They don’t get enough starts. That’s how bad it hurts sometimes.”McLain nearly doubled his salary from $33,000 to $65,000 for 1969 and was scheduled to start the All-Star Game (though he arrived late because of a dentist appointment, a New York Times article noted. Asked whether his arm wound up feeling like rubber, McLain said, “It’s got nothing to do with rubber. Denny McLain is one of the great what-ifs in baseball history.McLain became baseball’s most recent 30-game winner in 1968, when he swept the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards for the world champion Tigers. “There’s one way. )But baseball did something in 1969 that foretold McLain’s problems, lowering the mound from 15 inches to 10 inches to counteract several years of domination by pitchers since the strike zone had been widened in 1963. Tom Shieber, senior curator for the Hall of Fame, said McLain is listed in an exhibit called "One for the Books," which names players who've won 30 games since 1893. Told that he lines up fairly well with Dizzy Dean (though more in terms of career arc than sabermetrics), McLain said, “I line up pretty well with Koufax, too.”“There’s a lot of guys that should be in the Hall,” McLain said. “I’ve always thought if you did something exceptional in the game that you deserved some kind of recognition in the Hall of Fame.”The question is how best to honor one of the most iconic pitchers of the 1960s and one of the most complicated characters in baseball history.He pitched a staggering 661 innings between his ‘68 and ‘69 seasons. Just during the time he was on the phone for this interview, McLain said he’d missed about 25 business-related calls.Despite his abbreviated career, McLain has no qualms about believing he belongs in Cooperstown. It was a mistake.”But he said that once allegations started swirling about him, many of them not true, his concentration went. It’s got everything to do with being able to wipe your own ass. His biography for the Society for American Baseball research notes how Sports Illustrated put him on the cover of a February 1970 issue, alleging he’d invested in a mob-related bookmaking operation three years before. In his eight-year Tiger career, McLain compiled a 117 - 62 recoord with a 3.13 ERA, winning two Cy Young Awards, one Most Valuable Player Award and was a three-time All Star.

He can next be considered in fall 2020 by the Golden Days Era Committee, which formed last year, and is scheduled to meet once every five years to consider people who made their greatest contribution to baseball between 1950 and 1969.McLain is one of four 30-game winners from the 20th century not in Cooperstown, counting Smoky Joe Wood, Jack Coombs and Jim Bagby. Full Site Menu. Years later, McLain would learn of Detroit’s response to falling short.“They tried to trade me like crazy in the winter of ‘67,” McLain said. > Denny McLain Statistics and History. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum) Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended McLain for much of 1970. His concentration went to hell.”McLain never got his concentration back, as he struggled through three more forgettable seasons with the Senators, Athletics and Braves.“When somebody passed gas in the top of the ballpark, I could hear them,” McLain said.Asked whether he ever felt that he could recapture old magic during those last few years in the big leagues, McLain said, “No, uh uh. Denny McLain was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. He estimates he had more than 140 in his career.“There wasn’t much consideration for, ‘Are we doing any damage to the guy by giving him all this cortisone?’” McLain said. During a telephone interview with Denny McLain, he recalled for the Hall of Fame the day five decades ago when he became the last big league pitcher to win 30 games in a season. They’d give you your injection. They don’t pitch enough innings.

He credits his wife, Sharyn, who he first married 53 years ago, to helping turn his life around.“Somehow or other, she thinks she can save the old boy and she did,” McLain said.Today, McLain’s life consists of caring for Sharyn, who has Parkinson’s disease, making speaking appearances and attending to his business interests.

You just run each horse until it drops dead.”McLain called cortisone the drug of choice for teams and doctors in the era. It can happen for any athlete.“I’ll give you the perfect example,” McLain said. Young and flippant, he began to say he would.“No, I didn’t mean it,” McLain said. 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.


He could be the last one for awhile.Asked whether there will be another 30-game winner, McLain said, “No, it’s impossible.