Denny McLain

Dennis Dale McLain (born March 29, 1944) is an American former professional baseball player.[1] He was a pitcher in Major League Baseball for ten seasons, most notably for the Detroit Tigers. In 1968, McLain became the most recent Major League Baseball pitcher to win 30 or more games during a season (with a record of 31–6) — a feat accomplished by only 11 players in the 20th century.[2][3]

As a player, McLain was brash and outspoken, sometimes creating controversy by criticizing teammates and fans with little provocation.[4] His stellar performance at the beginning of his major league career included two Cy Young awards and an American League MVP award. His success in baseball stood in marked contrast to his personal life, where he associated with organized crime and was eventually convicted on charges of embezzlement, after which he served time in prison.[4][5]

Denny McLain
Denny McLain 1966
McLain in 1966
Born: March 29, 1944 (age 75)
Markham, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 21, 1963, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 12, 1972, for the Atlanta Braves
MLB statistics
Win–loss record131–91
Earned run average3.39
Career highlights and awards

Professional playing career

The rise to stardom

McLain was born in Markham, Illinois, and attended Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago, where he played on the baseball team as a shortstop and pitcher.[4] As a teenager he met his future wife, Sharyn Boudreau, the daughter of former major league player Lou Boudreau.[5] McLain was also musically talented, learning to play the organ from his father.[4]

Upon his graduation from high school in June 1962, McLain was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent, and was assigned to play with the Harlan Smokies of the Appalachian League.[6] McLain had a spectacular performance in his minor league professional baseball debut, throwing a no-hitter and striking out 16 batters in a game against the Salem Rebels on June 28.[4] After just two games with the Smokies, he was promoted to the Clinton C-Sox of the Midwest League, where he posted a record of four wins and seven losses.[6]

At the time, players with one year of service in the minor leagues were subject to a draft if they were not called up to the major leagues.[4] The White Sox left McLain in the minor leagues, and he was selected off waivers by the Detroit Tigers on April 8, 1963.[1] He progressed swiftly through the Tigers' minor league system, jumping from Class A Duluth-Superior to Class AA Knoxville during the summer. The Tigers saw enough promise that they decided to advance him all the way from Class AA to the majors, and he made his major league debut on September 21, 1963 at the age of 19.[1] His debut against the Chicago White Sox was almost as impressive as his minor-league debut, holding the White Sox to one earned run on seven hits.[4] He also picked off two baserunners and hit a home run, which was the only home run of his major-league career. McLain is one of only six teenaged pitchers to hit a major-league home run since 1920, a list that includes Hall-of-Famers Don Drysdale and Jim Palmer.[4]

McLain began the 1964 season with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League, but was called back to the major leagues in early June and ended the season with a won-loss record of 4-5.[1] He then played for the Mayagüez Indians in the Puerto Rico Baseball League, where he posted a 13-2 record and helped the Indians win the league championship.[4] He was called back to the majors in 1965 and continued to pitch well for the Tigers. On June 15, McLain set a major-league record for relief pitchers, when he struck out the first seven batters he faced after entering the game in the first inning to relieve starting pitcher Dave Wickersham.[7] He ended the season with a 16-6 record, a 2.61 earned run average, and 192 strikeouts, the third-highest strikeout total in the American League behind Sam McDowell and teammate Mickey Lolich.[1][8] Although he had a curveball and a changeup, he relied mostly on his fastball to get batters out.[4]

In 1966, McLain had a 13-4 midseason record and earned the role of American League starting pitcher in the 1966 All-Star Game, where he threw just 28 pitches to retire all nine batters that he faced.[9][10] He finished the season with a 20–14 record with a 3.92 earned run average.[1]

In 1967, the Tigers hired former major-league pitcher Johnny Sain as their pitching coach.[11] Sain helped develop McLain's pitching skills and taught him the psychology of pitching.[11][12] The 1967 season was memorable due to the tight four-way pennant race between the Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Minnesota Twins, and the Chicago White Sox.[4] McLain finished with a 17–16 record and a 3.79 earned run average but was winless after August 29.[1][13] On September 18, McLain reported that he had severely injured two toes on his left foot, saying that he had stubbed them after his foot had fallen asleep.[4] Going into the final game of the season against the California Angels, the Tigers needed a victory to force a one-game playoff with the Red Sox for the American League pennant.[4] McLain pitched ineffectively in the final game and the Tigers lost to finish the season one game behind the Red Sox.[14]

The year of the pitcher

Ten games into the 1968 season, the Tigers were in first place, having won nine consecutive games after losing the opener. McLain made controversial statements in early May by criticizing Detroit fans for being "the biggest front-running fans in the world."[15][16] He continued to win games at a remarkable pace, registering his 29th victory on September 10.[17] On September 13, he appeared on the cover of Time.[18][19] On September 14 at Tiger Stadium, McLain pitched the Tigers to a 5-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics in front of a nationally televised audience to become Major League Baseball's first 30-game winner since 1934.[20] Dizzy Dean, the previous 30-game winner, was on hand to congratulate him.[20]

After the Tigers had clinched the 1968 American League pennant, McLain added to his penchant for notoriety while pitching his 31st and final regular season victory in a game against the Yankees on September 19.[4] McLain had grown up idolizing New York Yankee center fielder Mickey Mantle, who entered the game tied with Jimmie Foxx for third place in the major-league career home runs list.[21] When Mantle—who was nine days away from his last major league appearance—came to bat in the eighth inning with the Tigers holding a 6-1 lead, McLain intentionally threw a soft pitch directly over home plate.[21] Other accounts said that he called catcher Jim Price to the mound and had him tell Mantle that he would be throwing only fastballs.[22] Mantle hit the pitch for his 535th career home run, putting him in sole possession of third place on the all-time home run list, behind only Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. As Mantle ran around the bases, McLain stood on the pitcher's mound and applauded.[5] Mantle tipped his hat to McLain as he rounded the bases.[22] The next batter, Joe Pepitone, waved his bat over the plate, as if asking for an easy pitch of his own. McLain responded by throwing the next pitch over Pepitone's head.[23] After the game, McLain smilingly denied that he had served up an easy pitch for Mantle to hit; however, he was later reprimanded by Major League Baseball Commissioner William Eckert.[4][21]

McLain completed a 31–6 record along with a 1.96 earned run average, as the Tigers led from start to finish to win the American League pennant by 12 games. He had 280 strikeouts and 63 walks, giving him a 4.44 K:BB ratio, a Tigers season record that stood until 2016, when it was eclipsed by Justin Verlander.[1][24] McLain also earned his second All-Star berth and won the 1968 American League Cy Young Award, as well as the American League Most Valuable Player Award, the first by an American League pitcher since Bobby Shantz in 1952 and the first by a Tiger since fellow pitcher Hal Newhouser's back-to-back honors in 1944 and 1945.[25][26][27] He was the first pitcher in the history of the American League to win the Most Valuable Player Award and the Cy Young Award in the same season.[28] St. Louis Cardinal Bob Gibson won the National League's Most Valuable Player Award that same year, making 1968 the only season to date in which a pitcher won the MVP Award in both leagues.

McLain's performance in the Tigers' 1968 World Series triumph over the Cardinals was not as impressive as his regular season.[29] Having already pitched 336 innings and 28 complete games during the regular season, a sore-armed McLain lost twice to Gibson (including a still-standing World Series record 17-strikeout performance in the opener) to help put the Tigers down three games to one. Trailing three games to two, McLain won the crucial Game 6 on just two days' rest, aided by a grand slam home run from Jim Northrup.[30] Teammate Mickey Lolich won three games during the series, including a complete-game triumph in Game 7 against Gibson, and won the World Series MVP award.[31] After the season, when McLain was asked about Lolich's performance in the World Series, he responded controversially by saying: "I wouldn't trade one Bob Gibson for 12 Mickey Loliches."[4]

The season became known as the year of the pitcher, with batting averages and run production dropping in both the American and National Leagues.[12] After the record home-run year by Roger Maris in 1961, the major leagues increased the size of the strike zone from the top of the batter's shoulders to the bottom of the knees.[32] Pitchers such as McLain and Gibson among others dominated hitters, producing 339 shutouts in 1968.[12] Carl Yastrzemski was the only American League hitter to finish the season with a batting average higher than .300.[12] In the National League, Gibson posted a 1.12 earned run average, the lowest in 54 years, while Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale threw a record 58 and two-thirds consecutive scoreless innings during the 1968 season.[12] As a result of the dropping offensive statistics, Major League Baseball took steps to reduce the advantage held by pitchers by lowering the height of the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10 inches, and by reducing the size of the strike zone for the 1969 season.[33]

The high life

McLain's success on the playing field led to endorsement opportunities from the Hammond Organ Company; he also made musical appearances in Las Vegas.[34] He was invited to appear with his musical quartet on The Ed Sullivan Show along with his World Series opponent (and guitarist) Bob Gibson.[35] McLain also made appearances on The Steve Allen Show and The Joey Bishop Show.[36] He also released two albums on Capitol Records, Denny McLain at the Organ (1968) and Denny McLain in Las Vegas (1969).[37]

In January 1969, McLain was selected as the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.[38] He created more disruption when he was named as the starting pitcher for the American League in the 1969 All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., but missed the start of the game because of a dental appointment in Detroit. The appointment was scheduled for Wednesday the 23rd, the day after the All-Star game, but because of a rainout on the scheduled date, the game was played on the 23rd.[39]

McLain was a nonconformist and liked to play by his own rules.[4] He had learned to fly and purchased an airplane.[4] Having kept his dental appointment, he then flew himself to Washington, arriving at the game during the second inning.[39] He pitched in the fourth inning, but by then the National League had already built a 9-2 lead.[40]

McLain created more dissension when he clashed with Tigers' manager Mayo Smith over the latter's role in the firing of Johnny Sain as the team's pitching coach.[2] Despite the troubles, McLain had another productive season in 1969, winning 24 games and a second consecutive Cy Young Award, tying with Baltimore's Mike Cuellar, marking the first time two players had shared the award.[1][41] It was the last award of his major league career.[1]

The downfall

In February 1970, Sports Illustrated and Penthouse both published articles about McLain's involvement in bookmaking activities. Sports Illustrated cited sources who alleged that the foot injury suffered by McLain late in 1967 was caused by an organized crime figure who stomped on McLain's foot as punishment for failing to pay off on a lost bet.[2] Early in his career, McLain's interest in betting on horses was piqued by Chuck Dressen, one of his first managers.[2] McLain's descent into his gambling obsession was further precipitated by an offhand remark made during an interview: that he drank about a case of Pepsi a day. (When he pitched, he was known to drink a Pepsi between innings.) A representative from Pepsi then offered McLain a contract with the company, just for doing a few endorsements. McLain soon realized that he and the Pepsi representative shared an affinity for gambling; when the two realized how much money they were losing, and that they could earn so much more by "taking the action" on bets, they attempted to set up a bookmaking operation as hands-off, silent partners.

McLain was suspended indefinitely by baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn; the suspension was then set for the first three months of the 1970 season.[42] He returned in mid-season, but struggled to pitch well.[4] McLain then received a seven-day suspension (from the Detroit club) in September for dousing sportswriters Jim Hawkins of the Detroit Free Press and Watson Spoelstra of the Detroit News with buckets of water.[4] Just as the seven-day suspension was about to end, he received another suspension from Kuhn, this time for carrying a gun on a team flight; the punishment would last for at least the rest of the season.[4] McLain's 1970 season ended with a won-loss record of only 3–5.[1] Later that year, he was forced into bankruptcy despite being the first $100,000 player in Tigers history.[4] Meanwhile, McLain and his friend Jim Northrup co-schemed to make more money; they were back in Detroit furthering a plan that they shared to generate a nude baseball model calendar. These efforts eventually fell short.

On October 9, 1970, McLain was traded by the Detroit Tigers with Elliott Maddox, Norm McRae, and Don Wert to the Washington Senators for Joe Coleman, Eddie Brinkman, Jim Hannan, and Aurelio Rodríguez.[43] Kuhn actually had to clear the trade because McLain was still under suspension, and suspended players cannot be traded without the commissioner's permission. Kuhn later wrote in his autobiography, Hardball: The Education of a Baseball Commissioner, that he was shocked at what he called a "foolish gamble" by the Senators, and predicted that the trade would turn out to be a Tiger heist.

The McLain trade was made over the strenuous objections of Senators manager Ted Williams, who had little patience for McLain's high living.[44] The feeling was mutual; early in the 1971 season, he became a charter member of the "Underminers' Club", a group of five players dedicated to getting Williams fired. They spent much of the season feuding over Williams' use of a then-unusual five-man rotation for his starters. Senators broadcaster Shelby Whitfield later told Rob Neyer that when Williams yanked McLain early from a July 5 game against the Cleveland Indians, McLain threatened to call Senators owner Bob Short and have him get rid of Williams.[45]

By this time, McLain had serious arm trouble, inadvertently made worse by numerous cortisone shots he took for his sore arm.[44] As a result, he essentially stopped throwing fastballs midway through the 1971 season.[45] Due to his arm troubles and his inability to get along with Williams, McLain went 10–22.[1] He thus earned the dubious distinction of going from leading his league in wins (tied with Mike Cuellar with 24 wins in 1969) to two years later leading his league in losses.[2] McLain's 22 defeats (a mark later tied by three pitchers, all in 1974) remains the most in a major-league season since Jack Fisher of the Mets lost 24 in 1965.

After the 1971 season, McLain was traded to the Oakland Athletics for journeyman pitcher Jim Panther and prospect Don Stanhouse (who went on to have a few good years as the Baltimore Orioles' closer in the late 1970s).[45] After only five starts, one win, and a 6.04 ERA, the Athletics traded him to the Atlanta Braves for Orlando Cepeda;[46] he went only 3–5 for Atlanta, and his overall totals for 1972 were 4–7 with a 6.37 ERA.[1] His final major league appearance came on September 12 against the Cincinnati Reds; he came into a tied game in the ninth and promptly gave up three runs without retiring a batter, taking the loss (coincidentally, the last batter McLain ever faced in the major leagues was Pete Rose, who also was involved in a gambling scandal years later).[1] The Braves released McLain during spring training, on March 26, 1973.[47] After short stints with minor-league clubs in Des Moines and Shreveport, McLain retired.[6] At the age of 29, he was out of baseball.[4]

Career statistics

In a 10-year major-league career, McLain won 131 games against 91 losses.[1] His career earned run average was 3.39 and he recorded 1,282 strikeouts in 1,886 innings pitched.[1] McLain was a three-time All-Star and won the Cy Young Award twice in his career.[1] Because he relied so much on his fastball, he also surrendered numerous home runs, leading the American League in home runs allowed in three consecutive years (1966–1968).[1][36]

Since McLain's 31-win season, only two other pitchers have approached the 30-game milestone (Steve Carlton won 27 games in 1972 and Bob Welch also with 27 victories in 1990).[48] With Major League Baseball moving from the four-man pitching rotation of McLain's era to five-man rotations, and with the increased reliance on relief pitchers, some observers believe that another 30-game winner may not occur because of the way the game is played today.[12][48]

131 91 .590 280 264 105 29 2 1,886.0 1,646 778 711 548 1,282 3.39 1.16

Post-major league career

McLain throws out the First Pitch on July 11, 2012 at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1974, McLain played a season for the London Majors of the Intercounty Baseball League at Labatt Memorial Park in London, Ontario, Canada. Because of his arm problems, McLain pitched only nine innings for the Majors, but played in 14 games at shortstop, first base, or catcher, and batted .380, including hitting two homers in one game in London.

McLain continued to earn side money playing the organ at clubs, including a club in suburban Detroit where former heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks worked as a bartender.[49] McLain also earned quite a bit of money hustling golf, easily attracting 'marks' due to his past baseball fame.[4] Additionally, he reportedly once accepted over $160,000 to fly a wanted felon out of the country.[4]

McLain's weight ballooned to 330 pounds (150 kg) during his post-baseball career.[2] He was imprisoned for drug trafficking (cocaine), embezzlement, and racketeering. Lawrence R. Greene—John Gotti Jr.'s later attorney—represented McLain before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. His conviction was reversed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa.[2]

Between his stints in prison and rehabilitation in the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, McLain could be found on various talk radio sports shows and occasionally on panel-format sports shows on network television in the Detroit area; he also modeled Hanes underwear.[50] He could also be found signing autographs at a metro Detroit 7-Eleven store at the corner of Mound Road and Metro Parkway in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where he was employed on work-release.[2] After his release, he also hosted a popular daily talk radio show for a few years on Detroit talk station WXYT.

McLain's oldest daughter, Kristin, 26, was killed on March 20, 1992, in a drunk driving accident.[4] She had been living in Florida and was moving back home to Michigan when she was killed just a few miles from her parents' home.[51] In part to escape his grief, McLain and several partners bought the Peet Packing Company (Farmer Peet's) located in the small town of Chesaning, Michigan in 1994. McLain was also a partner in the Michigan Radio Network. Both companies went bankrupt two years later. In 1996, he was convicted on charges of embezzlement, mail fraud, and conspiracy in connection with the theft of $2.5 million from the Peet employees' pension fund.[5] McLain spent six years in prison; to this day, he insists he knew nothing about the shady financial deals alleged by the government. McLain claims he paid restitution for this incident.[52]

During the Detroit Tigers 2006 playoff run, McLain was the baseball analyst for Drew and Mike on WRIF radio in Detroit. In 2007, McLain released his autobiography I Told You I Wasn't Perfect, co-authored by longtime Detroit sportscaster and author Eli Zaret. Prior to that, McLain and Zaret hosted a sports television show together in Detroit.

McLain currently resides in Pinckney, Michigan, with his wife, Sharyn. Sharyn had divorced Denny during his most recent incarceration but remarried him upon his release. McLain writes a monthly editorial column and blogs regularly for In Play! Magazine, a Detroit sports magazine.

Kevin Costner's character in the motion picture The Upside of Anger was partly based on McLain (and also partly on Kirk Gibson, another Tiger of World Series note).[53]

On April 11, 2008, McLain was arrested without incident after deputies discovered an outstanding warrant against him for failing to appear for a January 16 court hearing.[54]

On September 22, 2011, McLain was arrested in Port Huron, Michigan, at the Canada–US border after officials discovered an outstanding warrant against him from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. Because of construction detours, McLain had inadvertently taken an exit off I-94 sending him directly across the Bluewater Bridge and into Canada. He immediately returned to the U.S., where he was obligated to go through a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection booth. The outstanding warrant was then discovered, for which McLain was jailed in Port Huron, Michigan. In less than a week, the warrant was cleared and McLain was released.[55]

From 2017 to 2018 McLain hosted a Sunday radio show about life and politics on WFDF (AM).[56]

In January 2019 McLain and former local sportscasters Eli Zaret and Bob Page launched a podcast called "No Filter Sports."

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Denny McLain statistics". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Acocella, Nick. "From the big time to the big house". Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  3. ^ 30-Game Winners Since 1900. Baseball Digest. October 1988. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Armour, Mark. "The Baseball Biography Project: Denny McLain". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Thomashoff, Craig (March 2002). Fallen Star: The Downfall of Former Pitcher Denny McLain. Baseball Digest. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c "Denny McLain minor league statistics". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  7. ^ "Denny New Strikeout King". The Vancouver Sun. June 16, 1965. p. 29. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "1965 American League Pitching Leaders". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "1966 All-Star Game". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "McLain Set Down NL Stars On 28 Pitches". The Morning Record. Associated Press. July 13, 1966. p. 4. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Sargent, Jim (February 2004). Jim Northrup Recalls His Playing Days With Tigers. Baseball Digest. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "1968: Year of the Pitcher". Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  13. ^ "1967 Denny McLain pitching log". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  14. ^ "1967 American League Team Statistics and Standings". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  15. ^ "1968 Detroit Tigers Schedule, Box Scores and Splits". Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  16. ^ "McLain Blasts Detroit Fans". The Evening Independent. May 6, 1968. p. 3. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "1968 Denny McLain pitching log". Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  18. ^ Rushin, Steve (July 19, 1993). "The Season Of High Heat". Sports Illustrated: 5. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  19. ^ "TIME Archive". Retrieved December 26, 2011.
  20. ^ a b "Denny McLain becomes a 30-game winner". Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  21. ^ a b c "McLain now has 31 and Mantle has 535". The Ottawa Citizen. Associated Press. September 20, 1968. p. 19. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  22. ^ a b Wendel, Tim (2012), Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball – and America – Forever DaCapo Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  23. ^ Schwarz, Alan "The Day the Tigers Tipped Pitches for the Mick" The New York Times, Saturday, May 9, 2009
  24. ^ "1968 American League Team Statistics and Standings". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  25. ^ "1968 All-Star Game". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  26. ^ "1968 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  27. ^ "1968 American League Cy Young Award voting results". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  28. ^ Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.152, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
  29. ^ "Denny McLain post-season statistics". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  30. ^ "1968 World Series Game 6 box score". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  31. ^ "1968 World Series". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  32. ^ "Expanded strike zone unveiled". The Press-Courier. Associated Press. March 8, 1963. p. 9. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  33. ^ "McLain Says Lower Mound Will Take Toll of Pitchers". The Telegraph-Herald. Associated Press. January 14, 1969. p. 13. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  34. ^ "Denny Will Take More". The Evening Independent. September 6, 1968. p. 2. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  35. ^ "Gibby, McLain to Appear After Series". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 9, 1968. p. 22. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  36. ^ a b Rushin, Steve (July 19, 1993). "The Season Of High Heat". Sports Illustrated: 1. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  37. ^ "Denny McLain Discography". Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  38. ^ "Denny McLain Is Named Male Athlete of the Year". The Miami News. Associated Press. January 23, 1969. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  39. ^ a b "Denny McLain Returns in Time To View AL All-Star Disaster". The Day. New York Times News Service. July 23, 1969. p. 21. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  40. ^ "1969 All-Star Game". Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  41. ^ "Cuellar, McLain Involved in First Young Award Tie". The Free-Lance Star. Associated Press. November 6, 1969. p. 8. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  42. ^ "Kuhn Suspends Tiger Ace Denny McLain". The Deseret News. Associated Press. February 20, 1970. p. 8. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  43. ^ "Senators Get Denny McLain". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. October 10, 1970. p. 7. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  44. ^ a b Purdy, Dennis (2006). The Team-by-Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. New York City: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7611-3943-5.
  45. ^ a b c Neyer, Rob (2006). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders. New York City: Fireside. ISBN 0-7432-8491-7.
  46. ^ "A's Give McLain For Brave Cepeda". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. June 30, 1972. p. 1. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  47. ^ "McLain Released By Braves". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. March 27, 1973. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  48. ^ a b Niedzielka, Amy (August 1993). Will Majors Ever Produce Another 30-Game Winner?. Baseball Digest. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  49. ^ "Star-crossed stars cross paths". The Pittsburgh Press. Associated Press. February 27, 1989. p. 1. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  50. ^ Mitch Albom, "The Sports Reporters", April 13, 2008
  51. ^ Rushin, Steve (July 19, 1993). "The Season Of High Heat". Sports Illustrated: 8. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  52. ^ Coffey, Wayne (April 5, 2008). "On 40th anniversary of 31-win season, Denny McLain reflects on life". Daily News. New York.
  53. ^ "The Upside of Anger (2005) Trivia". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  54. ^ "Ex-Tigers pitcher McLain in jail after missing court appearance". Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  55. ^ "Former Tigers' pitcher McLain arrested on warrant". Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  56. ^ "Superstation 910 AM replaces Monica Conyers with Denny McLain".


  • Nobody's Perfect by Denny McLain with Dave Diles (The Dial Press, New York, 1975).
  • Strikeout: The Story of Denny McLain by Denny McLain and Mike Nahrstedt (Sporting News, 1988).
  • I Told You I Wasn't Perfect by Denny McLain and Eli Zaret (Triumph Books, 2007).
  • Thirty-one and six: The story of Denny McLain by Robert B. Jackson (H. Z. Walck, 1969).

External links

1963 Detroit Tigers season

The 1963 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished tied for fifth place in the American League with a record of 79–83, 25½ games behind the New York Yankees.

1968 Detroit Tigers season

The 1968 Detroit Tigers won the 1968 World Series, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals four games to three. The 1968 baseball season, known as the "Year of the Pitcher", was the Detroit Tigers' 68th since they entered the American League in 1901, their eighth pennant, and third World Series championship. Detroit pitcher Denny McLain won the Cy Young Award and was named the American League's Most Valuable Player after winning 31 games. Mickey Lolich pitched three complete games in the World Series – and won all three – to win World Series MVP honors.

1968 Major League Baseball season

The 1968 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 10 to October 10, 1968. It was the last season of the traditional two-league system before each of the leagues were split into divisions for the following season. It featured the most dominant pitching year of the modern era, and the first season of the Oakland Athletics (having moved from Kansas City after the 1967 season). The 1968 season was the last year of baseball's pre-playoffs era, in which the team that finished in first place in each league went directly to the World Series to face each other for the "World Championship." Following the addition of expansion teams in 1961 and 1962, the regular season was extended from 154 games to 162 games. In order to maintain a 162-game season, a playoff system was developed following the addition of expansion teams in 1969.

1968 World Series

The 1968 World Series featured the American League champion Detroit Tigers against the National League champion (and defending World Series champion) St. Louis Cardinals, with the Tigers winning in seven games for their first championship since 1945, and the third in their history.

The Tigers came back from a 3–1 deficit to win three in a row, largely on the arm of MVP Mickey Lolich, who as of 2019 remains the last pitcher to earn three complete-game victories in a single World Series. (The three World Series wins were duplicated by Randy Johnson in 2001, but Johnson started only two of his games.) In his third appearance in the Series, Lolich had to pitch after only two days' rest in the deciding Game 7, because regular-season 31-game winner Denny McLain was moved up to Game 6 – also on two days' rest. In Game 5, the Tigers' hopes for the title would have been very much in jeopardy had Bill Freehan not tagged out Lou Brock in a home plate collision, on a perfect throw from left fielder Willie Horton, when Brock elected not to slide and went in standing up.

The 1968 season was tagged "The Year of the Pitcher", and the Series featured dominant performances from Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson, MVP of the 1964 and 1967 World Series. Gibson came into the World Series with a regular-season earned run average (ERA) of just 1.12, a modern era record, and he pitched complete games in Games 1, 4, and 7. He was the winning pitcher in Games 1 and 4. In Game 1, he threw a shutout, striking out a Series record of 17 batters, besting Sandy Koufax's 1963 record by two. The 17 strikeouts still stands as the World Series record today. In Game 4, a solo home run by Jim Northrup was the only offense the Tigers were able to muster, as Gibson struck out ten batters. In Game 7, Gibson was defeated by series MVP Lolich, allowing three runs on four straight hits in the decisive seventh inning, although the key play was a Northrup triple that was seemingly misplayed by center fielder Curt Flood and could have been the third out with no runs scoring.

The World Series saw the Cardinals lose a Game 7 for the first time in their history. The Tigers were the third team to come back from a three-games-to-one deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, the first two being the 1925 Pirates and the 1958 Yankees. Since then, the 1979 Pirates, the 1985 Royals, and the 2016 Cubs accomplished this feat.

Detroit manager Mayo Smith received some notoriety for moving outfielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop for the 1968 World Series, which has been called one of the gutsiest coaching moves in sports history by multiple sources. Stanley, who replaced the superior fielding but much weaker hitting Ray Oyler, would make two errors in the Series, neither of which led to a run.

This was also the final World Series played prior to Major League Baseball's 1969 expansion, which coincided with the introduction of divisional play and the League Championship Series.

All seven games of NBC's TV coverage were preserved on black-and-white kinescopes by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and circulate among collectors. Games 1 and 5 have been commercially released; these broadcasts, and that of Game 7, were frequently shown on CSN (Classic Sports Network) and ESPN Classic in the 1990s and 2000s.

1968 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1968 throughout the world.

1970 in Michigan

Events from the year 1970 in Michigan.

The Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) each selected the state's top news stories as follows:

The controversy over public funding to parochial schools, including the Michigan Legislature's enacting of a measure granting state aid and a subsequent petition drive and constitutional amendment prohibiting such aid (AP-1, UPI-1);

Contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and automobile manufacturers and a 67-day strike against General Motors that causes widespread layoffs and budget cuts (AP-2 [strike], AP-7 [effects of strike on state economy], UPI-2 [new contracts and GM strike];

The trial and conviction of John Norman Collins for killing Eastern Michigan University student Karen Sue Beineman, one of the Michigan murders (AP-3, UPI-3);

The death of Walter Reuther and his wife in a plane crash on May 9 at Pellston, Michigan (AP-4, UPI-5);

The November 1970 elections in which William Milliken was elected Governor and Philip Hart was re-elected as U.S. Senator (AP-5, UPI-4);

The multiple suspensions of Denny McLain and his later trade to the Washington Senators (AP-6, UPI-7);

The discovery of mercury in Lake St. Clair fish and the Michigan Legislature's passage of a law allowing private citizens to sue polluters (AP-8 [mercury], AP-12 [legislation], UPI-6 [both]);

The Goose Lake International Music Festival held from August 7 to 9 with widespread drug use (AP-9, UPI-8);

A Supreme Court decision requiring public schools to provide free textbooks (AP-11, UPI-9); and

(tie) The kidnap and murder of Laurie Murningham and austerity measures adopted by the Michigan Legislature (UPI-10).The AP and UPI also selected the state's top sports stories as follows:

Denny McLain who was suspended in connection with a gambling controversy and then traded to the Washington Senators on October 9 (AP-1 [suspension], AP-8 [trade], UPI-1 [both]);

The Detroit Tigers replacing Mayo Smith with Billy Martin as the team's manager (AP-6, UPI-2);

The 1969 Michigan Wolverines football team's 10–3 loss to USC in the 1970 Rose Bowl, head coach Bo Schembechler's heart attack prior to the game, and his recovery from the heart attack (AP-3, UPI-3 [Rose Bowl] and UPI-8 [recovery from heart attack]);

The 1970 Detroit Lions' finishing their season with five consecutive victories and their best record (10–4) since 1962 (AP-2, UPI-4);

The 1970 Michigan Wolverines football team's winning its first nine games before losing to Ohio State, 20–9, on November 21 (AP-5, UPI-5);

The Detroit Pistons' signing of their No. 1 draft pick Bob Lanier and then starting their 1970–71 season with a 12–1 record and 26–14 at the end of 1970 (AP-4 [both], UPI-7 [signing Lanier] and UPI-9 [fast start]);

Ralph Simpson's decision to quit the Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team to play professional basketball for the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association (AP-7, UPI-6);

The 1970 Detroit Tigers' collapse during the last part of the season, compiling a 9–26 record from August 25 to September 29 (AP-9);

The Detroit Titans men's basketball team staging a preseason boycott to protest the coaching policies of Jim Harding (AP-10); and

The arrests of 11 men in connection with a Detroit-based sports national betting ring on New Year's Day (UPI-10).

1971 Washington Senators season

The 1971 Washington Senators season involved the Senators finishing fifth in the American League East with a record of 63 wins and 96 losses. This was the Senators' 11th and last season in Washington, D.C., as they moved to Arlington, Texas the following season, becoming the Texas Rangers. The move would leave Washington without a Major League Baseball team for 34 years until the Montreal Expos of the National League relocated there in 2005, becoming the current Washington Nationals.

1972 Oakland Athletics season

The 1972 Oakland Athletics season involved the A's winning the American League West with a record of 93 wins and 62 losses. In the playoffs, they defeated the Detroit Tigers in a five-game ALCS, followed by a seven-game World Series, in which they defeated the Cincinnati Reds for their first World Championship since 1930, when the club was in Philadelphia.

1978 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1978 introduced a new system that would continue to 1994. The special committee on Negro Leagues had disbanded after its 1977 meeting. Two of its members were appointed to the Veterans Committee, as part of expanding that body from twelve to eighteen members, and its responsibilities were extended to cover the Negro Leagues. Where the special committee had elected nine people in seven years from 1971, the expanded Veterans Committee would elect two in seventeen years up to 1994, before the next reform.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Eddie Mathews.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected Addie Joss and Larry MacPhail.

Bob Page (sportscaster)

Bob Page is an American sportscaster. In 1991, he was named Howard Cosell's successor on ABC Radio's Speaking of Sports, a twice-daily national commentary. Simultaneously, he was the lead anchor and original anchor of Sports Desk on MSG Network, an Eastern regional television sports network.

A magna cum laude graduate of Michigan State University, Page began his career in 1974 at Lansing, Michigan's WJIM-TV and radio. From there he worked 12 years in his hometown of Detroit at various stations, winning a national cable ACE award for co-hosting the show Sports View Today. He moved to New York City in 1988 to accept the MSG position. While there he was nominated two more times for the ACE award as best in-studio sports host in the United States. He was also nominated for a New York Emmy in 1990-91 for outstanding on-camera achievement.

In January of 2019, sportscaster Eli Zaret launched "No Filter Sports Podcast," a one-hour show on controversial topics in sports and sports humor. The program features Bob Page and former Detroit Tigers star pitcher Denny McLain and is also heard on iHeartRadio, carried by stations in Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. It is produced under the auspices of Red Shovel Network in Detroit and its founder, Detroit radio personality Drew Lane.

Bobby Higginson

Robert Leigh Higginson (born August 18, 1970) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Detroit Tigers where he wore the number 4. He attended Frankford High School and Temple University.

Higginson was drafted by the Tigers in the 12th round of the 1992 MLB Draft. His rookie year was 1995 when he played 130 games for the Tigers. Higginson batted .320 in 1996 and .300 in 2000, scored over 100 runs in 2000 and drove in over 100 runs in 1997 and 2000. His career high of 30 home-runs came also in 2000. He twice led the Majors in outfield assists, and also led all American League left fielders in putouts in 2000 (305) and 2001 (321), although he never won a Gold Glove for his fielding. He was never named to an All-Star team.

On June 30 and July 1, 1997, Higginson tied a major league record by hitting four home runs in four consecutive at bats (note, there were some walks interspersed) -- three on the first day, and then another in the first inning of the second day.Higginson was named "Tiger of the Year" by the Detroit chapter of the BBWAA in 1997 and 2000. Since the award's inception in 1965, ten players have been named "Tiger of the Year" on multiple occasions: Higginson, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Travis Fryman, Cecil Fielder, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Kirk Gibson, Ron LeFlore, and Denny McLain.An elbow injury limited Higginson to 10 games in 2005, which ended up being his final season. He was granted free agency on October 31, and he retired at the age of 35. He ended his career never having played on a team that had a winning season.

Higginson is also known for breaking up a no-hitter in the ninth inning and two out on a game in Toronto on September 27, 1998, with a pinch-hit home run. The pitcher, future All-Star Roy Halladay, was making his second ever appearance, and ended up winning his first career game, 2–1.

Chips Sobek

George Edward "Chips" Sobek (February 10, 1920 – April 9, 1990) was a player in the National Basketball Association. He played with the Sheboygan Red Skins during the 1949-50 NBA season. Sobek had also played in the National Basketball League, most notably for the Toledo Jeeps.

A native of Hammond, Indiana, Sobek attended Notre Dame, where he earned All-American status in 1941, as chosen by Madison Square Garden, although he did not make the consensus team. After graduating from Notre Dame, he would also play a season with the Naval Station Great Lakes while under service with them.

Sobek also played professional baseball, spending three years in the minor leagues. With the 1946 Superior Blues, he led Northern League second basemen in fielding percentage (.964), double plays (61), putouts (353) and assists (322). He hit .308/~.368/.371. In 1948, he hit .297 for the Hot Springs Bathers and had a cup of coffee with the Waterloo White Hawks. In 1949, he hit .244 for Superior to conclude his playing career.

Sobek was later a Chicago White Sox scout from 1950 to 1984, signing Denny McLain (most notably), Steve Trout, and Mike Squires. He also managed several seasons in the Sox organization. He also scouted for the San Francisco Giants from 1985 to 1988.

Sobek was the athletic director and baseball coach at Thornton Fractional High School in Calumet City, IL for 26 years and he directed the White Sox Boys Camp in Chilton, WI.

Sobek also was a longtime college basketball referee, notably for the Big Ten Conference. He was an official in at least one small college championship contest.

Cy Young Award

The Cy Young Award is given annually to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), one each for the American League (AL) and National League (NL). The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955. The award was originally given to the single best pitcher in the major leagues, but in 1967, after the retirement of Frick, the award was given to one pitcher in each league.Each league's award is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, with one representative from each team. As of the 2010 season, each voter places a vote for first, second, third, fourth and fifth place among the pitchers of each league. The formula used to calculate the final scores is a weighted sum of the votes. The pitcher with the highest score in each league wins the award. If two pitchers receive the same number of votes, the award is shared. The current formula started in the 2010 season. Before that, dating back to 1970, writers voted for three pitchers, with the formula of 5 points for a first place vote, 3 for a second place vote and 1 for a third place vote. Prior to 1970, writers only voted for the best pitcher and used a formula of one point per vote.

Detroit Tigers award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Detroit Tigers professional baseball team.

Federal Correctional Institution, McKean

The Federal Correctional Institution, McKean (FCI McKean) is a medium-security United States federal prison for male inmates in Pennsylvania. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. An adjacent satellite prison camp houses minimum-security male offenders.

FCI McKean is located in northwest Pennsylvania between the towns of Bradford and Kane, 90 miles south of Buffalo, New York.

London Majors

The London Majors are an independent, minor league baseball team of the semi-pro Intercounty Baseball League. The team was founded in 1925, and is based in London, Ontario. They play their home games at the 5,200 seat Labatt Memorial Park.

Marty Pattin

Martin William Pattin (April 6, 1943 – October 3, 2018) was an American professional baseball player who played in the Major League Baseball as a right-handed pitcher. He pitched for the California Angels (1968), Seattle Pilots (1969), Milwaukee Brewers (1970–1971), Boston Red Sox (1972–1973), and the Kansas City Royals (1974–1980). During a 13-year baseball career, Pattin compiled 114 wins, 1,179 strikeouts, and a 3.62 earned run average (ERA). He had a pitching motion that resembled Denny McLain with a high leg kick.


McLain is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Denny McLain, American baseball player

Hardy McLain (born 1952), American hedge fund manager

Jeremiah McLain Rusk, American politician, 15th governor of the state of Wisconsin

Raymond S. McLain, American military general

Ellen McLain, American voice actor

Tommy McLain, American singerFictional characters:

Ember McLain, character from the animated series Danny Phantom

Willie Hernández

Guillermo "Willie" Hernández Villanueva (born November 14, 1954) is a former relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs (1977–1983), Philadelphia Phillies (1983), and Detroit Tigers (1984–1989). He threw and batted left-handed. Hernández utilized the screwball.In 1984, Hernandez became only the third player ever to win the Cy Young Award, the MVP Award, and the World Series title all in the same season (Sandy Koufax was the first to accomplish this feat, in 1963 and Denny McLain did it in 1968.)

Sporting News Sportsman/Pro Athlete of the Year


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