Sam McDowell was 6-5 southpaw with a nice easy motion when he delivered the ball to plate gave rise to the nickname Sudden Sam. McDowell broke in with the Cleveland Indians as an 18-year old. When in his only appearance he walked five, and fanned 5 hitters in a 6.1 innings of work. It was an omen of things to come for McDowell. in 1962 & 1963, he struggled to find his spot on the pitching staff.
1964 was to be McDowell's break out season. He finish with a won-loss record of 11-6 with an ERA of 2.70, he walked 100 batter, while striking out 177, in 173.1 innings of work. In 1965, he would go 17-11 with a league leading ERA of 2.18. He would lead the league in strike outs with 325, walks 132, and 17 wild pitches. Effectively wild? Five of the next six seasons he would lead the American League in strikes outs. Five of the next seven seasons, he would lead the league in walks. 1970 would be his only 20 win season of his career, and after that season his numbers began to tail off.
After the 1971 season he was traded to the San Francisco Giants where he won 10 games in 1972. McDowell would make stops at the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates before calling it a career. He was six time American League all-star (1965, 1966, 1968-1971). His won loss record was 141-134 with an ERA of 3.17, and finished with 2,453 strike outs.