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Joe McClain's downfall

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  • Joe McClain's downfall

    As I read Aart's note about Joe McClain, I remembered a story, but can't remember where I heard it.

    Aart wrote: Joe McClain has the distinction of being the first pitcher to record a win for the expansion Senators franchise on April 14, 1961 over the Cleveland Indians. He looked like a promising pitcher for the expansion Senators in the early 1961 season, going 7-7 with a 3.19 ERA. Unfortunately the wheels fell off after the All-Star break, his record 1-11 with a 4.76 ERA in the second half of the season. His totals for the year were 8-18 with an ERA of 3.86.

    Returning with the Senators in 1962, he went 0-4 with a 9.38 ERA before being sent to Syracuse in June. He would never return to the majors.

    My memory is that McClain was fine until he got to the All Star Game. Ralph Houk told him to go warm up, and McClain said something like, "Just wait til I dunk my hand in pine tar". The next time McClain started against the Yankees, Houk asked the unpires to examine McClain, and, sure enough, he had pine tar (or some other sitcky substance) right up to his elbow. Umps made him wash it off, and he was washed up.

    I have a hunch I'm remembering a story from Nats News (from Washington Baseball Historical Society), but something isn't right. I don't think McClain went to the All Star game. At least it's not mentioned in Baseball Reference.

    So: if I'm wrong about Houk and the gooey hand, what happened to McClain?

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