Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Denny McLain (#40)

Denny McLain was originally signed by the White Sox, but made his major-league debut with the Tigers in 1963. He returned to the big leagues to stay in the following season. McLain had a string of 5 excellent seasons from 1965 to 1969, with the high point coming in 1968, when he won 31 games and led the Tigers to the AL pennant. McLain and Mickey Lolich pitched the Tigers to victory over the Cardinals in the World Series. Denny was also the MVP in 1968, and won the Cy Young Award in 1968 and 1969. (McLain is the only pitcher to win 30 games since 1934.)

After the 1969 season, the bottom fell out for McLain, as he had off-field problems (including a suspension for gambling). Before the 1971 season he was traded to the Washington Senators, where he proceeded to lose 22 games.

After that season, it was on to Oakland and then Atlanta. The Braves released him prior to the 1973 season, but he played in the minor leagues in 1973 before retiring.

During his playing career, McLain was a popular nightclub organ player.

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