Denny McLain was born on Wednesday, March 29, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois. McLain was 19 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 21, 1963, with the Detroit Tigers. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Denny McLain baseball stats page.
"He's (Denny McLain) a craftsman. He has a good over-hand curve, good motion, good changeup and control, and he can spot his fastball. With that he should win quite a few games." - Ted Williams in Kiss it Goodbye (Shelby Whitfield, Abelard-Schuman Publishing, 1973, Page 38)
Denny McLain Autograph on a 2012 Panini Golden Age Historic Signatures (#4)
Denny McLain Pitching Stats
Denny McLain Hitting Stats
Denny McLain Fielding Stats
Denny McLain Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Denny McLain Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1963 Detroit Tigers||34||$6,500.00||-||-|
|1964 Detroit Tigers||34||$8,000.00||-||-|
|1965 Detroit Tigers||17||$12,000.00||-||-|
|1966 Detroit Tigers||17||$18,000.00||Stats||-|
|1967 Detroit Tigers||17||$27,000.00||-||-|
|1968 Detroit Tigers||17||$33,000.00||Stats||Stats|
|1969 Detroit Tigers||17||$65,000.00||Stats||-|
|1970 Detroit Tigers||17||$90,000.00||-||-|
|1971 Washington Senators||17||$75,000.00||-||-|
|1972 Oakland Athletics||17||$75,000.00||-||-|
|1972 Atlanta Braves||30||" "||-||-|
|Denny McLain Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Denny McLain will historically be remembered as the last Major League pitcher in Major League history to win at least thirty ballgames during a single season and the first since Lefty Grove (31) in the American League (1931) / Dizzy Dean (30) in the National League (1930), but did you know that on the back cover of the musical album Denny McLain in Las Vegas, appeared the following quote, "I hope that the fans will remember me as an outstanding professional musician. That is my real goal in life."
When Denny McLain won his thirty-first game of the season on September 19, 1968 , he actually surrendered one home run, to Mickey Mantle , who passed Jimmie Foxx for third on the all-time list . Let's take a closer look at that truly iconic / absolutely historic moment, in Denny's own words:
Denny McLain ( I Told You I Wasn't Perfect , Triumph Books, 04/01/2007, Page 111)
My 31st win was a lock. Jake Gibbs grounded out to start the inning and Mickey Mantle was up next. Mantle was my idol. As a kid I wanted to wear number seven, hit from both sides of the plate, and play center field - just like The Mick .
Mantle was tied with Jimmie Foxx for third on the all-time list, with 534 homers, trailing just Willie Mays and Babe Ruth . But he had only 16 homers on the year and hadn't hit one since mid-August. After an injury- and booze-filled career, our beloved Mick was an ancient 36 years old and set to retire after the season.
When he emerged from the dugout for his last ever at-bat in Detroit, everyone in the ballpark and all the Tigers in the dugout stood and cheered him. With the pennant clinched and the game decided (McLain had a 6-1 lead), I signaled our catcher, Jim Price , to come to the mound. I told Price , "I want Mantle to hit one."
Jim Price , not the quickest of minds, gave me a dumb look and said, "Whaddya mean?"
I said, "Let's just let him hit one."
It was obvious that it still hadn't registered, and it made me a bit irritated. I said, "Look. I'm going to throw a pitch, and I want him to hit a home run. He needs one more to move up on the all-time home-run list ."
Price's eyes opened a little wider, and he said, "You're kidding, right?"
"Jesus Christ, Price , he can't hit a six-run homer!"
"Okay. How am I supposed to tell him?"
"All you gotta do is say, 'Be ready, Mick .'"
Price trots back in, and I see him say something to either home plate ump Nestor Chylak or Mantle . I figured it must have been Chylak because I threw the first ball on an arc, maybe 50 miles per hour, and Mantle takes it for strike one. I can't believe he didn't swing. Mantle turns around to price and says, "What the hell was that?"
Finally, Jimmie says, "Just be ready."
Price puts the glove in the middle of the plate, I throw it the same speed, and Mantle takes it for strike two. Now he's 0-2, and I'm thinking, "Is he that stupid? Does he really think I'm trying to set him up and trick him? Maybe I should just strike him out."
So Price comes trotting out, and I put my hands on my hip and say, "What the fuck? What are we missing here?"
I almost fell off the mound laughing. "Of course I'm going to do it again. Tell him to be ready this time."
Price gets back to the plate and says to Mickey , "Yeah, he gonna do it again." Everybody's smiling by now and everybody's pulling for him to hit a homer. I throw the next one the same way and it slides a little outside and Mantle barely fouls it off.
Now that it's obvious what's going on, I yell into him, " Mickey , where do you want the fuckin' ball?" And he puts his hand out about balls high on the inside part of the plate. I nod my head and throw it there - and Mantle hits a line drive into the upper deck just inside the foul pole.
Hitting a ball out of the ballpark, even in batting practice, is tough to do, so he still had to hit the ball. It shows you what kind of player he was, and at that moment, in my mind, he deserved it. It was surreal, as if in slow motion - so dramatic, well-defined, and so right - the ball soaring out and Mantle trotting around the bases drinking in the moment.
When he got to second he took off his hat and acknowledged the crowd. When he got to the plate, he looked at me, waved his cap again, and shouted, "Thank you."
As a final touch of class, someone in Tigers management had retrieved the ball from the upper deck and had brought it to the dugout. As Mantle stood there and acknowledged the cheers, Al Kaline rolled the ball across the diamond to Mantle .
Joe Pepitone was the next batter and, as soon as he stepped in the box, he smiled and put his hand belt high over the middle of the plate. I threw one at his chin, and all I could see where Pepitone's arms, legs and ass flying in all directions before hitting the ground.
The crowd and the press loved the entire Mantle - Pepitone drama, and most versions of it over the years have been pretty accurate. It was a Hall of Famer being honored in the best fashion of all, having him perform what he was most famous for. I cherish it as one of my warmest baseball memories.
We won 6-2, and I was 31-5. Mantle told the reporters afterward, "I'm a big fan of Denny McLain."
I just told them, " Mantle hit a good pitch."
About a week later, soon-to-be-fired Commissioner William Eckert sent me a letter saying that an investigation may be held for "compromising the integrity of the game." Jim Campbell called him and nothing came of it.
Mickey Mantle | Home Run #535 } The Denny McLain Gift
[Note: Mickey Mantle "remembers" the catcher was Bill Freehan, it was actually Jim Price.]
Hal Newhouser led the American League (A.L.) in game won in 1944 (29 wins), 1945 (25 wins) and 1946 (26), the first Detroit Tigers pitcher to ever lead the A.L. more than once (and the first from the team to lead back-to-back years). Since Newhouser , exactly three Tigers pitchers have matched his feat ( leading the league in wins twice or more), Denny McLain (31 wins in 1968 / 24 wins in 1969 ), Justin Verlander (19 wins in 2009 and 24 wins in 2011 ), and Max Scherzer (21 wins in 2013 / 18 wins in 2014 ).