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
Credit: Otto Greule Jr. /Allsport /

Post-White Sox Career

McDowell left the White Sox after the strike-shortened 1994 season. He was traded to the Yankees for Lyle Mouton and Keith Heberling. Mouton had a couple of decent years in Chicago and McDowell was his usual self for a season with the Yankees. He pitched over 200 innings, had an ERA below four, and led the American League in complete games. He was 29 during that Yankees season. He had back pain during his last few starts for New York. He was eventually signed by Cleveland after the 1995 season and was never the same pitcher.

The man who had led the American League in complete games three separate times in his early years threw five complete games in his first year with Cleveland and never again would pitch all nine innings. He pitched four seasons after leaving the Yankees, never again having an ERA below 5.00.

McDowell may not have spent a long time in Chicago, but he still holds a spot in the record books. In the last 100 years of White Sox history McDowell ranks 11th in strikeouts, 11th in wins and 16th in innings pitched. His 3.50 ERA with the White Sox ranks 12th in the last 100 years for the White Sox. He is one of only three White Sox pitchers to win a Cy Young, the others being Early Wynn and LaMarr Hoyt. He struggled in the 1993 playoffs and unfortunately did not have a chance to redeem himself in the 1994 playoffs during the strike-shortened season.

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McDowell lives on in the hearts of Sox fans. He was one of the stars of some very good teams that just never could quite win a championship. From the time McDowell became a regular in 1990 until he left the team in 1994, the Sox were 428-333. That’s a 56.2% winning percentage. A 56.2% winning percentage is a 91 win team. Those White Sox were on pace to win 91 games a season for five years. Yet all they had to show for it were six games in the 1993 ALCS against the Blue Jays. Much like in life, timing is everything in baseball.