Tuesday, August 03, 2010

#317 Don McMahon

#317 Don McMahon
Don McMahon should close his mouth before he swallows a fly. Unless that's his aim. I try not to judge other people's hobbies and/or dietary choices.

Fun facts about Don McMahon:

-Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Don signed with the Boston Braves in 1950.

-A relatively lengthy minor league apprenticeship (5.5 years) and a few years of military service delayed his major league debut until the summer of 1957, by which time he was 27 years old.

-Showing that he was no wet-behind-the-ears rookie, McMahon led the soon-to-be-World-Champion Braves with nine saves, pitching to a 1.54 ERA in 46.2 innings and surrendering no home runs. He added five scoreless innings in three World Series games to stymie the Yankees.

-In all, Don was a Brave for five-plus years, a tenure that included an All-Star selection in 1958 and an N.L. saves title in 1959 (15 SV, 2.57 ERA).

-Became something of a journeyman, logging time with Houston (1962-1963), Cleveland (1964-1966), Boston (1966-1967), the White Sox (1967-1968), Detroit (1968-1969), and San Francisco (1969-1974). Had sub-2.00 earned run averages in five full seasons, relying primarily on his plus fastball.

-Was noted for his durability, never making a trip to the disabled list in 18 seasons, pitching until the age of 44, and appearing in 874 games (all but two as a reliever). His games pitched total was the fourth-highest in history at the time of his retirement.

-Became the Giants' pitching coach in 1972, and retired as a player at the end of that year to become a full-time coach. However, he was reactivated in the second half of 1973 and May-June 1974 due to a lack of quality relievers in the San Fran bullpen. Teaching by example, he went 4-0 with six saves and a 1.93 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 31 appearances in that span!

-For his career he was 90-68 with 153 saves, a 2.96 ERA, 1,0003 strikeouts, and 7.2 hits per nine innings. His H/9 average is still 18th-best all-time.

-Held an impressive roster of Hall of Famers to a .149 batting average (28-for-188). The victims were Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Willie Stargell, Harmon Killebrew, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Bill Mazeroski, and Stan Musial.

-In addition to coaching for the Giants (1972-1975, 1980-1982), Don also served on the Twins staff from 1976-1978 and the Indians staff from 1983-1985. In 1987, he was working as a scout and instructor for the Dodgers when he suffered a fatal heart attack while throwing batting practice. He was 57 years old.
#317 Don McMahon (back)


  1. Good thing McMahon didn't have his hand up beside his mouth. Topps would have assumed he was a manager!

  2. Jim - Haha, too true. Maybe he had ambitions of managing.