By Eric Mollo
I’m just a generation too young, but I grew up to witness the transition. Long time baseball fans have seen how the game has changed. From day games to night games, higher payrolls, and introducing the pitch count, the game has evolved. But it was the pitch count, a strategy now used by nearly every team which limits how long starting pitchers last over the course of a game, was one topic of conversation I had with Major League Baseball’s last thirty game winner, Denny McClain.
McClain was one of baseball’s bad boys of the sixties, but he was one of the sport’s more intriguing stars. Opinionated and brash, McClain was not afraid to speak his mind. It’s an understatement to say he is discouraged by the usage of starting pitchers in today’s game, and he was not afraid to offer insight on what it was like winning thirty one games in 1968 as well as winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards. Listening to him talk reflects how he grew up with baseball and how pitchers were managed by their teams forty years ago. While it is still the same bat and ball, the grittiness of the game has evolved, and McClain made sure to let me know about it in our interview.