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Mickey Lolich
Born: 1940

  • Cousin of Ron Lolich
    [Courtesy Arnie Braunstein]
  • LHP 1963-76, 78-79 Tigers , Mets,

    Mickey Lolich's Teammates

    • Led League in w 71
    • Led League in k 71
    • All-Star in 1969, 71-72

    Career 3639217-1913.44
    World Series 183-01.67

    Books and articles about Mickey Lolich

    Portly lefty Lolich stole the spotlight from teammate Denny McLain in 1968, despite McLain's 31-win season. Lolich won three games in the 1968 World Series, giving up only five runs in his three complete games, including a 4-1 victory in the seventh game against Bob Gibson on two days' rest. In the sixth inning of that victory, he picked off both Curt Flood and Lou Brock. A notoriously poor hitter (a career .110 average), Lolich cracked his only major league homer in Game Two of the Series off Nelson Briles.
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    The picture of consistency throughout his career, Lolich struck out 200-plus seven times and finished 12th all-time in strikeouts with 2,832, second only to Steve Carlton among lefties. Lolich was not a natural lefthander. A childhood run-in with a motorcycle left him with a broken left collarbone. Rehabilitating his left arm actually made it stronger than his right. Lolich came up the same year as McLain but was far more consistent, never winning fewer than 14 games in his 11 full years in a Tiger uniform. In 1968, while McLain piloted planes and played the organ, Lolich rode motorcycles and played the drums on his way to 17 wins, going 10-2 over the last two months of the season. In 1971 he had a league-leading 25 victories and 308 strikeouts. He would have won the Cy Young Award but for Vida Blue's spectacular rookie season. Lolich won 22 the following year with a career-best 2.50 ERA and again felt he deserved the Cy Young Award, but he lost a close vote to Gaylord Perry.

    Lolich was traded to the Mets for Rusty Staub after the 1975 season, then "retired" after going 8-13 for New York in 1976. He sat out the entire 1977 season to get out of his contract, then signed with San Diego for two final seasons. (SEW)
    » October 1, 1964: Detroit's Dave Wickersham, in a bid for his 20th win, is ejected by umpire Bill Valentine in the 7th inning of his final start. Wickersham gets the heave-ho for trying to get Valentine's attention by grabbing his shoulder during an argument with Norm Cash. Mickey Lolich enters the 1–1 tie and earns a 4–2 win.

    » May 29, 1965: Mickey Lolich's 10-inning win is Detroit's 2nd straight 2-hit 1–0 win against Cleveland.

    » August 6, 1965: After hitting 7-for-11 against the White Sox, Mickey Mantle loops a homer off Mickey Lolich but Detroit tops the visiting Yankees, 5–4. New York will win tomorrow and Mick will add another homer.

    » April 12, 1966: At Yankee Stadium, 40,006 fans watch the Tigers edge the Yankees, 2–1. The Yankees only score is Joe Pepitone's 5th inning homer off Mickey Lolich, who strikes out 10 Yankees. Lolich, with a career average of .075, leads off the 9th with a single which opens the door for the Tiger's winning run off Whitey Ford.

    » May 17, 1967: Detroit's Mickey Lolich stops the Yankees on five hits to win, 4–2. Mickey Mantle has a homer and drives in both New York runs.

    » September 8, 1967: The Tigers move into a first-place tie with the Twins, as Eddie Mathews and Jim Northrup hit home runs, and Mickey Lolich beats Tommy John 4–1 at Chicago.

    » September 22, 1967: The Tigers sweep two from Washington, 8–3 and 4–0, to stay a half-game behind the leading Twins. Earl Wilson cops his 22nd in the opener while Mickey Lolich takes the nitecap. The White Sox lose to Cleveland, 2–1, in 13 innings, while Boston splits a twi-night doubleheader with Baltimore, losing 10–0, then winning 10–3 behind Jose Santiago.

    » September 26, 1967: Cleveland's Luis Tiant beats the Red Sox 6–3 despite Yaz's 43rd home run of the season. The Twins top the Angels 7–3 behind two monster home runs by Harmon Killebrew, his 42nd and 43rd of the season. Mickey Lolich blanks the Yanks, 1–0, for Detroit to tighten the pennant race. The Twins (91–68) lead with Chicago (89–68) and the idle Red Sox (90–69) a game back, and Detroit (89–69) one 1/2 back.

    » September 30, 1967: Boston beats the Twins 6–4 to tie Minnesota for first place. Carl Yastrzemski's 3-run home run gives him the American League-lead with 44th, but Harmon Killebrew answers with his 44th for the losers. Meanwhile, Detroit, which had games rained out on the 28th and 29th, plays two with the Angels. Mickey Lolich wins the opener, 5–0, his 3rd straight shutout, and Detroit takes a seemingly safe 6–2 lead into the 8th inning of the nitecap. The Angels then bat around, scoring six runs, to hand Detroit a devastating 8–6 loss. Detroit now trails Minnesota and Boston by a half-game.

    » July 28, 1968: Dave McNally outduels Mickey Lolich to give Baltimore a much-need win over the Tigers, 5–1.

    » October 3, 1968: Detroit's Mickey Lolich evens the Series with a 6-hitter and his first ML home run to defeat St. Louis, 8–1.

    » October 7, 1968: Mickey Lolich saves Detroit, 5–3 with an unlikely assist from Lou Brock. On 2B in the 5th, Brock tries to score standing up on Julian Javier's single and is gunned down by Willie Horton's throw. Al Kaline's bases-loaded single off Joe Hoerner in the 7th scores two for the winning margin. Jose Feliciano's modern rendition of the National Anthem before the game stirs controversy.

    » October 10, 1968: Mickey Lolich bests Bob Gibson and brings Detroit its first World Series championship since 1945. The hefty lefty hurls a 5-hitter, giving Detroit a 4–1 win.

    » April 10, 1969: Bill Freehan smashes two homers—one with the sacks full—to lead the Tigers to a 12–3 win over the Indians. Mickey Lolich beats Sam McDowell.

    » May 18, 1969: Rod Carew steals 2B, 3B, and home in the 3rd inning of Minnesota's 8–2 loss to Detroit. Cesar Tovar also steals 3rd and home ahead of Carew, and the two steals of home in an inning ties a ML record. Tovar pays a price when Mickey Lolich hits him in the head with a pitch in his next at bat.

    » May 23, 1969: Mickey Lolich sets a Detroit record with 16 strikeouts while defeating Andy Messersmith and the Angels 6–3. Mickey Stanley's grand slam is the difference. Lolich's mark breaks the record of 15 set by Paul Foytack in 1956.

    » June 9, 1969: Mickey Lolich's 16 strikeouts in nine innings ties the Detroit record he set May 23rd, but the Tigers drop a 3–2, 10-inning decision to Seattle. Pat Dobson is the loser. the only run off Lolich is a leadoff home run by Dick Simpson on the first pitch of the game.

    » June 21, 1969: Willie Horton powers two homers, one a grand slam, and drives in six runs to power the Tigers to a 9–5 win over the visiting Senators. Mickey Lolich (8–1) is the winner, allowing just four hits.

    » April 6, 1970: In the traditional opener in Washington DC, Detroit's Mickey Lolich shuts out the Senators, 5–0. Dick Bosman is the losing pitcher.

    » May 23, 1971: With 53,337 on hand Mickey Lolich and Les Cain, with three innings from Joe Niekro, notch shutouts as the Tigers sweep a doubleheader from the Senators 5–0 and 11–0. The loser in the opener is Denny McLain, making his first appearance in Detroit since being traded. Al Kaline and Norm Cash each hit 2-run homers off Denny, with Cash adding another pair, one with the sacks full, in the nitecap.

    » July 6, 1971: Norm Cash belts a pair of 3-run homers to power the Tigers to a 12–7 win over the Yanks. Mickey Lolich goes all the way for the win.

    » July 23, 1971: Catfish Hunter is knocked out in the 7th inning, but before he exits he drives in four runs as Oakland beats Detroit and Mickey Lolich, 9–7. Sal Bando has two homers, while the Tigers hit 4.

    » August 21, 1971: Mickey Lolich allows six hits as Detroit beats the Brewers 7–2. It is Lolich's 20th win of the year.

    » October 26, 1971: Vida Blue wins the American League Cy Young Award by a 98-85 margin over the Tigers Mickey Lolich. Blue was 24-8 for the A's, posting 301 strikeouts, eight shutouts, and a 1.82 ERA.

    » June 27, 1972: Mickey Lolich is staked to 4–0 lead when the Tigers hit three consecutive first-inning home runs against New York's Wade Blasingame, making his American League debut. Tony Taylor leads off with a walk before Aurelio Rodriguez, Al Kaline, and Willie Horton wade in with homers to finish Blasingame. Lolich, pitching on two days rest, notches his 12th, winning 5–2. Bobby Murcer's home run accounts for one of the Yank runs.

    » August 18, 1972: Mickey Lolich regains first place for the Tigers as he bests the Angels and Nolan Ryan 2–0. It is Lolich's 19th win.

    » September 6, 1972: Behind Mickey Lolich's 20th win, Detroit beats the Orioles in Baltimore 4–3 in the tight pennant race. Lolich had failed in five previous outings to win his 20th.

    » September 8, 1972: Mickey Lolich wins his 20th game of the year as Detroit tips the Orioles, 4–3. The Tigers jump on Jim Palmer (18-8) for three runs in the 1st inning. Seelbach pitches the last three 1/3 innings of shutout ball for the save.

    » October 2, 1972: The Red Sox fall a half game behind Detroit, losing 4–1 to Mickey Lolich before 51,518 at Tiger Stadium. Trailing 1–0 in the 3rd, Carl Yastrzemski hits a triple with two on, but Luis Aparicio stumbles twice and scrambles back to 3B, where Yaz is tagged out.

    » April 7, 1973: Cleveland sets day-game and opening-game records as 74,420 fans watch the Indians beat the Tigers 2–1. Gaylord Perry is the winner over Mickey Lolich as Chris Chambliss and Mickey Stanley match homers.

    » April 12, 1973: Dave McNally and the Orioles edge the Tigers, 1–0, in 10 innings. A throwing error by starter Mickey Lolich allows the only run.

    » August 11, 1973: White Sox rookie Brian Downing cracks his first major league hit, a home run off Detroit's Mickey Lolich. Downing's debut dinger is a first in the majors since at least 1945—an inside the park homer. It'll be matched in two years by the Giants Johnnie LeMaster, who will do it in his first at bat.

    » August 20, 1974: Nolan Ryan strikes out 19 in 11 innings, but loses to the Tigers 1–0 at Anaheim Stadium. Mickey Lolich goes the distance for the win.

    » May 25, 1975: Mickey Lolich's 200th career victory is a rain-shortened, 4–1 win over the White Sox. His catcher is Bill Freehan, who also caught him in his first ML start May 21, 1963.

    » December 12, 1975: The Mets trade OF Rusty Staub and P Bill Laxton to the Tigers for P Mickey Lolich and OF Billy Baldwin. Lolich leaves Detroit after 13 years and 207 wins and remains the Tiger career leader in games started, strikeouts, and shutouts.

    » September 5, 1976: Phillies pitcher Larry Christenson belts two homers and pitches a 3–1 win over the Mets. Mickey Lolich is the losing pitcher.

    » July 6, 1980: Steve Carlton (14-4) becomes the major leagues' lefthanded strikeout king, fanning seven Cardinals in an 8–3 Phillies win to bring his career total to 2,836. Mickey Lolich had held the record with 2,832.