a season: Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, and Pat Dobson.

1971 World Series

The 1971 World Series was the 68th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1971 season. A best-of-seven playoff, it matched the defending World Series and American League (AL) champion Baltimore Orioles against the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates, with the Pirates winning in seven games. Game 4, played in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, was the first-ever World Series game played at night.

The teams proved to be evenly matched, as the Series went the full seven games; the home team prevailed in each of the first six. In Game Seven in Baltimore, the Pirates' Steve Blass pitched a four-hit complete game for a 2–1 win over Mike Cuellar and the Orioles.

In his final World Series appearance, Roberto Clemente became the first Spanish-speaking ballplayer to earn World Series MVP honors. He hit safely in all seven games of the Series, duplicating a feat he had performed in 1960.

Twenty-one-year-old rookie Bruce Kison pitched 6⅓ scoreless innings and allowed just one hit in two appearances for the Pirates; he set a record of three hit batters in a World Series game (#4), which also tied the 1907 record for a World Series.

This was the first of three consecutive World Series, all seven games, in which the winning team scored fewer runs overall. The trend continued for the next seven-game series in 1975.

These two teams met again in the fall classic eight years later, with the same result, as the Pirates won the final three games to win in seven.

1972 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1972 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the 43rd such game, was played on July 25, 1972. The all-stars from the American League and the National League faced each other at Atlanta Stadium, home of the Atlanta Braves. The National League came away with a 4–3 win in 10 innings.This was the third All-Star Game hosted by the Braves (1936 and 1955), but the first All-Star Game to be hosted by the team in Atlanta (the previous two being hosted in their previous homes of Boston and Milwaukee, respectively). This would be the only All-Star Game played in Atlanta Stadium, as the Braves had moved to Turner Field when the exhibition returned to Atlanta in 2000.After seeing their 8 All-Star Game winning streak ended in 1971, the game would mark the start of an 11-game winning streak for the NL, the longest winning streak by either league in the exhibition's history. This was also the final All-Star Game for Roberto Clemente before his death in a plane crash on New Year's Eve.

1973 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1973 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing first in the American League East with a record of 97 wins and 65 losses. They went on to lose to the Oakland Athletics in the 1973 American League Championship Series, three games to two.

1975 Montreal Expos season

The 1975 Montreal Expos season was the seventh season in the history of the franchise. The Expos finished in last place in the National League East with a record of 75–87, 17½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dave Boswell (baseball)

David Wilson Boswell (January 20, 1945 – June 11, 2012) was an American right-handed pitcher who spent eight seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), all in the American League (AL), with the Minnesota Twins (1964–1970), Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles (both in 1971). He won twenty games as a starting pitcher during the 1969 Minnesota Twins season, the only time he achieved the feat during his major league career.

Boswell graduated from Calvert Hall College High School in 1963. He drew the interest of several major league teams. One was the hometown Orioles who had ranked him and Wally Bunker as the two best pitching prospects in the country. Not able to afford giving each of them huge signing bonuses, the ballclub only signed Bunker after being disappointed by Boswell's performance during his senior year. Boswell eventually signed with the Twins for US $15,000. Even though the New York Yankees had offered the same amount of money, he decided that his chances to make the majors were better with Minnesota.After debuting with the Twins in 1965, Boswell pitched for the Twins in the team's World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1966, Boswell's .706 winning percentage (based on a 12–5 record) led the American League. Following a 1969 game against the Detroit Tigers, Boswell got into a fight with teammate Bob Allison and Manager Billy Martin outside the Lindell AC bar near Tiger Stadium. After knocking out Allison with one punch, Boswell was in turn knocked out by Martin, resulting in a cut that required 20 stitches. Despite the off-field injury, Boswell would win 20 games in 1969, helping the Twins win the American League West.

During the American League Championship Series, Boswell lost 1–0 in 11 innings to Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dave McNally. He later revealed that he had suffered a career-ending arm injury during the game on a slider thrown to strike out slugger Frank Robinson in the bottom of the 10th. It felt like my shoulder went right into my jawbone," Boswell would tell the Fort Myers News-Press years later. "The arm would actually turn black and run all the way down to the elbow.

After being released by the Twins following the 1970 season, Boswell briefly played for the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles during the 1971 season.

Boswell was the losing pitcher in Catfish Hunter's perfect game on May 8, 1968.Boswell died of a heart attack at his Joppatowne, Maryland, home on June 11, 2012.

Dave Leonhard

David Paul Leonhard (born January 22, 1941) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1967 through 1972 for the Baltimore Orioles. Listed at 5' 11", 165 lb., Leonhard batted and threw right-handed. He attended Johns Hopkins University.

A native of Arlington, Virginia, Leonhard was signed by the Orioles as a free agent in 1963. He started his professional career with Class C Aberdeen Pheasants (1963–1964), and won the International League Pitcher of the Year Award while playing for the Rochester Red Wings in 1967, gaining a promotion to Baltimore late in the season.

In three games with the 1967 Orioles, Leonhard went 0-0 with a 3.14 ERA in 14 ⅓ innings of work. In 1968 collected a 7-7 record in a starting rotation that included Dave McNally (22-10), Jim Hardin (18-13) and Tom Phoebus (15-15), but with the emergence of Jim Palmer in 1969, he was relegated to the bullpen.

In a six-season career, Leonhard posted a 16-14 record with a 3.15 ERA in 117 appearances, including 29 starts, seven complete games, four shutouts and five saves, giving up 118 earned runs on 287 hits and 150 walks while striking out 146 in 337.0 innings.

Leonhard appeared in the 1969 and 1971 World Series (3.00 ERA in two games), and won a World Series ring in 1970 though he did not play in the Series. He also pitched with the Puerto Rican team in the 1971 Caribbean Series and for Triple-A Salt Lake City Angels in 1973.

Dick Drago

Richard Anthony "Dick" Drago (born June 25, 1945) is a former American League relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Kansas City Royals (1969-1973), Boston Red Sox (1974-1975, 1978-1980), California Angels (1976-1977), Baltimore Orioles (1977) and Seattle Mariners (1981). He batted and threw right-handed.

In a 13-season career, Drago posted a 108-117 record with a 3.75 ERA and 58 saves in 519 appearances (189 as a starter).

Drago played high school ball for Woodward High School in Toledo, Ohio, graduating in 1963. He was originally signed by the Detroit Tigers in the 1964 amateur draft, but was selected by the Kansas City Royals during the 1968 expansion draft. He started his Major League career with the Royals in 1969, becoming the ace of their pitching staff in 1971, after going 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA, and ending fifth in the AL Cy Young Award vote behind Vida Blue, Mickey Lolich, Wilbur Wood and Dave McNally. Finishing with a 3.01 ERA in 1972, Drago went 12-17, but declined with 12-14 and 4.23 in 1973. Drago's success was somewhat remarkable, given the fact that he consistently posted relatively low strikeout numbers. As a Royal, Drago was especially prolific in terms of finishing games, and with 53 complete games, he ranks fifth in Kansas City history.

Drago also pitched for the Angels and Orioles in part of two seasons, and returned to Boston for three solid years, saving 13 games with a 10-6 record in 1979. He ended his major league career with Seattle in 1981.

On July 20, 1976, Drago gave up the last of Hank Aaron's then-major league record 755 career home runs.

Eddie Watt

Eddie Dean Watt (born April 4, 1941 in Lamoni, Iowa) is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher. The 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), 197 lb (89 kg) right-hander was signed by the Baltimore Orioles as an amateur free agent on September 5, 1961. He played for the Orioles (1966–1973), Philadelphia Phillies (1974), and Chicago Cubs (1975).

Watt started just 13 out of the 411 games he appeared in, all during his rookie season. He was 2–5 as a starter and 7–2 with 4 saves as a reliever for the 1966 World Series Champion Orioles. He did not appear in any of the four World Series games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker, and Dave McNally all pitched complete games, and the team needed only one relief appearance, provided in record fashion by Moe Drabowsky.In 1969 the Orioles won the American League pennant and were upset in the World Series by the New York Mets. Watt contributed to Baltimore's 109–53 regular season record with a career-high 16 saves and a career-low 1.65 earned run average in 71 innings.

Watt was an important part of Baltimore's 1970 Championship season though it was not one of his best seasons statistically. He won 7 games and saved 12 with a 3.25 ERA in 53 appearances. He was the losing pitcher in the Orioles' 6–5 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds in Game 4 of the 1970 World Series. With the Orioles leading 5–3, he entered the contest in relief of Jim Palmer, who had allowed a walk to Tony Pérez and a single to Johnny Bench to open the top of the eighth inning. Watt surrendered a three-run homer to Lee May, the first batter he faced. The Orioles eventually won the Series, but the loss prevented them from sweeping the Reds in four straight games.

He was consistently effective during seven seasons of pitching exclusively in relief for Baltimore. From 1967 to 1973 he averaged 46 appearances, 67 innings, and 10 saves with an ERA of 2.40.

On December 7, 1973 Watt was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies for an estimated $70,000. In 1974 he appeared in 42 games for the Phils, going 1–1 with 6 saves and a 3.99 ERA. He was released by Philadelphia just before Opening Day in 1975, and he hooked on briefly with the Chicago Cubs, making his last major league appearance on June 14, 1975. He spent most of the season with the Wichita Aeros of the American Association.

Career totals include a record of 38–36 in 411 games pitched, 13 games started, 1 complete game, 240 games finished, 80 saves, and an ERA of 2.91. In 659.2 innings he gave up just 37 home runs, an average of about one per 18 innings, and had a very low WHIP of 1.188. He had a batting average of .190 in 100 at bats with 3 home runs, hit against Johnny Podres, Frank Kreutzer, and Sam McDowell.

Jim Hardin

James Warren Hardin (August 6, 1943 – March 9, 1991) was a professional baseball player who played in Major League Baseball, mostly for the Baltimore Orioles. Hardin was part of one of the best pitching staffs of the 1960s and 1970s, alongside Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Tom Phoebus, and Mike Cuellar. With Baltimore, he earned a World Series ring in 1970 and was part of the dominant 1969 American League champions who lost that year's World Series to the "Miracle Mets." An 18-game winner in 1968, Hardin pitched four and a half years with Baltimore, half of one season with the New York Yankees and one year with the Atlanta Braves. He finished his career with a record of 43–32 and a 3.19 ERA. As a starting pitcher he was an "iron man", registering 28 complete games in 100 career starts — a rate rivaled by few contemporary pitchers and even fewer current starters.

List of Baltimore Orioles Opening Day starting pitchers

The Baltimore Orioles are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Baltimore, Maryland. They play in the American League East division. The Orioles started playing in Baltimore in 1954, after moving from St. Louis, where they were known as the St. Louis Browns. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Orioles have used 33 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 60 seasons since moving to Baltimore. The 33 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 22 wins, 18 losses and 17 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.The first Opening Day for the Orioles was played in Detroit against the Detroit Tigers on April 13, 1954. Don Larsen was the Orioles' Opening Day starting pitcher that day, in a game the Orioles lost 3–0. Jim Palmer and Mike Mussina have made the most Opening Day starts for the Baltimore Orioles, with six apiece. Palmer has a record of five wins and one loss in his Opening Day starts, and Mussina has a record of three wins, two losses and one no decision. Dave McNally made five Opening Day starts for the Orioles, with a record of three wins and no losses. Other Oriole pitchers who have made multiple Opening Day starts are Steve Barber, Rodrigo López, and Jeremy Guthrie, with three apiece, and Milt Pappas, Dennis Martínez, Mike Flanagan, Mike Boddicker, and Rick Sutcliffe, with two apiece. Flanagan's two Opening Day starts occurred eight years apart, in 1978 and 1986.Palmer has the most Opening Day wins for the Orioles, with five. McNally's record of three wins and no losses in Opening Day starts gave him a 1.000 winning percentage, the highest in Orioles history. Flanagan's record of no wins and two losses is the lowest winning percentage of any Orioles' Opening Day starting pitcher. Flanagan and Mussina are the only pitchers to have two losses for the Orioles in Opening Day starts.The Orioles have played in two home ballparks. Memorial Stadium was their home park until 1991, and Camden Yards has been their home park since 1992. Orioles' Opening Day starting pitchers had a record of eight wins, eight losses and eight no decisions in 24 Opening Day starts in Memorial Stadium. They have a record of ten wins, four losses and two no decisions in 15 Opening Day starts at Camden Yards. This makes their aggregate record in Opening Day starts at home 18 wins, 12 losses and 10 no decisions. Their record in Opening Day starts on the road is four wins, six losses and seven no decisions, for an aggregate Opening Day record of 22 wins, 18 losses and 16 no decisions. The Orioles played in the World Series in 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979 and 1983, winning in 1966, 1970 and 1983. Their Opening Day starting pitchers in those years were Steve Barber (1966), Dave McNally (1969, 1970 and 1971), Jim Palmer (1979) and Dennis Martínez (1983).

List of Baltimore Orioles team records

This is a list of team records for the Baltimore Orioles baseball franchise. Records include when the franchise was the Brewers and Browns.

Mike Cuellar

Miguel Ángel Cuellar Santana (May 8, 1937 – April 2, 2010) [KWAY-ar] was a Cuban left-handed starting pitcher who spent fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and California Angels. His best years were spent with the Orioles, helping them capture five American League East Division titles, three consecutive American League (AL) pennants and the 1970 World Series Championship. He shared the AL Cy Young Award in 1969 and won 20-or-more games in a season four times from 1969 to 1974. He was a part of the last starting rotation to feature four pitchers with at least twenty victories each in one season. Cuellar, nicknamed Crazy Horse while with the Orioles, ranks among Baltimore's top five career leaders in wins (143), strikeouts (1,011), shutouts (30) and innings pitched (2,028), and trails only Dave McNally among left-handers in wins and shutouts.

Seitz decision

The Seitz decision was a ruling by arbitrator Peter Seitz (died October 17, 1983) on December 23, 1975, which declared that Major League Baseball (MLB) players became free agents upon playing one year for their team without a contract, effectively nullifying baseball's reserve clause. The ruling was issued in regard to pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally.

Since the 1880s, baseball owners had included a paragraph described as the reserve clause in every player contract. The paragraph as written allowed teams to renew a contract for a period of one year following the end of a signed contract. Owners asserted and players assumed that contract language effectively meant that a player could be "reserved," by a ballclub's unilateral contract renewal, year after year in perpetuity by the team that had signed the player. That eliminated all market competition and kept salaries relatively low.

In 1975, Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and McNally of the Montreal Expos had had their 1974 contracts automatically renewed by their teams on the basis of this reserve clause. Since neither signed a contract during that option year, both insisted that they were free to sign with other teams the following season. The owners disagreed, arguing that under the reserve clause the one-year contracts were perpetually renewed.

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) filed notices of grievance on behalf of both players on October 7, 1975. Eventually hearings were held on November 21, 24 and December 1, 1975 before an Arbitration Panel composed of MLB Player Relations Committee chief negotiator John Gaherin, MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller and Seitz, the Chairman and Impartial Arbitrator agreed upon by both opposing parties. Seitz ruled in favor of Messersmith and McNally on December 23, 1975, declaring:

Seitz's Opinion further stated:

In essence, the players were free to bargain with other teams because organized baseball could maintain a player's services for only one year after expiration of the previous contract. According to Gaherin, Seitz indicated soon after he heard arguments from both sides that he was leaning toward ruling for the players.MLB appealed the decision to the United States district court for Western Missouri, but Seitz's ruling was upheld on February 3, 1976 by Judge John Watkins Oliver, and later by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. After all appeals were exhausted, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association signed a new agreement in 1976 allowing players with six years experience to become free agents.

Wayne Granger

Wayne Allan Granger (born March 15, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1968, 1973), Cincinnati Reds (1969–1971), Minnesota Twins (1972), New York Yankees (1973), Chicago White Sox (1974), Houston Astros (1975) and Montreal Expos (1976). The 6–4, 165-pound Granger was one of baseball's most effective and durable relief pitchers during the early years of Cincinnati's famed Big Red Machine.Granger graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, Massachusetts. He attended Springfield College (Massachusetts) where he was a pitcher on the 1965 baseball team.Before his professional career began, Granger played two seasons in the province of Quebec in the Saguenay senior league—in 1963 for the Jonquiere Braves and in 1964 for Port-Alfred in 1964.Granger was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1965. He made his big-league debut at age 24 on June 5, 1968, in a 3–1 Cardinals win over the Houston Astros at the Astrodome, also earning his first save with one perfect inning in relief of starter Larry Jaster. The first-ever batter he faced was Bob Aspromonte, whom he struck out. The rookie sinkerballer went 4–2 with a 2.25 ERA in 34 games that season.

However, on October 11, 1968, the Cardinals traded Bobby Tolan and Granger to the Cincinnati Reds for Vada Pinson.

With the Reds in 1969 Granger posted a 9–6 record and 2.79 ERA with 27 saves in a then-National League record 90 appearances, and he won the first of two straight Fireman of the Year awards. The following season in 1970 he set a National League record with 35 saves (since broken) while going 6–5 with a 2.66 ERA in 67 games. That season, he ranked eighth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.

In June of that year, he threw the final pitch and also earned the last victory at the Reds' venerable home Crosley Field before the team moved to Riverfront Stadium.During Game 3 of the 1970 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Granger surrendered a grand slam to opposing pitcher Dave McNally. It is the only time in World Series history that a pitcher has hit a grand slam. The Reds lost the best-of-seven series in five games, and Granger never again pitched in the postseason.

In 1971 he again led the league in games pitched with 70, posting a 7–6 record with a 3.33 ERA and 11 saves. After the season the Reds traded him to the Minnesota Twins.

After one year with the Twins, beginning in 1973 Granger pitched for five teams in four seasons. Arm injuries cut short his career in 1976.

He earned induction into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1982, only the second Reds' relief pitcher to be so honored. He has since periodically returned to Cincinnati for Reds reunions including the annual RedsFest and Reds Hall of Fame inductions.

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