It was fifty years ago today- September 14, 1968- with two weeks still remaining in the baseball season- Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain won his 30th game of the season by beating the Oakland A’s 5-4. The last 30 game winner in Major League Baseball had been Dizzy Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals who had won 30 in 1934. It took 34 years for another 30 game winner. It is most likely there will never be another pitcher win 30 games in a season- no one has done it in the past 50 seasons and the way the game is played now it is highly unlikely to happen. Example- in 2017 the most games a pitcher started was 34. In 1968 McLain led the league with 41 starts and finished with 31 wins.
McLain was only 24 years old in 1968. He not only won the AL Cy Young Award but also MVP Award. The next season he would go 24-9 and win another Cy Young Award [tied with Mike Cuellar of Baltimore that year} Then he blew out his arm and would only win 21 more games the rest of his career and none after the age of 28. His post baseball life has been a troubled one.
Denny McLain would end up with 31 wins in 1968. It was The Year of the Pitcher- over in the National League the Cardinals Bob Gibson would set the modern day record with an ERA of 1.12- a record that still stands 50 years later.