The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


July 5, 2012

McLain returns to Clinton

Baseball great played here 50 years ago

CLINTON — Two-time American League Cy Young winner Denny McLain had not thrown a pitch in Clinton for 50 years.

That is until Wednesday night when the last man to win 30 games in a Major League Baseball season threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the LumberKings’ 8-6 win over Beloit.

McLain, who pitched in 16 games for the Clinton C-Sox in 1962, was at the game to promote a new book and an upcoming reality show. He spent much of the night telling stories, weighing in on the state of baseball, signing autographs, posing for pictures and meeting fans.

“We did a book tour three or four years ago,” McLain said. “This time we wanted to visit most of the parks that I played in. The most gratifying thing that’s happened is the number of people I met here who I knew from when I played here 50 years ago.”

McLain said he thought the turnout was terrific and he had a great time at Ashford University Field and revisiting Clinton the past two days.

One fan bought a photo of McLain doing his signature high leg kick and told McLain he loved watching that.

“I look at it now and my ass hurts,” McLain said. “My wife has promised me something very near and dear to my heart if I can do it again before I die. Every time she says that, I say, ‘Let me try.’ So, here I am in Iowa.”

McLain spent much of his time joking with the fans who came to talk to him.

One woman asked him to sign her ticket stub and said she wanted to see how small he wrote.

“Ma’am, nothing I do is small,” McLain replied. The former Detroit Tiger great is not what would be considered a small man by anyone.

McLain started his professional career in Harlan, Ky., in the Appalachian League.

“I went to Harlan and threw a no-hitter my first game,” McLain said. “I knew I was in the wrong league then. I struck out 16 or so. Then I pitched four or five days later and lost 1-0, I think. I struck out 16 again.”

McLain, a Chicago native, then moved closer to home and joined Clinton.

“I had a great time here,” McLain said. “Nobody has more good times than I do when I go someplace. Nobody who ever played here had more fun than I did here. Nobody.”

McLain struck out 93 batters in 91 innings with the C-Sox. He said he was very impressed with the changes made at Clinton’s ballpark and the city.

“It’s a dramatic change,” McLain said. “Now they can shower. We couldn’t shower. We had no hot water. Most of us would go back to the apartments to shower.

“The town has changed so dramatically on the riverfront, it’s unbelievable. For the better, of course. It’s jobs, it’s employment, it’s helped the economy.”

McLain, who was imprisoned for racketeering among other crimes, stayed at the Wild Rose during his time in Clinton.

“They put me in the casino; they know I’m going to leave all my money here,” McLain said.

McLain’s new book is a chronicle of the 1968 season, when he won the MVP and Cy Young and led the Tigers to the World Series title. His reality show is scheduled to premiere around Thanksgiving on Bravo.

“I’m about to go back into television and radio again,” McLain said. “The opportunities that have come our way because of baseball are incredible. I thank God every day. I certainly stepped on a couple of them. I’ve always respected the people who’ve supported this game — fans, players, umpires, whoever — and it comes back to help once in a while.”

Text Only
  • 4-18-14 1C-Photo, Blackhawks Blackhawks start blue in Cup defense ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues went the distance, and then some, to get the jump on the defending Stanley Cup champions. Alexander Steen scored at 26 seconds of the third overtime to cap the longest playoff game in franchise history and give the Bl

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • River Kings light up the Day DAVENPORT -- Clinton continued its strong season in boys track and field, taking first place Thursday at the Jesse Day Relays on the final day of qualifying for the Drake Relays. The River Kings scored 138 points. Solon edged Davenport Central 120-11

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18-14 3C-Photo, Rasche Clinton tennis splits with Muscatine CLINTON -- The Clinton tennis team faced Muscatine at Max Lynn Tennis Complex on Thursday where it was a tale of two duals. The girls' team won 9-0 over the Muskies while the River Kings fell 8-1. Queens sail in sweep In the six singles matches, not

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panthers put the hurt on BV PROPHETSTOWN, Ill. -- The Erie/Prophetstown Panthers had an offensive explosion on Thursday to say the least. E/P defeated Bureau Valley 19-1 in five innings on 15 hits, 14 RBIs and seven walks. Three different Panthers -- Kylie Ackerman, Stephanie T

    April 18, 2014

  • Coppess finishes third at North Scott ELDRIDGE -- Clinton senior golfer Brittany Coppess finished third with a score of an 18-hole85 at the Lancer Girls Invitational Thursday while the River Queens finished 10th as a team. The meet medalist was Dubuque Senior's Maddie Hawkins with a sco

    April 18, 2014

  • Monaghan wins his first fight

    LAS VEGAS -- Clinton native Todd Monaghan won his first fight on The Ultimate Fighter's 19th season premiere by defeating Jake Huen for a spot to get into the house on the reality show. Much like his life, Monaghan fough

    April 18, 2014

  • Camanche slides past BETTENDORF -- All Kylie Vogel had to do was shake off the cobwebs. Vogel won her match, 11-9, after falling behind 6-0 to Bettendorf's Katie Melbourne in a dual that Camanche won, 6-3. It was Vogel's very first singles match of the season as she's ha

    April 18, 2014

  • LumberKings end a four-game slide BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- The Clinton LumberKings used a 5-run 6th inning to snap a four-game losing streak Thursday night against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The win was the L'Kings' sixth of the season, and they picked up a game on five of the six team

    April 18, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Let the (real) games begin: It's NBA playoff time

    Finally, the NBA playoffs are set.

    It took the entire season to fill out those brackets.

    Overtime thrillers in Memphis and Charlotte, a go-ahead dunk in Oklahoma City to win a game and cap another scoring title for Kevin Durant, plus some good old-fashioned disinterest by Brooklyn ... all that, and more, on the final night of the season was needed before the eight conference-quarterfinal matchups in this season's NBA playoffs could be decided.

    April 17, 2014

High School Sports