Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sam McDowell (#295)

After being bumped 5 times (for Al Dark, Red Schoendienst, and 3 opening-day posts), Sam McDowell finally gets his turn. 

“Sudden” Sam McDowell was a hard-throwing strikeout artist who pitched for 15 seasons from 1961 to 1975, the first 11 seasons with the Cleveland Indians.

McDowell was signed by the Indians in 1960, and after one season in class-D ball, he jumped to triple-A in 1961. Sam made his major-league debut in 1961, pitching one game on September 15th.

In 1962, he played 25 games with the Indians, but spent most of June and July back in triple-A. McDowell was in the Indians rotation for most of ‘63 and ’64, except for a stint in AAA from July ’63 to May ’64.

Topps re-used the same photo in the 1969 set:

1965 was the beginning of a 6-year stretch where Sam was a dominant pitcher in the American League. He led the AL in strikeouts every season from ’65 to ’70, except for 1967, when he finished 10 strikeouts behind Jim Lonborg. Sam was also the ERA leader in 1965 (2.18), and won 17 games that season. He also won 18 in 1969 and 20 in 1970, and was a 6-time all-star.

After the 1971 season, McDowell was traded to the Giants for pitcher Gaylord Perry and shortstop Frank Duffy. After starting for the Giants in 1972, he worked out of the bullpen in 1973 until he was sold to the Yankees in early June.

Sam started for the Yankees for the remainder of that season, but was back in the ‘pen in 1974. Released after the season, he hooked on with the Pirates for his final season in 1975. After 14 appearances, he was released in late June, ending his career.

During his final 4 seasons, he never came close to the success he had with the Indians.

If a picture is worth 1000 words, what are 5 pictures worth?
(He missed the top spot in 1967 by 10 strikeouts) 

McDowell also hobnobbed with the ERA leaders from time to time:


Matt Runyon said...

One of my all-time favorite nicknames

Douglas said...

The name is great and nobody pulls off a facial scowl better than him in the 88 ERA card. I just finished Sam's bio the other day. My post is just a couple of cards away.

Douglas said...

I meant 66 ERA card shouldn't type in the dark.

Jim from Downingtown said...


Besides repeating his base card, notice how Topps used the same photo on the Strikeout Leaders cards in the 67, 68, and 69 sets.

Atlanta Braves Favorite Players of the 70’s and 80’s said...

TOPPS really lost something when they stopped doing the League Leader and World Series cards.

Jim from Downingtown said...


I know, right? Who WOULDN'T want cards with the best of the best on them? Instead, they make cards for players who retired 40 years ago, or of non-baseball people and events.

Another entry for the "That's just Topps being Topps" bin!