McCormick was a burly, Scottish-born, underhand pitcher during baseball's pioneering
era, when most teams carried only two or three pitchers. As a 23-year-old playing
manager in 1879, he recorded a National League
-high 40 wins, starting 60 of Cleveland's
82 games. The following year, he led the league with 45 wins, working 657 innings.
He then relinquished his managing job to concentrate on pitching. In 1882, as he
had in 1880, he recorded league highs in wins (36), appearances, starts, innings
pitched, hits allowed, and - for the third consecutive season - complete games. His
466 career complete games put him among the all-time leaders.
In 1883 and 1884,
McCormick led the NL in ERA (1.84 and 2.37) and winning percentage (.675 and .615).
His 40-25 mark in '84
included ten shutouts, and was bolstered by a 21-3 record in
the short-lived Union Association. His final winning campaign came with Chicago in
1886, when he won 16 straight to finish 31-11. McCormick's teams were shut out in
43 of his 214 career losses. In 1880 he was on the losing end of ten shutouts, including
a 1-0 loss to Worcester's Lee Richmond, who threw a perfect game.