Ferkovich: McLain lost his 20th game at Tiger Stadium three years after winning his 30th

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at Detroit Athletic Co. on March 22, 2014:

It wasn’t even the biggest sports story in town.

Instead, it was the Detroit Lions who were generating most of the headlines on September 15, 1971. The day before, they had released popular Alex Karras after a 12-year career in Honolulu Blue and Silver. It seemed like that was all the news media wanted to talk about.

But there was still a baseball season going on, although the second-place Detroit Tigers really weren’t going anywhere at 9 1/2 games back. There was a certain intrigue that Wednesday evening at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. The lowly Washington Senators had arrived, and so had Denny McLain. It was exactly three years and a day since he had won his 30th game of the 1968 season at The Corner. But those three years seemed more like thirty. Times were different. On this particular night, Denny’s record stood at 10-19. One more loss and he would be just another 20-game loser.

It was Denny’s third game at Tiger Stadium in ’71. On May 23, he had dueled his old teammate Mickey Lolich, who threw a complete-game four-hit shutout, while McLain gave up four runs in seven innings of work. That had been a highly-anticipated game, with over 50,000 fans packing the rafters at Tiger Stadium to see their prodigal son make his first appearance in Detroit since his off-season trade to Washington. It seemed just like old times. Denny McLain could always be counted on to draw a big crowd.

Read the full article here: http://blog.detroitathletic.com/2014/03/22/mclain-lost-20th-game-tiger-stadium-three-years-winning-30th/

Originally published: March 28, 2014. Last Updated: March 28, 2014.