Mickey Lolich won over 200 major league games. He is perhaps best known for his performance in the 1968 World Series, in which he pitched three complete game victories, giving up only five runs – including the final and decisive game. He was given the World Series MVP Award for his performance.
Lolich was a natural righthander but a broken right arm in his youth caused him to learn to throw lefty and he enjoyed a lengthy and highly successful major-league career as a result. A self-described “rubber arm” with a picturesque delivery, he never experienced arm problems while logging over 3,600 career innings, including an incredible 376 in 1971.
Lolich played for the Detroit Tigers thirteen years. In that time he was a picture of consistency, winning 14 or more games for ten consecutive seasons including 25 in 1971 and 22 in 1972. Blessed with a better than average fastball, Lolich’s pinpoint control was his greatest strength (less than three walks per nine innings during his career). He lost 18 games for the 1975 Detroit Tigers and was traded in the offseason with Billy Baldwin) to the New York Mets for Rusty Staub and Bill Laxton. Lolich was no longer a dominant starter for the Mets, but bounced back going 8 – 13 with a league average ERA. He retired following the season and and opened a donut shop in Lapeer, MI near Detroit, MI.
Lolich was granted his free agency in January 1978 and signed a contract with the San Diego Padres and played with them as a reliever during the 1978 and 1979 seasons before retiring for good.
Lolich won 217 games in his career and also ranks third among lefthanders in career strikeouts with 2,832, behind Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson. At the time of his retirement, he was the all-time southpaw strike-out leader.
With his playing career over, Lolich continued to run his donut shop for several years, before selling the business and retiring to Oregon. He currently is active in charitable work and serves as a coach at the Detroit Tigers’ Fantasy Camp in Lakeland, FL.