David Arthur McNally
Born: Oct. 31, 1942 in Billings, Mont.
Died: Dec. 1, 2002 in Billings, Mont.
Debut: 1962 | Pos: P
Ht: 5'11" | Wt: 190 | B: R | T: L
>> Visit the Dave McNally biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Dave McNally, who won 184 games and a court decision that was much more important for future players, died Sunday, Dec. 1, 2002, in Billings, Mont., at the age of 60. He had been battling cancer.
McNally joined pitcher Andy Messersmith in 1975 to file a grievance against baseball's reserve clause. The two players challenged the clause because it allow teams to perpetually signed players for 1-year deals.
"His courage and determination led him, along with Andy Messersmith, to challenge a flawed system, and thus helped pave the way to improved working conditions for all professional athletes," players' union head Don Fehr said in an Associated Press article.
After making an early exit in Game 1 of the 1966 World Series, McNally won Game 4 1-0 to complete a sweep of the Dodgers. In 1969, he won a 1-0, 11-inning effort to beat Minnesota and he is the only pitcher to hit a grand slam in the World Series (Game 3 of the 1970 series).
He won at least 20 games for four consecutive seasons from 1968-1971. McNally was in the All-Star Game in 1969, 1970 and 1972. In 1968-69, he tied the American League record by recording 17 straight wins. Roger Clemens later broke the record with 20 consecutive wins.
McNally's debut on September 26, 1962 was a two-hit shutout of the Kansas City Athletics.
"He loved to set you up with a change, fool you with that tremendous curve and then throw the fastball by you." said Earl Weaver, former Orioles manager, in an interview Monday. "Plus, he was 100 percent gentleman. He was the kind of guy you wanted your son to be."
Following his career, he worked at a car dealership in Billings.
Two years ago, he was honored as Montana's Athlete of the Century.
On Dec. 4, 1974, he was traded, along with OF Rich Coggins and minor leaguer Bill Kirkpatrick to the Montreal Expos for Ken Singleton and Mike Torrez. After starting the 1975 season at 3-6 for the Expos, he decided to call it quits in June.
Montreal president John McHale visited McNally at his home in November 1975 to offer him a $125,000 contract even though McNally had retired. Andy Messersmith had also been offered a contract by Los Angeles. He refused to sign it and the union filed a grievance against the reserve clause. Los Angeles agreed to pay Messersmith's salary requests but the team would not include a no-trade clause.
Union leader Marvin Miller approached McNally (his contract had been unilaterally renewed) and asked him to join the case. McNally agreed to help the cause.
Arbitrator Peter Seitz sided with the two players and issued a decision on Dec. 23, 1975 that negated baseball's reserve clause. Owners and the union worked out a deal that allowed players to become free agents after they had played 6 seasons in the major leagues.
Sources: Associated Press, Sportsline, Total Baseball