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Why did McNally retire so young?


bannanawho

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He last played at the age of 32 for the Expos, which was a great trade for Baltimore, netting Singleton and Mike Torres in return. The year with the Expos (1975) was a down one for him, appearing in only 12 games, winning just 3 and a sky high (for him) 5.24 E.R.A. In 1974, his last year with the O's he won 16 games, started 39 and completed 13, finishing with a 3.58 E.R.A. '75 was also the year of his involvement in repealing the reserve clause that opened up free agency.

Does anyone know why he left baseball so early? I couldn't find any mention of an injury.

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bannanawho said:
 
 
Why did McNally retire so young ???
 
 

o

 

After McNally was traded to the Expos prior to the 1975 season, he had a very sub-par year. He had nothing left in his arm, and decided to retire.

A much more interesting story came of McNally's retirement, though. At the time, the battle for free agency between Marvin Miller (and the Player's Union) and the owners was in full swing. Although Curt Flood lost his case in the Supreme Court back in 1971, it got the ball rolling. One year prior to McNally's retirement, Catfish Hunter was declared a free agent due to a violation in his contract by Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley.

The next year, Andy Messersmith wanted to test the free agent waters after pitching without a contract in '75. Marvin Miller wanted to use McNally as leverage in Messersmith's case, and asked him to declare himself a free agent, even though they both knew that McNally had no intention of pitching any longer. The G.M. of the Montreal Expos (Jim Fanning) was aware of McNally's situation, and Miller's desire to use him to help Messersmith (and subsequently ALL baseball players) with their case for free agency. Fanning literally  went to McNally's house ....... he claimed that he "just happened to be passing through Billings, Montana," and thought that he would come by to visit. Even though Fanning knew that McNally was finished as a pitcher, he offered him a guaranteed $50,000, and a trip to the Expos' training camp in Florida. Keep in mind that at that time, the minimum salary for a Major Leaguer was only $19,000, so the $50,000 guarantee was a lot of money. Plus, it would have essentially been an expense-paid vacation for McNally in sunny Florida.

Before signing anything, McNally called Marvin Miller and told him what Fanning had offered. As much as Miller needed McNally, he also felt badly about asking him to pass up a free $50,000, plus a trip to Florida in February. Miller left it up to McNally. McNally said, "If you need me, I'm here," and declined to take the money (and the expense-paid trip to Florida) that was offered to him. Messersmith and McNally were both subsequently declared free agents by Peter Seitz, opening the door for the boom (in free agency) that came the following offseason.

Hence, McNally (in my rat's ass of an opinion) chose integrity over easy money, and along with Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith, Catfish Hunter, and Marvin Miller, has subsequently gone down in history as one of the major players in the Players Union's early fight (and victory) for free agency.

 

o

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Interesting fact:

McNally has the unique distinction as the only pitcher in Major League history to hit a grand slam in a World Series game (Game 3,1970, a 9–3 victory). The bat (lent to him by teammate Curt Motton) and ball are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_McNally

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McNally was my favorite Oriole pitcher during his years with the club. He didn't have the career Palmer had, and he didn't win a Cy Young like Cuellar did, but he was a terrific pitcher and always seemed like a really good guy.

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McNally was my favorite Oriole pitcher during his years with the club. He didn't have the career Palmer had, and he didn't win a Cy Young like Cuellar did, but he was a terrific pitcher and always seemed like a really good guy.

He was a terrific pitcher.

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This thread inspired me to read a little about McNally, who was far before my time. He was involved in an incredibly one-sided trade right before the end of his career: the Orioles sent McNally, Rich Coggins, and Bill Kirkpatrick to the Expos for Ken Singleton and Mike Torrez.

I don't much about how the players were viewed at the time, and free agency was not yet in effect, so it was a different world of player transactions. But here's the respective WAR totals for the two teams. The listed numbers are the WAR accrued by each player with the team that got them only.

Expos side:

McNally: retired after one season, Expos got -0.5 WAR

Kirkpatrick: never made the majors (0.0)

Coggins: Spent half a year with Montreal (0.1 WAR) then was bought by the Yankees. His career didn't go anywhere after that

Orioles side:

Ken Singleton: 10 years with the O's, 36.7 WAR

Mike Torrez: spent one year with the O's (3.5 WAR), then was a big part of the Reggie Jackson trade. Played for 10 more mostly good years

So the Delta-WAR on this trade is (36.7+3.5)-(0+0.1-0.5) = 40.6 WAR. And the Orioles got Reggie Jackson, for whatever that's worth.

The Expos gave up an all-star and a good #3-#4 pitcher and got literally nothing in return.

For reference, the delta-WAR on the Frank Robinson trade is (36.4)-(5.8+0.1+0.4) = 30.1 WAR.

Of course, the F. Robinson trade led to a Championship, and just adding total WAR accrued with each team is not a perfect way to evaluate a trade - Robinson's wins were accrued over four fewer years than Singleton's, is just one reason. But given how storied the Robinson deal is, and how I'd literally never heard of the McNally-for-Singleton deal until 30 minutes ago, I'm surprised how lopsided it was and how similar the comparison is.

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This thread inspired me to read a little about McNally, who was far before my time. He was involved in an incredibly one-sided trade right before the end of his career: the Orioles sent McNally, Rich Coggins, and Bill Kirkpatrick to the Expos for Ken Singleton and Mike Torrez.

I don't much about how the players were viewed at the time, and free agency was not yet in effect, so it was a different world of player transactions. But here's the respective WAR totals for the two teams. The listed numbers are the WAR accrued by each player with the team that got them only.

Expos side:

McNally: retired after one season, Expos got -0.5 WAR

Kirkpatrick: never made the majors (0.0)

Coggins: Spent half a year with Montreal (0.1 WAR) then was bought by the Yankees. His career didn't go anywhere after that

Orioles side:

Ken Singleton: 10 years with the O's, 36.7 WAR

Mike Torrez: spent one year with the O's (3.5 WAR), then was a big part of the Reggie Jackson trade. Played for 10 more mostly good years

So the Delta-WAR on this trade is (36.7+3.5)-(0+0.1-0.5) = 40.6 WAR. And the Orioles got Reggie Jackson, for whatever that's worth.

The Expos gave up an all-star and a good #3-#4 pitcher and got literally nothing in return.

For reference, the delta-WAR on the Frank Robinson trade is (36.4)-(5.8+0.1+0.4) = 30.1 WAR.

Of course, the F. Robinson trade led to a Championship, and just adding total WAR accrued with each team is not a perfect way to evaluate a trade - Robinson's wins were accrued over four fewer years than Singleton's, is just one reason. But given how storied the Robinson deal is, and how I'd literally never heard of the McNally-for-Singleton deal until 30 minutes ago, I'm surprised how lopsided it was and how similar the comparison is.

Yes, it worked out amazingly well for the Orioles. At the time, though, it wasn't so clear to us fans that it would work out that way. While the Orioles powers that be may have suspected that McNally was about done, most fans had no idea, and it was a bit upsetting to lose him. Coggins came up with Bumbry and was highly thought of. Bumbry and Coggins, along with Don Baylor, were thought of as a great future outfield for the Orioles. The Orioles brain trust obviously traded the right one of the three. Too bad we would end up losing Baylor a couple of years later.

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  • 7 months later...

o

 

McNally was born 72 years ago today.

And I'm just as impressed today as I ever was in McNally's decision to choose integrity over easy money in the late winter/early spring of 1976, as I alluded to in post # 2.

 

o

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  • 2 weeks later...
After McNally was traded to the Expos prior to the 1975 season, he had a very sub-par year. He had nothing left in his arm, and decided to retire.

A much more interesting story came of McNally's retirement, though. At the time, the battle for free agency between Marvin Miller (and the Player's Union) and the owners was in full swing. Although Curt Flood lost his case in the Supreme Court back in 1971, it got the ball rolling. One year prior to McNally's retirement, Catfish Hunter was declared a free agent due to a violation in his contract by Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley.

The next year, Andy Messersmith wanted to test the free agent waters after pitching without a contract in '75. Marvin Miller wanted to use McNally as leverage in Messersmith's case, and asked him to declare himself a free agent, even though they both knew that McNally had no intention of pitching any longer. The G.M. of the Montreal Expos (Jim Fanning) was aware of McNally's situation, and Miller's desire to use him to help Messersmith (and subsequently ALL baseball players) with their case for free agency. Fanning went to McNally's house ....... he claimed that he just "happened to be passing through Billings, Montana," and thought that he would come by to visit. Even though Fanning knew that McNally was finished as a pitcher, he offered him a guaranteed $50,000, and a trip to the Expos' training camp in Florida. Keep in mind that at that time, the minimum salary for a major leaguer was only $19,000, so the $50,000 guarantee was a lot of money. Plus, it would have essentially been an expense-paid vacation for McNally in sunny Florida.

Before signing anything, McNally called Marvin Miller and told him what Fanning had offered. As much as Miller needed McNally, he also felt badly about asking him to pass up a free $50,000, plus a trip to Florida in February. Miller left it up to McNally. McNally said, "If you need me, I'm here," and declined to take the money that was offered him. Messersmith and McNally were both subsequently declared free agents by Peter Seitz, opening the door for the boom (in free agency) that came the following offseason.

Hence, McNally (in my rat's ass of an opinion) chose integrity over easy money, and along with Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith, Catfish Hunter, and Marvin Miller, has subsequently gone down in history as one of the major players in the union's early fight (and victory) for free agency.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

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  • 2 weeks later...
o

McNally was born 72 years ago today.

And I'm just as impressed today as I ever was in McNally's decision to choose integrity over easy money in the late winter/early spring of 1976, as I alluded to in post # 2.

McNally was just a bit ahead of my time, but from what I know, he was an incredible pitcher and great teammate. Besides his integrity, I respected that he sought a quiet life out of the limelight back in Billings after he retired. Actually, that's why it's hard to find Dave's autographs on cards or balls because he passed up more $$ opportunities with card shows, etc.

If it's Ripken, Brooks, Jim, Frank and Eddie (in no particular order) then #6 has to be McNally..a great Oriole.

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  • 5 months later...
OFFNY said:

o

 

After McNally was traded to the Expos prior to the 1975 season, he had a very sub-par year. He had nothing left in his arm, and decided to retire.

A much more interesting story came of McNally's retirement, though. At the time, the battle for free agency between Marvin Miller (and the Player's Union) and the owners was in full swing. Although Curt Flood lost his case in the Supreme Court back in 1971, it got the ball rolling. One year prior to McNally's retirement, Catfish Hunter was declared a free agent due to a violation in his contract by Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley.

The next year, Andy Messersmith wanted to test the free agent waters after pitching without a contract in '75. Marvin Miller wanted to use McNally as leverage in Messersmith's case, and asked him to declare himself a free agent, even though they both knew that McNally had no intention of pitching any longer. The G.M. of the Montreal Expos (Jim Fanning) was aware of McNally's situation, and Miller's desire to use him to help Messersmith (and subsequently ALL baseball players) with their case for free agency. Fanning literally  went to McNally's house ....... he claimed that he "just happened to be passing through Billings, Montana," and thought that he would come by to visit. Even though Fanning knew that McNally was finished as a pitcher, he offered him a guaranteed $50,000, and a trip to the Expos' training camp in Florida. Keep in mind that at that time, the minimum salary for a Major Leaguer was only $19,000, so the $50,000 guarantee was a lot of money. Plus, it would have essentially been an expense-paid vacation for McNally in sunny Florida.

Before signing anything, McNally called Marvin Miller and told him what Fanning had offered. As much as Miller needed McNally, he also felt badly about asking him to pass up a free $50,000, plus a trip to Florida in February. Miller left it up to McNally. McNally said, "If you need me, I'm here," and declined to take the money (and the expense-paid trip to Florida) that was offered to him. Messersmith and McNally were both subsequently declared free agents by Peter Seitz, opening the door for the boom (in free agency) that came the following offseason.

Hence, McNally (in my rat's ass of an opinion) chose integrity over easy money, and along with Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith, Catfish Hunter, and Marvin Miller, has subsequently gone down in history as one of the major players in the Player's Union's early fight (and victory) for free agency.

 

o

o

 

Jim Fanning (the Expos G.M. that tried to bribe McNally with a guaranteed $50,000 and an expense-paid trip to Spring Training in sunny Florida in February of 1976 when it was clear that McNally was finished as a pitcher) died on Sunday.

Fanning was 87 years-old.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/27/sports/baseball/jim-fanning-expos-first-general-manager-dies-at-87.html?_r=0

 

o

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With hindsight and through the lens of today, huge warning bells would have gone off after McNally's 1971 season. In '70 he set career highs in starts, innings, etc. Then in '71 he started 10 fewer games while his K rate fell by 40%. He rebounded a little in '72, but was never quite the same. It's a testament to the O's defense that his ERA stayed respectable despite striking out less than three per nine in '73 while walking almost as many.

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