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From BR Bullpen
Samuel Edward Thomas McDowell (Sudden Sam)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 5", Weight 218 lb.
 Biographical Information
Sudden Sam McDowell was one of the major strikeout artists of the 1960's and 1970's, leading the league in strikeouts six times and finishing second a couple more times. He finished with 2,453 strikeouts in the majors. He also led the league in walks five times,and in wild pitches three times, as his basic approach to pitching was to reel back and fire away as hard as possible towards the plate. His wildness contributed to his very intimidating presence on the mound.
He broke in as an 18-year-old in 1961. No other pitcher on the staff was less than 23. Sam spent most of his career with the Cleveland Indians, winning 20 games in 1970. He led the American League in ERA in 1965 and was second in 1968.
He was traded to the San Francisco Giants for future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry after 1971 but he was already on the decline, even though not yet 30. Perry's best years were ahead of him however, even if he had been a consistent winner for the Giants for a decade.
Even in his last major league season, McDowell could still bring it. With the 1975 Pittsburgh Pirates, he appeared in 14 games with an ERA of 2.86 and 29 strikeouts in 34 innings.
McDowell played two games in the field during his career, including one at second base, an extremely strange development for a lumbering 6' 5" left-hander. Both events occured in 1970 under manager Alvin Dark and were intended to allow a right-handed pitcher to face one right-handed batter. On July 6, 1970, playing second base, he even recorded a putout with Dean Chance on the mound in the 8th inning, accepting a relay from 3B Eddie Leon to force out Frank Howard. He then returned to pitch the 9th inning and earn the win. His second appearance in the field, on September 2, was at a more logical first base, with Dean Chance again being the right-hander brought in to face two right-handers.
Drinking problems shortened his career.
"He's my best friend. He's my life-support system, I remember when I got out of rehab, I must have called that man every day, at every hour of the night, for four straight months. I mean, I was calling him at 5 in the morning, midnight, it didn't matter. He was always there when I needed him." Mike York to The LA Times in 1992.
 Notable Achievements
- 6-time AL All-Star (1965, 1966 & 1968-1971)
- AL ERA Leader (1965)
- AL Innings Pitched Leader (1970)
- 5-time AL Strikeouts Leader (1965, 1966 & 1968-1970)
- AL Shutouts Leader (1966)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 4 (1965 & 1968-1970)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1970)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1965 & 1967-1971)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1970)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 6 (1965-1970)
- 300 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (1965 & 1970)