Surprise in the email in-box

This morning I got an email from a man named Denny McLain. Baseball fans might recognize the name. Denny McLain is the last pitcher to win 30 games in a single season. He won 31 games in 1968 for the Detroit Tigers, who went on to win the World Series.

Apparently, there is an article with my name on it out there on the internet in which I say that Denny McLain was a "fly-by-night" pitcher. Mr. McLain took exception to my characterization of him in his email, reminding me that he won two Cy Young awards and won 20 games three times, certainly not a fly-by-night career. Some people think of his career that way because he never did have a real good season after winning 31 games.

McLain said that they pumped pitchers full of cortisone at the time, and it cost a lot of pitchers their careers.

Now, I have no memory of ever writing such a thing about Denny McLain, but it is altogether possible. So I wrote back to him and apologized. But to check if this was the real Denny McLain, I devised a test.

At the beginning of the 1968 season, the catcher for the Detroit Tigers was a young man named Arlo Brunsberg, who grew up in Fertile. Brunsberg won the starting catching job for the Tigers, but three games into the season, after only three at-bats, Brunsberg blew out his knee and never played again.

So, at the end of the email back to McLain, I asked him if he knew Arlo Brunsberg. I didn't say that Brunsberg was a catcher, or even a player.

Ten minutes later, I get an email: "How is ARLO!!!? Great guy and great catcher!"

Apparently, it was the real Denny McLain.

However, he hasn't told me yet where he found the article where I supposedly said he was a "fly-by-night" pitcher. I will await!