June 10 – Happy Birthday Danny MacFayden
According to Al Lopez, this near-sighted native of Cape Cod threw the best curveball Lopez had ever seen. That was quite a compliment coming from a guy who spent 19 years as a big league catcher and 17 more as a big league manager. This right-hander made his Major League debut with the Red Sox when he was just 21 years old in 1926. I’ve read that Danny MacFayden was the first big league player in history to wear eyeglasses during a game. He grabbed the attention of the Yankees during the 1931 season, when he went 16-12 for a Boston team that won just 62 games that year. That’s why, even though MacFayden started out the 1932 campaign for the Red Sox by winning just one of his first 11 decisions, the Yankees were still willing to part with two decent pitchers and $50,000 to bring him to the Bronx in June of that season.
New York skipper Joe McCarthy inserted his new arrival into a deep-star-studded Yankee rotation that included Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Herb Pennock, Johnny Allen and George Pipgras. MacFayden more than held his own, winning 7 of his 12 decisions to help that great 1932 team win 107 regular season games. He didn’t get to pitch in that year’s World Series.
During his final two years with the Yankees, he was used as a reliever and spot starter and grew disgruntled with both his manager and his role on the team. McCarthy wanted all his pitchers to throw exclusively overhand but MacFayden had always switched between an overhand and sidearm delivery and was convinced that the different looks made it harder for hitters to figure him out. He may have had a point. His ERAs during his final two years in pinstripes were not impressive and he ended up getting sold to the Reds after the 1934 season. New York gave Cincinnati the option of returning MacFayden the following June which they did. Not surprisingly, McCarthy then put the pitcher on waivers and he was claimed by the Boston Bees who immediately began using MacFayden as a starter. It took him a year to get back into the starter’s mode but once he did, the pitcher known as “Deacon Danny” put together three straight solid seasons for some mediocre Boston teams.
When he finally retired as a player in 1942, MacFayden had won 139 big league games and had never spent a day pitching in the minors. He later became the highly respected baseball coach at Bowdoin College in Maine.
|BOS (7 yrs)||52||78||.400||4.23||185||148||26||71||8||4||1167.0||1273||643||548||45||430||344||1.459|
|BSN (6 yrs)||60||64||.484||3.45||169||142||16||71||10||2||1097.0||1178||485||420||36||292||311||1.340|
|NYY (3 yrs)||14||10||.583||4.68||64||32||16||15||0||1||307.2||367||188||160||24||105||102||1.534|
|WSH (1 yr)||0||1||.000||10.29||5||0||3||0||0||0||7.0||12||9||8||1||5||3||2.429|
|CIN (1 yr)||1||2||.333||4.75||7||4||1||1||0||0||36.0||39||22||19||1||13||13||1.444|
|PIT (1 yr)||5||4||.556||3.55||35||8||13||0||0||2||91.1||112||47||36||5||27||24||1.522|