A relief pitcher who didn't rely on gimmicks, the well-traveled McMahon threw a fastball
and a simple overhand curve for 18 ML seasons, and when he retired, only Hoyt Wilhelm,
Lindy McDaniel, and Cy Young had pitched in more games. McMahon played before the
dominating bullpen closer had emerged as a baseball position, and he never saved
more than 19 games in a single season, but the stocky righthander was always in demand
as durable, hard
McMahon was converted to relief pitching in
the minors by manager Whitlow Wyatt after he had gone 2-13, 5.01 as a starter for
Toledo (American Association) in 1955, and in 1957 he reached the ML, posting a 1.54
ERA in 32 appearances for the World Champion Braves. He led the NL with 15 saves
in 1959, then in 1962 he began a sojourn that took him to seven different clubs in
eight seasons. The Braves sold him to the Astros in 1962 (where he made his only
two ML starts, both losses), who sold him to the Indians after 1963. McMahon saved
27 games in two seasons with the Indians, then switched teams in mid-season each
year from 1966 to 1969, yet still posted a 1.98 ERA in 1967 and again in 1968. The
Indians traded McMahon to the Red Sox with Lee Stange for Dick Radatz in 1966, and
the Red Sox shipped him to the White Sox for Jerry Adair in 1967. Chicago traded
him to Detroit for Dennis Ribant the following year, and in 1969 the Tigers sold
him to San Francisco, where he spent his final six seasons. In 1971 McMahon led the
NL with nine relief wins and recorded a career-high 19 saves for the Giants.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 23, 1958: Carl Willey of the Braves pitches a 7–0 shutout against the Giants in his first ML start. Another noted starter is Joe Adcock, playing LF for the 1st times since 1952, who climbs the fence to snag a ball. Willey gives up six hits, including Willie Mays's 1,000th career hit. Willey is relieved by Don McMahon who becomes the first pitcher to be driven to the mound, when a motor scooter with sidecar delivers him from the bullpen.
»July 6, 1966:
The Red Sox sweep a pair from the Yankees, with reliever Don McMahon picking up both wins. He pitches one 2/3 inning in the opener and another two innings in game 2. The only other pitcher to win a doubleheader from the Yankees was the Browns Dave Davenport in 1916, who threw two CG victories.
»June 2, 1967: The Red Sox pick up infield help when they get 2B Jerry Adair from the White Sox for reliever Don McMahon and a minor leaguer. Adair, hitting .204, will hit .291 after changing Sox. The White Sox are a game out of 1st place, three 1/2 games ahead of Boston.
»August 9, 1969: The Giants purchase relief P Don McMahon from the Tigers. Tomorrow, he'll give up four runs in the 9th as the Giants lose, 7–4, to the Cards.
»August 8, 1970:
The Giants edge the Astros, 6–5, with the win going to reliever Don McMahon. Giants starter Skip Pitlock has his 1st and only ML homer (half his career hits), an inside-the-park liner off Wade Blasingame.
»August 28, 1971: Phillies hurler Rick Wise hits two home runs, including a grand slam off Don McMahon, in the 2nd game of a doubleheader. Wise beats the Giants 7–3. Wise also hit two home runs in his June no-hitter.
»May 25, 1973: The Giants activate 43-year-old coach Don McMahon as pitcher. McMahon will go 4–0 with six saves and a 1.50 ERA the rest of the season, before being released October 9th.