4. Denny McLain
The great Denny McLain was known not only for his performances on the mound but for his style and antics off the mound. He is the last pitcher to have won 30 games when he won 31 in 1968. That same year, he brought the Tigers to the World Series and he won the AL MVP and Cy Young Award. He also appeared in the All-Star Game. He won the Cy Young in 1969, too. He made it to three All-Star Games. When McLain stopped pitching for the Tigers after eight seasons, he had an ERA of 3.13 with a .654 win-loss percentage. In 1968, his percentage was .838.
During his time with the Tigers, he was known for drinking bottles of Pepsi between the innings and when he was at home. He was an accomplished musician who would entertain his teammates with his organ performances. He actually cut two records playing in Las Vegas. He appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show where he was accompanied by fellow pitcher Bob Gibson who played guitar.
While McLain’s performance on the mound is certainly worthy of a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, his history off of the mound is certainly not. Baseball seemed to be the only place that McLain could stay out of trouble. He was involved in gambling, embezzlement, and drug trafficking.
Today, he can occasionally be heard on local sports radio talk shows in Michigan.
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