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Denny McLain

Denny McLain

Position(s):
P
Born:
March 29, 1944
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 1"
Weight:
185 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-21-1963 with DET
Allstar Selections:
1968 CY, 1968 ML, 1968 MVP, 1968 TSN, 1969 CY, 1969 TSN

Intro

Although he had won 20 games in 1966 and 17 more in 1967, few could have imagined what Denny McLain would accomplish in 1968. Pitching with a magical team behind him, the bespectacled righty won 31 games, becoming the first thirty-game winner since Dizzy Dean in 1934. McLain was rewarded with both the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards, and the next year he again won the Cy Young, posting 24 victories. At 25 years old, he was rich, famous and succesful. But then the wheels came off his gravy train, due to his own dishonesty and character flaws. Early in 1970, McLain was suspended by the commissioner for a previous gambling incident. Later that season he filed for bankruptcy, tossed water on a reporter, and was suspended for a gun violation. Traded to the Senators, McLain argued with manager Ted Williams, was suspended a few more times, and ended up out of baseball before he was 29 years old. After his playing career, McLain continued his troublesome behavior, and eventually wound up in a Michigan prison for rackateering and drugs.

Best Season

After winning nine straight decisions in June and July, McLain's record stood at 18-2. He won his 30th game on September 14, and had three more starts to go. Amazingly, he lost three games by the score of 2-1 and another 2-0, or he may have won 35 games. He lost his first two starts in the World Series, but rebounded to pitch a complete game victory in Game Six.

Factoid 1

At the peak of his popularity, in the 1968 off-season and during the 1969 season, Denny McLain worked as a headliner in Las Vegas and elsewhere throughout the country. He played the organ and sang.

PITCHERS WHO HIT A HOME RUN IN MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT

Player............Debut.......Inn...Team Henry Boyle..........07/09/1884....4....STL Scott Stratton.......04/21/1888....4....LOU Billy Gumbert........06/19/1890....6....PIT Bill Duggleby........04/21/1898....2....PHI Tom Sullivan.........05/15/1922....7....PHI Bill LeFebvre........06/10/1938....8....BOS Dan Bankhead.........08/26/1947....2....BRO Bobby Locke..........06/18/1959....4....CLE Denny McLain.........09/21/1963....5....DET Hal Haydel...........09/07/1970....4....MIN John Montefusco......09/03/1974....3....SFN Paul Moskau..........06/21/1977....4....CIN Jason Jennings.......08/23/2001....9....COL Source: David Vincent

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