Denny McLain, Baseball’s Last 30 Game Winner, on the Lockdowns
(This article features an exclusive interview with baseball legend Denny McLain.)
The destruction of small businesses and widespread violence have been two devastating, regressive developments in America in 2020. By May, due to Covid-19 shutdowns, more than 100,000 small businesses had permanently closed in the US. At a time when Americans of all races could have been uniting with small business owners such as hair salon owner Shelley Luther in Texas to demand the restoration of their livelihoods, instead looting and rioting began in Minneapolis on May 26th. Blacks and whites were set against each other using the effective tactic of divide and rule with the media playing the key role. The violence continued in 34 U.S. cities as BLM and politicians called for defunding the police. Cultural events such as sports and music were also shut down, so there was no outlet to unite people of all races.
This has been the most violent and racially divisive time in America since 1968. That’s when Denny McLain was having his greatest year in baseball, pitching for the Detroit Tigers: he won 31 games, the Cy Young Award (the first of two), the Most Valuable Player Award (the only player in baseball history to win both awards in the same season) and made the All-Star team. The Tigers won the World series that year too. McLain is baseball’s last 30 game winner. “We had Vietnam going on,” McLain recalls, “and there was a lot of civil unrest.” In the aftermath of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. – an outspoken opponent of the war – riots had broken out in 100 cities.
The Covid-19 shutdowns have adversely impacted McLain too. A gifted athlete and musician, he has never worked for the government or a corporation; he has always been an entrepreneur and businessman. He has not been able to travel around the country to sports trade shows, schools, malls, theatres and other venues where he signs autographs on baseball memorabilia, talks with and poses for photos with fans. Still passionate about and an expert on baseball, he loved interacting with his fans and did so at 170 events in 2019.
In 1967 when he was playing with the Ti
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