McLain Out Until July 1st

Filed under Detroit Tigers
April 1, 1970
Denny McLain scratches his head during a television interview in Detroit. McLain will miss the first part of the 1970 season due to his association with gamblers dating back to 1967,.

Denny McLain, cited for being gullible and greedy, was suspended until July 1 by baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn after the investigation disclosed the Detroit Tigers’ pitcher had attempted to become a partner of gamblers allegedly involved in bookmaking operations. The action by Kuhn, who six weeks ago suspended McLain while investigating his off-the-field activities, also prohibits the ace of the Detroit pitching staff from appearing at the Tigers’ camp or in their clubhouse until the suspension is lifted. In addition, McLain was placed on probation with the proviso that he be required to provide the commissioner’s office with such data on his financial affairs as may be requested so that further such difficulties do not again lead him into a  similar situation.

McLain, who flew to Detroit from his Lakeland, Fla. home for a television interview last night, said “all things being equal” Kuhn “did what he had to do.” “More than anything else, I was happy for one thing,” the pitcher said. “There was a decision finally reached. There wasn’t a limbo situation at least. By July 1, Denny McLain will be ready to pitch,” the hurler added in third person. “Denny McLain has done a lot of walking and has been working out in pitching during this week.” The cost to McLain, already deep in a myriad of financial difficulties, is estimated at almost $45,000 – half his yearly salary – plus the $5,700 Kuhn said the pitcher was duped out of by the gamblers with whom he was associating.

Kuhn’s investigation revealed the McLain commenced with placing bets on basketball with the bookmaking operation, and subsequently he was persuaded to make financial contributions totaling about $5,700. “While McLain believed he had become a partner in this operation and has so admitted to me…it would appear that in fact he was the victim of a confidence scheme,” said Kuhn. “I would thus concluded that McLain was never a partner and had no proprietary interest in the bookmaking operation.” the commissioner added. Kuhn went on to say that his investigation had not shown any other material facts beyond that – that no evidence exists that McLain “has been guilty of any misconduct involving baseball or the playing of baseball games.” Kuhn concluded that McLain’s association with gamblers “was not in the best interests of baseball” and “therefore must be made the subject of discipline.”

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