Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 SAM McDOWELL

Sam McDowell is definitely one of those guys I always wondered about the "what if's"?
Because of personal and on-the-field problems, McDowell, who was one of THE fire-balling pitchers in the majors during the 1960's, had his career quickly decline and sadly was out of baseball by the age of 32.
You have to wonder what his career numbers would have been, especially his strikeout totals, if he was able to pitch into his late-30's.
As it was he ended up with 2453 K's in 2492.1 innings to go along with a 141-134 record over 15 years, 10 of which were full seasons. To put that K total in perspective, if McDowell was able to pitch some full seasons consistently AND add an extra few seasons under his belt, let's say pitch until he was 36 or so, his strikeout totals could have been well into the upper 3000's. At the time of his retirement in 1975 that would have made him the all-time strikeout king since the standing record was Walter Johnson's 3509.
Anyway, by the time 1975 rolled around, McDowell signed with the Pirates in April after a season and a half in the Bronx, which made me wonder why Topps decided to not have him in their 1975 set as a Yankee.
I went ahead and designed a 1975 card for "Sudden Sam", but as a Pirate and not a Yank since this would have been the only card showing him in Pittsburgh.
It was tough finding a suitable image of him in a Pirate uniform for the "missing" card, but the one I eventually found was great because McDowell decided to autograph the photo on his own face. Something about that makes me chuckle. So I decided it all went well together and didn't Photoshop the signature out and reposition it.
Is that a mean stare or what?

A rough end to a rough career.

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