Touring The Bases With…Denny McLain
From 1968 to 1969, few hurlers could keep up with Denny McLain, the Detroit Tigers ace and workhorse. McLain went 55-15 in those two seasons and became the last man to win 30 games when he went 31-6 in 1968 and led the Tigers to an American League pennant and World Series title. McLain easily swept the awards that year, taking home the Cy Young and MVP awards in dominant fashion. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, he went 24-9 in 1969 and shared the Cy Young award with Orioles southpaw Mike Cuellar. He also finished sixth in MVP balloting and was the first pitcher listed.
During those two magical seasons no other pitcher won as many as 50 games, let alone came close to McLain’s 55. He led all of baseball with a .786 winning percentage, appeared in more games than all but Fergie Jenkins, and tossed an MLB-best 661 innings. He also fashioned a 2.37 ERA, fourth behind National League stars Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver and Juan Marichal.
Here’s an audio interview with the two-time Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star.