Starting Pitcher #5 – Denny McLain
Denny McLain’s inclusion on this all-time team has little to do with longevity and everything to do with peak. He only started 25 or more games in five of his eight years with the Detroit Tigers, but his two-year peak from 1968 to 1969 was about as good as any two-year stretch in team history.
He won the American League Cy Young award in both seasons, and the 1968 campaign saw him take home the AL MVP award as well. All of the accolades were well deserved as McLain racked up more than 660 innings (82 games started) in those two seasons with a 2.37 ERA.
McLain was the Tigers’ Game 1 starter for the 1968 World Series and, although he was the losing pitcher in that game, came back to toss a complete game shutout in Game 6 with his team’s back against the wall. The Tigers went on to win the series over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7.
All told, McLain pitched 1593 innings with the Tigers, posted a 3.13 ERA, and was named to three All-Star Teams.
Next: Middle Relief