Talking Baseball: Jack McDowell
Throughout the offseason, keep an eye out for my new series titled “Talking Baseball”. I’ll spend a few minutes each week talking to former baseball players about the game of baseball and much more.
On November 7, 2015, the U Deserve A Chance Foundation held their first-ever Home Plate Gala at BB&T Ballpark. Throughout the night, I had a chance to interview some of the many baseball personalities who were on hand for this special event. Overall, the event was a huge success and the first of many for the organization.
My final interview of the night was with 1993 Cy Young Award-winner Jack McDowell, who currently resides in the Charlotte area. McDowell put together a terrific Major League Baseball career as a pitcher for 12 seasons.
A product of Stanford University, McDowell earned co-Freshman of the Year in 1985, 2nd team All-American in 1986, and 3rd team All-American in 1987. That same year (1987), he led Stanford to a College World Series Championship.
Also in 1987, McDowell was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the first round of the 1987 draft (fifth overall). NOTE: The first pick in the draft was Ken Griffey Jr. and Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio was selected 22nd overall.
Back to McDowell, however, who went on to have a successful big league career. He won a total of 127 games, including a career-high 22 in 1993 en route to winning the American League Cy Young Award. That season, “Black Jack” posted a 22-10 mark with a 3.37 ERA in 34 starts. He tossed 10 complete games and led the league in shutouts with four.
The 6’5″ right-hander pitched for eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox and compiled 91 wins over that span. He helped lead Chicago to a solid 94-68 record in 1993 and a postseason berth. The team played for the American League Championship (lost to the Toronto Blue Jays).
Over a three-year span (1991-93), McDowell won 59 games, including back-to-back 20-win seasons (1992-93). He pitched over 250 innings in each of those three seasons and was an American League All-Star in each of those three campaigns.
Later in his career, McDowell spent time with the New York Yankees (1995), Cleveland Indians (1996-97), and Anaheim Angels (1998-99). Injuries over the course of his career began to take a toll and McDowell retired from baseball after the 1999 season. He finished with a career mark of 127-87 with a 3.85 ERA in 277 games (275 starts). He led the American League in complete games three times (1991, 1992, & 1995), games started twice (1991 & 1994), and wins once (1993).
Most recently, McDowell spent time in the Los Angeles Dodgers system as a manager. He guided the organization’s Rookie League affiliates, the Ogden Raptors in 2014, and the Arizona League Dodgers in 2015.
I sat down and spoke to “Black Jack” about the Home Plate Gala, his remarkable career as a pitcher, his chance to manage, and his days as a musician with his band stickfigure.
Here’s episode five of “Talking Baseball” with guest, Jack McDowell.