Screwball master Mike McCormick, who won the 1967 National League Cy Young Award while pitching for the San Francisco Giants, passed away on Saturday after a prolonged battle with Parkinson's Disease, the team announced. He was 81 years old.
McCormick pitched in part of 16 big-league seasons, and spent 11 of those with the Giants. He debuted weeks shy of his 18th birthday in 1956, back when the Giants called New York home, and made the trip west to San Francisco. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 1963 season, wrapping up his first stint with the Giants after 224 games and a pair of All-Star appearances.
McCormick, a lefty who also pitched with the Washington Senators, New York Yankees, and Kansas City Royals, would later return to the Giants in 1967 as part of a low-stakes deal to add depth. Here's what SABR wrote about McCormick's second spin in San Francisco:
The Giants had no high hopes for McCormick; they just wanted him to balance a staff that was primarily right-handed. After another cortisone shot, now an annual spring tune-up, he joined a starting rotation that included future Hall of Famers Marichal and Gaylord Perry and another left-handed former bonus baby, Ray Sadecki. "I would never have gotten out of spring training without the cortisone," he said. "I wasn't pain-free during the season, but I could pitch." He kept quiet about the pain: "If you were hurt, it's just move over, here comes the next guy."
McCormick for his career appeared in 484 big-league games. He compiled a 3.73 ERA (96 ERA+) and a 1.66 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Baseball-Reference estimates that he was worth more than 17 Wins Above Replacement, and that he had three seasons where he was worth at least four wins each: 1960, 1961, and 1967.