Photos And Background

This post of Pitching For The Master is devoted totally to baseball photos and some background information for my readers. This may be a lot more than you want to see and know, but here I go anyway. The first photo is taken of me when I was 16 years old winning the Oklahoma State Championship in American Legion Baseball in 1952. In the photo are my two brothers, Von and Kerry Don, serving as batboys. Next is a series of photos in St. Louis Cardinal uniform, including some of my brother Von and me, followed by photos when I played for the Cubs, Giants, Yankees and Royals. This posting has no religious content, but is here to humor some of the baseball fans among my readers. Just a little journey back into history. As I often say to young people, we are here today to talk about ancient history – when I was a player.

Lindy McDaniel – Background information (Note: much of the material below was published in announcement of my retirement by the Kansas City Royals in 1975)

Lindy was the first born of Newell and Ada Mae McDaniel, born on December 13, 1935 in Hollis, Oklahoma. He had two brothers, Von and Kerry Don, who also played professional baseball. His brother Von died on August 20, 1995.

Lindy grew up on a farm just north of Hollis, Oklahoma. He attended a small country high school called Arnett but he credits the American Legion Baseball team in Altus, Oklahoma for giving him the opportunity to develop his baseball skills. Altus played 72 games in 1951 and 65 games in 1952. They won the state championship both years. At age 16, Lindy started and won his first 19 starts in 1952. In addition to his valuable American Legion experience, Lindy played four years of high school and played summer ball in Oklahoma City, Bentonville, Ark., and Sinton, Texas. By pitching more than 30 games per year from age 15 to 19, Lindy developed a strong pitching arm which enabled him to jump straight to the big leagues without minor league training. At age 19 he was labeled as a “can’t miss” Big League talent by Cardinal manager Harry Walker. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on August 19, 1955 for a bonus of $50, 000.

Along with Hoyt Wilhelm and Elroy Face, He became one of the great pioneers of relief pitching. During his prime he could warm up in less then one minute and relied on a good fastball, a forkball, a sharp slider and good control. He was a “thinking” pitcher. He led the league in “wins” and “saves” in 1959, 1960 and 1963. He pitched at a time when the closer or top relief pitcher was expected to pitch 2 or more innings facing both right and left handed hitters. He compiled 172 “saves” and was 2nd all time in wins in relief with 119. He was 3rd in lifetime appearances for pitchers with 987.

During his career he has witnessed approximately 3,500 major league games (not including spring training). He has had more than 300 teammates including such stars as Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Mickey Mantle, and George Brett. He has played under eight different managers in five organizations covering a span of thirteen and one-half seasons in the National League and seven and one half in the American League. Lindy played for five Major League organizations – the St. Louis Cardinals (1955-1962), the Chicago Cubs (1963-1965), the San Francisco Giants (1966-1968), the New York Yankees (1968-1973), and the Kansas City Royals (1974-1975).

Lindy’s overall record is 141-119 with a 3.45 ERA. He made 74 starts covering 2,186 innings. He had eight seasons in which he recorded an ERA under 3.00, seven double-victory seasons and 20 or more saves in three different seasons. His victory high came in 1957 when he won 15 games as a starter, his busiest season was 1965 when he made 71 appearances and his lowest ERA came in 1970 with a 2.01 ERA. Lindy considers his top overall year as 1960 with the St. Louis Cardinals when he logged a 12-2 mark in relief with 26 saves and an E.R.A. in relief of 1.29 while being named to the National All-Star team and receiving Fireman-of-the-Year honors.

There have been numerous highlights in McDaniel’s career, including several league records. In 1968 he tied an American League standard by retiring 32 consecutive batters over a four-game span. He also played in a National League record 225 consecutive games without making an error.

In 21 years the Hollis, Oklahoma native has had many outstanding single-game performances, but a 1963 outing against the San Francisco Giants stands out the most in his mind. It came June 6 when he was pitching for the Cubs.

“I’ll always remember it. The Giants came to Wrigley Field in first place and were leading the Cubs by four games at the time. We swept the first three games and the fans were going wild. A win in the final contest would put us in a tie for first place. That Sunday we had another capacity crowd, and the score was tied in the top of the tenth inning. I was brought in to relieve Dick Ellsworth, our starting pitcher, with the bases loaded and one out. The first thing I did, with the help of the catcher and shortstop, was to pick Willie Mays off second base, and then I struck out Ed Bailey on three pitches getting us out of the jam. I received a standing ovation when I walked to the dugout. I was the first batter up in the bottom of the tenth and hit a home run to win the game. As I rounded the bases, I was received by the entire ballclub at home plate and was given a very prolonged standing ovation from the fans. You know about those Cub fans!”

Watching his brother, Von, pitch as his teammate with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1957 also ranks among his most gratifying moments. “It was a great thrill for me to watch Von pitch. He was only 18 years old, just two weeks out of high school but stepped right in and shutout the Dodgers in his first start. He went on to pitch a one hitter against the Pirates.” In fact, Von did not allow a run in his first 20 major league innings including two relief stints prior to the 2-0 win over the Dodgers. Unfortunately he hurt his arm the next spring.

McDaniel’s career had its “ups” and “downs”. Four times his career was on the verge of ending when he would make a spectacular comeback. These comebacks came in 1959-1960, 1963-1966, after joining the Yankees in 1968 and in 1972-73.

“I felt my career was hanging by a thread each time, but somehow I was always able to make the necessary adjustments and bounce back,” he said. “As a relief pitcher, I was a workhorse. The more I pitched, the more effective I became. Some managers did not understand this. Also, being a relief pitcher is probably one of the most volatile positions in baseball.”

Lindy’s biggest disappointment is never to have played in a World Series. He shares this disappointment with other greats such as Ernie Banks, Ralph Kiner, Billy Williams, and Ferguson Jenkins. Others who participated in only one World Series are men like Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Robin Roberts, and Bob Feller. It takes great team balance and team work to go all the way.

“A number of factors have contributed to my longevity,” Lindy reports. “Freedom from serious injury, an easy pitching delivery, clean living, good conditioning, a high motivation level, a strong belief in God, the opportunity to pitch and self-discipline.”

Note: Currently I preach some and teach the Bible at the Lavon church of Christ in Lavon, Texas. I also serve as one of the elders. I conduct various gospel meetings for churches across the country by invitation. I also try to do as much writing as I can. My wife, Nancy, and I live in Lavon, Texas and between us we have 8 children and 18 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. All this keeps me going during my golden years!



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