Thursday, August 26, 2010

#343 Mike McCormick

If I had to describe Mike McCormick in one word, that word would be "squinty". BONUS FUN FACT! He is just one of three major leaguers by that name. The first was a Scottish native who played third base for the Brooklyn Superbas in 1904, and the second patrolled the outfield for several teams in the 1940s.

Fun facts about Mike McCormick:

-Mike hailed from Pasadena, CA and garnered attention as a 17-year-old American Legion pitcher. He threw four no-hitters, struck out 26 batters in a game, and won 49 games total.

-The Giants (still in New York at the time) signed him in 1956 as a $60,000 bonus baby and he saw action in three big league games before turning 18.

-He was eased into the team's rotation over the span of a few years, and went 11-8 with eight complete games in his second full season.

-In 1959, he managed a rare feat, pitching a no-hitter while allowing a hit. *record scratch* Yes, he completed five hitless innings on June 12 at Philadelphia before surrendering a hit in the sixth frame. However, rain stopped the game before the inning could be completed, and per the rules, the game was official after five innings, with the incomplete sixth being wiped out!

-Mike was an All-Star for the first time at 21, as he led all National League pitchers in 1960 with a 2.70 ERA and completed a career-high 15 games to match his win total. He repeated as an All-Star the following year.

-The mid-Sixties were a forgettable time for the southpaw, as he lost his regular spot in the San Francisco rotation in 1962, was traded to Baltimore the following year and won only six of 21 starts, spent most of 1964 at AAA Rochester, and had to regain his form with a two-year exile to the American League basement (located in Washington, D.C.).

-Returning to the Giants in 1967, all seemed right in Mike's world once more. He won the first National League Cy Young Award (one award had been given across both leagues previously) and finished sixth in MVP voting. His stats, with N.L. ranks in parentheses: 22-10 record (1st), 2.85 ERA (missed top ten by .09), 14 complete games (7th), five shutouts (2nd). He was also chosen as the league's Comeback Player of the Year, though the voters were likely looking at his win total only; he'd had a 3.46 ERA (101 ERA+) for the Senators in 1966, but went 11-14 with crummy run support.

-He must have had a thing for round numbers. He reportedly hit the 500th home run ever struck by a pitcher, and on July 14, 1968, he served up Hank Aaron's 500th career homer!

-After two more decent years on the San Francisco staff (23-23, 3.46 ERA), he got knocked around while toiling for the Giants and Yankees in 1970 and the Royals in 1971. He finished a 16-year major league career with 134 wins, 128 losses, and a 3.73 ERA.

-Mike has been married twice and has three daughters and two sons.


  1. ...League basement (located in Washington, D.C.)

    Some things never change!

  2. I really want to know what he looked like as an 18-year-old major leaguer, because on every card of him that I've seen, he looks 48.

  3. If McCormick had a year like he did in 1967 today, he would have gotten a multi-million dollar contract. I wonder what he made in 1968--it certainly wasn't multi-millions.

  4. Jim - Now that Strasburg's getting Tommy John surgery, I almost feel bad about pointing out DC's futility. Almost. Great fact about McCormick.

    Night Owl - There's a scan of Mike's 1958 Topps rookie card at the B-R Bullpen. He actually looks younger in that.

    Marc - According to Baseball Reference, his salary more than doubled from 1966 to 1968: all the way up to $50,000.

  5. Kevin,

    Now that Strasburg's getting Tommy John surgery, I wonder how that dope that paid $15,000 for the baseball card of an unproven rookie feels about his investment!

  6. Jim - If only one of us had been lucky enough to sell the card to that dope.