Mickey Lolich

Mickey Lolich
Mickey Lolich
Born: September 12, 1940 (1940-09-12) (age 71)
Portland, Oregon
Batted: Switch Threw: Left 
MLB debut
May 12, 1963 for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 23, 1979 for the San Diego Padres
Career statistics
Win–Loss record     217–191
Earned run average     3.44
Strikeouts     2,832
Career highlights and awards

Michael Stephen Lolich (born September 12, 1940 in Portland, Oregon) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher from 1962 until 1979 who played the majority of his career with the Detroit Tigers.


Baseball career

Lolich is best known for his performance in the 1968 World Series, when he allowed just five runs in three complete games, winning all three including the final and decisive game (beating Bob Gibson). Mickey also helped himself at the plate in Game 2, when he hit the first and only home run of his 16-year career. He remains the last pitcher to win three complete games in a single World Series, and was the last to win three at all until Randy Johnson did that in 2001. Lolich was given the World Series MVP Award for his superb performance.

Lolich was a picture of consistency, winning 14 or more games for ten consecutive seasons, including 25 in 1971 (a total no subsequent Tiger pitcher has reached) and 22 in 1972. He struck out a career-high 308 batters in 1972, helping the Tigers to the American League East Championship that season while personally finishing runner-up in the Cy Young Award balloting. The 308 strikeouts is still the Tigers record for a single season. He also struck out 200 or more batters seven times during his career, and ranks third among left-handers (behind Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson) in career strikeouts with 2,832.

After suffering through the 1975 season, in which he lost 18 games for a declining Tigers team, the Tigers traded him to the New York Mets with outfielder Billy Baldwin in exchange for star outfielder Rusty Staub and pitcher Bill Laxton. In 1976, Lolich's slump continued with the Mets, as he won just 8 games while losing 13, leading him to retire. He returned to his home in suburban Detroit, opened a doughnut shop, and skipped the 1977 season. He eventually re-entered the free agent market, signed a contract with the San Diego Padres, and pitched for them during the 1978 and 1979 seasons before permanently retiring. At the time of his retirement, he held the Major League Baseball record for most career strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher. Lolich still holds the American League record for the most career strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher.

Lolich was deemed to be right-handed, but a tricycle accident that occurred while Lolich was young forced him to adapt to using his left hand. This would come to include baseball, once he began to play it. Although he became a left-handed pitcher, Lolich batted right-handed and still writes right-handed.

After Lolich's career ended, he continued to run his doughnut shop in Lake Orion, Michigan (a small suburb roughly 40 miles north of Detroit) for several years before he sold the business and retired. Today, he is active in charitable work and serves as a coach at the Detroit Tigers' fantasy camp in Lakeland, Florida. Because of his humble, "average man" qualities, he is still known to many long-time Tiger fans as one of the most popular sports figures in a working man's city. As the Detroit News put it, "He didn't act like a big shot superstar, he was one of us."[1]

In 2003, Lolich was one of the 26 players selected to the final ballot by the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee. He received only 13 votes, placing him far below the 75% required for election. Lolich has often said the fact that he never won the Cy Young Award was a factor in not receiving sufficient votes to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Detroit Tigers records

Lolich ranks among the Tigers' all time leaders in many categories, including the following:

  • 2,679 strikeouts is #1 on the Tigers all time list
  • 39 shutouts is #1 on the Tigers all time list
  • 459 games started is #1 on the Tigers all time list
  • 329 home runs allowed is #1 on the Tigers all time list
  • 109 wild pitches is #2 on the Tigers all time list (behind Jack Morris)
  • 207 wins is #3 on the Tigers all time list (behind Hooks Dauss and George Mullin)
  • 508 games is #3 on the Tigers all time list (behind John Hiller and Hooks Dauss)
  • 3,361 innings pitched is #3 on Tigers all time list (behind George Mullin and Hooks Dauss)

Other records and accomplishments

  • Lolich's career total of 2,679 strikeouts in the American League is the most in league history by a left-handed pitcher. His career total of 2,832 strikeouts in both leagues ranked in the top 10 in Major League history when he retired in 1979.
  • Lolich's total of 1,538 batters faced in 1971 is the most in Major League Baseball since George Uhle faced 1,548 batters in 1923. Only two other pitchers have faced at least 1,500 batters since 1923: Wilbur Wood with 1,531 in 1973 and Bob Feller with 1,512 in 1946.
  • Lolich's total of 376 innings pitched in 1971 is the second highest in Major League Baseball since 1917. Wilbur Wood holds the modern record with 376-2/3 innings pitched in 1972. Only four pitchers have reached the 350 innings mark since the 1920s: Wilbur Wood (1972 and 1973), Lolich (1971), Bob Feller (1946), and Dizzy Trout (1944).
  • During the decade from 1965 to 1974, Lolich had more strikeouts (2,245) than any other pitcher in Major League Baseball. Bob Gibson was second with 2,117 during the same period.
  • During the decade from 1965 to 1974, Lolich ranked second in Major League Baseball in innings pitched (2,744-2/3). Gaylord Perry was first with 2,978 innings pitched.
  • During the decade from 1965 to 1974, Lolich had more wins (172) than any other pitcher in the American League. Gaylord Perry led the majors with 182 wins during that period.
  • During the decade from 1965 to 1974, Lolich had more complete games (155) than any other pitcher in the American League. Gaylord Perry led the majors with 205 complete games during that period.
  • Lolich is the only lefthander to start, finish and win three complete World Series games.

See also


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bob Gibson
World Series MVP
Succeeded by
Donn Clendenon
Preceded by
Lou Brock
Babe Ruth Award
Succeeded by
Al Weis
Preceded by
Sam McDowell
American League Strikeout Champion
Succeeded by
Nolan Ryan
Preceded by
Cuellar, McNally & J. Perry
American League Wins Champion
Succeeded by
G. Perry & Wood

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