History’s Lost Sox: Jack McDowell

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

White Sox Regular

In 1990 McDowell started to show what he would be known for, which was tenacity, toughness, and consistency. He pitched 200 or more innings from 1990 to 1993. He pitched at least 200 innings in each of those years and made at least 33 starts. His ERA in each of those seasons was under 4.00. During those years McDowell pitched nine more complete games than any pitcher in baseball. McDowell accumulated 73 wins from 1990 to 1993. The only other pitchers with 70 wins are Hall of Fame members, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. McDowell was the definition of a workhorse during those years. He was having an awesome year in 1994 before the season was shortened by the MLB player’s strike.

McDowell is the last White Sox pitcher to win the Cy Young. He won this prestigious award in 1993 after placing ninth in 1991 and second in 1992. McDowell actually had a better ERA, FIP, WHIP, and more complete games during his second-place year than he did when he actually won the award. His WAR was also higher for anyone who appreciates advanced stats.

McDowell started 191 games with the White Sox. He won 91 of them and pitched a complete game in 49 of them. In fact, since McDowell’s debut in 1987, 160 pitchers in MLB have thrown at least 15 complete games. Only two of those pitchers have thrown a complete game in a higher percentage of those starts. Those pitchers are Bruce Hurst and MLB Hall of Fame member Jack Morris.

A lot of older baseball fans talk about how much different the game used to be. McDowell illustrates this huge change in the game and bullpen use. McDowell pitched 250 or more innings three years in a row. No player in baseball has pitched 250 innings since 2011. That pitcher was Justin Verlander. He is one of two active players to have pitched 250 innings in a season, the other being the soon to be retired CC Sabathia. McDowell’s last 250 innings pitched season was 1993. He was one of eight pitchers to throw 250 or more innings during that season.

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