David Arthur McNally
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 190 lb.
- High School Central Catholic High School (Billings)
- Debut September 26, 1962
- Final Game June 8, 1975
- Born October 31, 1942 in Billings, MT USA
- Died December 1, 2002 in Billings, MT USA
Dave McNally was one of the first of the young Baltimore Orioles pitchers of the 1960s to reach the majors. McNally debuted in 1962, but didn't become a solid part of the Orioles rotation until 1965. He was a key part of the Baltimore staff that surprised the American League as the Orioles won their first pennant in 1966. McNally was chosen to start Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, wildness brought an early exit, which led to Moe Drabowsky setting a World Series record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher in the Orioles' Game 1 win. McNally redeemed himself in Game 4, firing a shutout to clinch the Orioles four-game sweep and bringing Baltimore the World Championship.
McNally suffered from a sore arm in 1967, but rebounded to become a 20-game winner in 1968. This began a string of four seasons where the crafty left-hander won at least 20 games and was among the best pitchers in baseball. McNally was a key part of the Orioles' rotation that led the team to three consecutive AL pennants and another World Championship in 1970. A highlight of McNally's successes over this period came with his bat, as he hit a grand slam against the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 World Series. In addition, McNally was part of the 1971 Orioles rotation which featured four 20-game winners (Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, and Jim Palmer joined McNally).
McNally remained an effective starter from 1972-1974, although his win total dropped during these years. He continued to be among the American League leaders in innings pitched during this period, but often did not receive the run support necessary to remain a 20-game winner. With young pitchers coming up through the Orioles farm system, Baltimore packaged him in a trade with the Montreal Expos that brought the Orioles Ken Singleton. Meanwhile, McNally pitched less than half a season in an Expos uniform in 1975 before deciding to retire. His contribution to baseball history had not ended, however.
In 1975 Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith played but refused to sign their respective contracts. After the season they claimed that they had played out their "option year" under the reserve clause and asserted that they were then free agents. McNally had no intention of returning to baseball at that time - he ran a series of successful automobile dealerships around his home town - but he agreed to join Messersmith to make it more difficult for the owners to pressure a single active player to drop his case, and thus not resolving the underlying issue. Arbitrator Peter Seitz's decision in favor of the players broke the power of clubs to renew contracts perpetually and opened the free agent era in organized baseball.
An oddity of McNally's post-baseball life came a number of years after his retirement, when he suffered from a severe case of the hiccups which persisted for a significant period of time. He died in 2002 from cancer at the age of 60. He is one of the few major leaguers from the state of Montana; he was the first of four major leaguers from Billings, MT (as of 2020), and one of only two to die there (also as of 2020). Coincidentally, in his last Major League start, he faced the San Diego Padres' Joe McIntosh, another native of Billings.
- 3-time AL All-Star (1969, 1970 & 1972)
- AL Wins Leader (1970)
- AL Winning Percentage Leader (1971)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 6 (1968-1971, 1973 & 194)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 4 (1968-1971)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1966 & 1968-1974)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1968)
- Won two World Series with the Baltimore Orioles (1966 & 1970)
- Roger I. Abrams: "Arbitrator Seitz Sets the Players Free", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 38, Number 2 (Fall 2009), pp. 79-85.