Sunday, March 29, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Cy Young and Denny McLain

Today's a unique Happy Baseball Birthday.

Denton True "Cy" Young was born on March 29, 1867, in Gilmore, Ohio.

Cy Young  won 511 baseball games as a pitcher in both the American and National Leagues between 1890-1911.

511 wins...that's why is called The Cy young Award.

Young pitched for the old Cleveland Spiders in 1892 winning 36 ball games, and won 28 games for the first World Series Champion Boston Americans, in 1903.

Cy pitched in 906 baseball games, completing 745.

Cy pitched his final game on October 6, 1911, for the Boston Rustlers.

Cy Young passed away at the age of 88 on November 4, 1955, in Newcomerstown, Ohio.

In 1937 Cy Young was Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

I wanted to do today's HBB once I saw that the man who's name graces the Cy Young Award, happens to celebrate the same birthday with just one actual Cy Young Award Winner.

Dennis Dale McLain was born on March 29, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois.

Denny McLain was the wonderboy pitcher for my Detroit Tigers, who, for two marvelous years, was the best pitcher in the American League.

Denny won back to back Cy Young Awards, 1968-1969, and is the last big league pitcher to win 30 games, in 1968, winning 31.

in addition to his Cy Young Award, McLain was also the American League Most Valuable Player in 1968.

Denny pitched for the Tigers, Washington Senators, Oakland A's, and Atlanta Braves, over a 10 year career...a career that flamed out as quick as it came, due to McLain's many off the field issues.

If you care to read about Denny's rise and fall, read this ESPN article.

For the Tigers, between 1963-70 Denny won 117 games in the Motor City, helping Detroit win the 1968 World Series.

I got to meet Denny at a card show here in Jacksonville a decade or so ago, and despite his time spent in prison, we try and remember the greatness that was the 1968-69 Denny McLain, the pitcher who captured our childhood imaginations as we pretended to be Denny on the sandlots in West Michigan.

Today is a special Happy Baseball Birthday Cy Young and a Happy Baseball Birthday #71 to Denny McLain.

Play Ball!

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