One of the top relief pitchers of the 1960s, Lindy McDaniel rests in the 17th position in career games finished and 15th in career games pitched. When Lindy was at the height of his game, there were few relief pitchers better–if any. He netted three saves championships during his career and led the league in winning percentage once.
A bonus baby from Oklahoma, McDaniel joined the St. Louis Cardinals as a teenager in 1955. As a rookie in 1956, Lindy posted a decent 3.45 ERA as a long arm/spot starter. 1957 was the only year Lindy was used regularly in the rotation and he posted a fine 15-9 record for the Redbirds. After a disastrous ’58 season as a long arm/spot starter, the Cardinals made him a full-time fireman.
Lindy took to the bullpen like a duck to water. He tied for the league lead in saves in 1959 while also pacing St. Louis moundsmen in victories with 14. The following year he led the NL with 26 saves and posted a league best .750 winning percentage on a terrific 2.09 ERA. Lindy showcased amazing control that season by issuing just 24 walks opposed to 105 strikeouts. After two years in the bullpen, he had quickly established himself as an elite fireman.
In the year of the hitter, 1961, Lindy’s numbers, like most pitchers, weren’t too flattering, but he got back in his groove in 1962 with 14 saves. Just after the ’62 season, the Cardinals dealt him and pitcher Larry Jackson to the pitching starved Cubs for outfielder George Altman and pitcher Don Cardwell. The Cubs got a great relief arm out of McDaniel to led the NL in saves his first year in the Windy City.
Lindy was used in 71 games in 1965 and fashioned a 2.58 ERA out of the Cubs bullpen. Traded to the Giants after the season, he posted a tidy 2.66 ERA his first year in San Francisco. Early in the ’68 season, Lindy was having his worst year at the Major League level when the Giants shipped him to the Yankees for Bill Monbouquette. The sails of satisfaction guided Lindy’s ship again and he got back on the proper course in the Bronx by posting a great 1.76 ERA after the trade.
In perhaps his finest year, 1970, Lindy saved a career high 29 games for the Yankees on a terrific 2.01 ERA. He owned the stuff that missed bats that season, indicated by his amazing 0.786 hits allowed per inning mark. That average was superior to HOF peer Rollie Fingers’ 0.926 mark.
After a rough year in ’71, the Yankees made Lindy the setupman to southpaw Sparky Lyle and he flourished in the capacity with a 2.25 ERA. After a 12-6 record and ten saves in 1973, the Yankees made a great trade with the Kansas City Royals by dealing their aging fireman for young outfielder Lou Pineilla. Lindy pitched two years for the Royals before calling it quits while Piniella was instrumental in getting New York back to their winning ways.
W 141/L 199/PCT .542/ERA 3.45/SV 172/IP 2,139/H 2,099/BB 623/SO 1,361