History’s Lost Sox: Jack McDowell

Credit: Otto Greule Jr. /Allsport
Credit: Otto Greule Jr. /Allsport /
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Chicago White Sox Jack McDowell
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

An in-depth, statistical look at the career of Chicago White Sox pitcher and 1993 American League Cy Young winner Jack McDowell.

It has been a rough couple of years for the Chicago White Sox. With many more losses than wins and injuries to the stars of tomorrow, it hasn’t been the best time to be a White Sox fan. In times like these, it makes sense to go back and look at former White Sox players and remember some of the past legends. When you think of the White Sox, names like Frank Thomas, Mark Buehrle, Paul Konerko, and Shoeless Joe Jackson come to mind. They are not the only players that make up the history of this historic franchise. Many players become forgotten as time passes. 1993 Cy Young winner Jack McDowell seems to be one of these players. McDowell, like a stocking in the washer, has become one of History’s Lost Sox.

Jack McDowell was the first of a string of excellent draft choices by the White Sox in the late 1980s. He was the fifth pick in the 1987 MLB draft out of Stanford. Following that 1987 first-round pick the White Sox added Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas and Alex Fernandez in subsequent drafts. That is best run of drafts in White Sox history. McDowell spent very little time in the minors before impacting the major league roster. He was drafted in June and was a September call up later that year. He started four games, accomplishing a quality start in all four of them, winning three of them, and giving up zero runs in two of them. He was 21 years old, a few months removed from college, and he already looked like a potential ace.

McDowell’s college career was also very impressive. He led the 1987 College World Series champion Stanford Cardinal in starts, innings pitched, wins and strikeouts. He did the same in 1986 with a much better ERA and WHIP. Ten of his sixteen starts for Stanford in 1986 were complete. A sign of things to come during his White Sox career. Only seven pitchers in Stanford history have more single-season wins than McDowell did in 1987.