Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

December 17, 2011

Sam McDowell and Cheers Character Sam Malone




     I don’t know why, but I enjoy the television sitcom Cheers. Its characters and introductory song appeal to me. A somewhat different appeal is its setting—Boston—although other shows are set there and I do not watch them.

     What I didn’t know is that the character Sam Malone is based on a real life person, Sam McDowell, a six-foot five-inch man having a sixteen-year Major League Baseball career.

    He pitched his first game for the Cleveland Indians at age 18, played in all six All Star games and earned his nickname for “Sudden Sam” for his fastball, clocked at 103 mp…the only thing faster and wilder than pitcher “Sudden” Sam McDowell’s fastball was his nightlife. The former Pittsburgh native became so drunk after games that he often forgot the hotel where he was staying and slept on a curb…He finished (his sports playing career)with 2,453 strikeouts…he retired with his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates in 1975…

     Acknowledging that he was one-tenth the pitcher I could have been if I didn’t have the obsessive-compulsive addictive personality, he bottomed out in 1979. His wife and family left him. He moved in with his parents. After taking a four-day trip during which he was constantly drunk, he sat in his underwear in his mother’s living room and realzed: “Enough is enough.”

     His life changed when, in 1979, he entered a Gateway Rehab program for alcoholics. Later, he was a sports psychology and employee assistance counselor for the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays. He consults for the Baseball Assistance Team, a charity that helps people associated with Major League Baseball who have medical, financial, or psychological needs.


‘Sudden Sam’ emerged from alcoholism a winner, Bill Zlatos, Greensburg Tribune-Review, December 7, 2011, pp B7



Baseball, a strawberry festival, and a summer concert

Honus Wagner & Me

Take Me Out to the Ball Game…So Reluctantly I Go


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