Dave McNally

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Dave McNally
Born: (1942-10-31)October 31, 1942
Billings, Montana
Died: December 1, 2002(2002-12-01) (aged 60)
Billings, Montana
Batted: Right Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 26, 1962, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
June 8, 1975, for the Montreal Expos
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 184–119
Earned run average 3.24
Strikeouts 1,512
Career highlights and awards

David Arthur McNally (October 31, 1942 – December 1, 2002) was a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher from 1962 until 1975. He was signed by the Baltimore Orioles and played with them every season except for his final season with the Montreal Expos.[1][2]


McNally is the only pitcher in major league history to hit a grand slam in a World Series[2] (Game 3, 1970, a 9–3 victory). The bat (lent to him by teammate Curt Motton) and ball are in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

He is also part of World Series history for his (and his pitching mates') performance in 1966, which the Orioles swept the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers. In the fourth game, McNally and Don Drysdale matched four-hitters; one of Baltimore's hits was Frank Robinson's fourth-inning home run for a 1–0 Oriole victory. McNally's shutout capped a World Series in which Baltimore pitchers set a Fall Classic record by pitching 33⅓ consecutive shutout innings, beginning with Moe Drabowsky's 6⅓ scoreless innings in relief of McNally in Game One, followed by shutouts from Jim Palmer and Wally Bunker. Ironically, the trio had pitched one shutout total during the regular season—that by McNally on August 6 against the Washington Senators.

McNally won more than 20 games for four consecutive seasons (19681971) and was one of four 20-game winners for the 1971 Orioles (Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer, and Mike Cuellar were the other three). He was the only pitcher other than Roger Clemens to win 12 decisions in a row 3 times, including 17 consecutive at one time. After winning the last two decisions of the 1968 season, he opened 1969 with a 15–0 record; his first loss of the season came in early August,[3][4] and he ended the regular season at 20–7.

On September 24, 1974, McNally gave up Al Kaline's 3,000th career hit in Baltimore.[5]

In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Because of space limitations the Irish team, including McNally as left-handed pitcher, was omitted.

1975 free agent labor grievance

He is also known for his role in the historic 1975 Seitz decision which led to the downfall of major league baseball's reserve clause and ushered in the current era of free agency. McNally and Andy Messersmith were the only two players in 1975 playing on the one year reserve clause in effect at the time. Neither had signed a contract at the time but both were held with their team under the rule. The two challenged the rule and won their free agency.

McNally retired in June 1975,[6] and had no intention of claiming his free agency. According to John Helyar's book The Lords of the Realm, players union executive director Marvin Miller called McNally—technically still an unsigned player—to ask him to add his name to the grievance it had filed in opposition to the reserve clause and he agreed. The reason Miller thought of McNally, Helyar wrote, was "insurance" in the grievance in the event Messersmith decided to sign a new contract after all. Baseball owners wanted his name off the grievance so the Expos offered McNally a $25,000 ($113,698 today) signing bonus and a $125,000 ($568,491 today) contract if he made the team, but McNally declined. The hope was to sign Messersmith at the same time, thus eliminating the challenge.

After baseball and death

After retiring McNally owned car dealerships in his hometown of Billings, Montana, where he lived until his death from lung cancer in 2002.[2][7]


  1. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Dave McNally". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Pitcher who also won in court dies". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 3, 2002. p. 2E. 
  3. ^ "McNally suffers setback". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). August 4, 1969. p. 3B. 
  4. ^ "Sports scoreboard". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). August 4, 1969. p. 2B. 
  5. ^ "Kaline surpasses a milestone". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. September 25, 1974. 
  6. ^ "McNally retires from baseball". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). June 10, 1975. p. 1B. 
  7. ^ Goldstein, Richard (December 3, 2002). "Dave McNally, 60, early free agent, dies". New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
  • ESPN Messersmith-McNally retrospective
  • McNally retrospective
  • Dave McNally at Find a Grave
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