1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-six


Date:  Tuesday, September 15.

Batting stars:  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his ninth.  Sal Butera was 1-for-1 with a double.  Tim Laudner was 1-for-2 with a run.

Pitching star:  George Frazier pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jack McDowell pitched seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Donnie Hill was 3-for-3 with a triple, scoring three times and driving in two.  Harold Baines was 2-for-4 with two doubles, scoring once and driving in two.

The game:  There was no score until the fourth, when Greg Walker doubled home a run to put Chicago ahead 1-0.  Baines doubled in a run in the sixth and another run scored on a double play to make it 3-0.  The White Sox put it out of reach in the seventh on Hill's two-run triple and Baines' run-scoring double.  The Twins did not score, and didn't even have much of a threat, until the ninth, when Bush hit a two-run homer.

Of note:  Al Newman led off at second base, with Steve Lombardozzi on the bench...Bush batted second and was in right field, with Tom Brunansky in left and Dan Gladden on the bench...Kirby Puckett was 1-for-3 to keep his batting average at .327...Kent Hrbek returned to the lineup and went 0-for-4...Gene Larkin was the DH...Joe Niekro started and pitched six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and no walks with three strikeouts...This was McDowell's first career start and his first career win.

Record:  The Twins were 77-69, in first place by 3.5 games.  Oakland defeated Texas 6-5 to move back into a second place tie with Kansas City, who lost to California 7-1.

Player profile:  Black Jack McDowell didn't have a long career, but he had six seasons when he was an excellent pitcher.  He was drafted by the White Sox with the fifth pick in 1987 and was a September call-up after just four AA starts.  He went 3-0, 1.94, 0.79 WHIP for Chicago that season.  He was in the White Sox' rotation in 1988 and while he obviously wasn't going to match those 1987 numbers, he did pretty well, going just 5-10 but with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP, not bad for a twenty-two-year-old rookie.  His season ended in August with a hip injury and he struggled with that injury all of 1989, making twenty starts, all in the minors.  He came back in 1990 to start a series of six fine major league seasons.  He made three all-star teams and finished in the top ten in Cy Young voting three times as well, winning the award in 1993.  He had a fine season that year, but his numbers were actually slightly better in 1992, when he finished second in Cy Young voting to Dennis Eckersley.  He led the league in complete games three times, in games started twice, and in shutouts once.  From 1991-93 he went 59-30 with an ERA of 3.32.  His last good year was 1995, when as a Yankee he went 15-10, 3.93, 1.33 WHIP with a league leading eight complete games.  He was only twenty-nine that season, and people expected him to remain a good pitcher for several more years.  He averaged 230 innings from 1990-95, however, and that may have caught up to him.  Whatever the reason was, he developed arm problems.  He made thirty starts for Cleveland in 1996 and went 13-9, but with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.  He was clearly not the same pitcher and would not be again.  In fact, he made only twenty-four more starts over three more seasons, ending his career in 1999 with the Angels.  He has played guitar in a couple of bands.  More recently, he was a manager int he low minors for the Dodgers in 2014-15.  His career totals were 127-87, 3.85, 1.30 WHIP.  He'll never make the Hall of Fame, but he was certainly a top pitcher for a while.