Today in Tribe History: September 21, 1942

Sam McDowell is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It would not take long for the 6’5” lefty to reach the Majors, making his debut less than a week shy of his 19th birthday for the Indians on September 15, 1961. He became one of the top strikeout pitchers of his era and in the game of baseball as a whole, leading the league in strikeouts five times in a six-year span and finishing in second place in that other season.

His debut was a scoreless six and one-third innings, allowing three hits, striking out five, and walking five. His pitching style led to a lot of walks and wild pitches, as he was routinely among the league leaders in both of those occurrences as well.

“Sudden Sam” was an All-Star for the first of six times with the Indians when, at the age of 22 and already in his fifth big league season, he would go 17-11 with a league-leading 2.18 ERA and a career-high 325 strikeouts in 1965. He would make All-Star teams again in 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1971.

Following the 1971 season, he was traded across the country to San Francisco. The Giants, in return, sent shortstop Frank Duffy and pitcher Gaylord Perry to Cleveland. While the Indians were acquiring a pitcher several years older in Perry, the move paid off for Cleveland, as McDowell would appear in just 89 more games over the next four seasons with the Giants, the New York Yankees, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, and would be done in the Majors with his release midway through the 1975 season.

Perry would be traded away by the Indians just two weeks before McDowell’s release from Pittsburgh, but only after he gave the Indians 134 games pitched, a record of 70-57, and the club’s first Cy Young award.

Related Posts

Today in Tribe History: June 25, 2011

In one of the more unfortunate and unusual losses of the season, the Indians fell to the San Francisco Giants, 1-0, as the lone run of the…

Today in Tribe History: June 24, 1997

Less than three years after signing with the club, 21-year-old right-hander Jaret Wright makes his Major League debut in front of a packed Jacobs Field crowd and…

Today in Tribe History: June 23, 1968

For the sixth time this season, Luis Tiant throws a complete game shutout as he and his Cleveland teammates blank the Detroit Tigers, 3-0.

Today in Tribe History: June 22, 2001

The Cleveland Indians acquire the highly controversial John Rocker from the Atlanta Braves with a minor leaguer for relievers Steve Karsay and Steve Reed.

Today in Tribe History: June 21, 1956

The “Red Baron”, Rick Sutcliffe, is born in Independence, Missouri.

Today in Tribe History: June 20, 1951

Cleveland gets an impressive day at the plate from second baseman Bobby Avila as the Indians knock off the Boston Red Sox, 14-8.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.