Monday, September 28, 2015

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #172 JACK McDOWELL

BLACK JACK LOOKED TO ATTACK.



HIT THE RIGHT NOTES ON AND OFF THE FIELD.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Jack McDowell was all grunge all the time. A guitarist and fan of the Seattle sound that defined the 1990s, he was one of the most reliable starting pitchers of the decade, compiling 119 wins and more than 1,700 innings. McDowell always looked dour and anti-establishment with hat pulled low and scruffy facial hair. The White Sox black uniforms didn't hurt his persona, but it's a surprise he didn't trade his warm-up jacket for a cardigan sweater. During his peak from '90-'93, the pencil-thin White Sox ace averaged 244 innings and 18 victories. The AL Cy Young Award winner in '93, McDowell's split-fingered fastball often proved more befuddling than Eddie Vedder's vocals. Never shy to pitch inside or speak out, he caused a bit of a stir last year, saying, "There are guys in (the Hall of Fame) already that everyone knows (weren't clean). It's part of the deal.''

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On Sept. 29, 1992, McDowell, in his second to last start of the season, battled the Twins for eight innings only to get a no-decision. He threw 142 pitches, allowing an earned run and striking out seven, in the 5-4 loss. It was one of his prototypical hang-it-all-out-there efforts.

DEFINING SEASON

  • McDowell led the majors in victories in '93 with 22, amassing four shutouts, 256.2 innings, 3.37 ERA and 125 ERA+. He also allowed 261 hits but walked only 69. He easily won the Cy Young, but if advanced metrics were around then to marginalize the win, he likely would've finished behind #78 Kevin Appier (179 ERA+) and #154 Randy Johnson (135). 

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. A third-team All-American in '87, he helped lead Stanford to the national championship before being drafted by the White Sox in the first round.
  2. After pitching in only six games in the minors, McDowell made his major-league debut later that season and went 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA over four starts.
  3. Despite winning 91 games in seven years in Chicago, McDowell was traded to the Yankees in the '94 off-season for Lyle Mouton and Keith Heberling.
  4. Endeared himself to the Stadium Crazies by flipping them the bird after being booed off the field following a bad start in July 1995.
  5. Difficult as it might be to comprehend, McDowell spent the last two seasons as a Dodgers' minor-league manager. He was fired after this past season from the Arizona Rookie League team.

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