Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Lolich, Mickey

Considered to be one of the greatest left-handed pitchers in baseball history, Michael “Mickey” Lolich was born on September 12th, 1940 in Portland, Oregon. He played baseball as a youth, in recreational leagues and at school. Naturally right-handed, Lolich learned to pitch left-handed, which he attributes to an accident when he was a child. Lolich began his professional career as a teen in 1959, playing in the minor leagues. He joined Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers in 1963 and soon became a mainstay of the pitching staff.  

Lolich is remembered as the hero of the 1968 World Series when he threw three pressure packed complete game victories over the St. Louis Cardinals to conclude a remarkable come from behind season to capture the Tigers’ third world championship. For his incredible performance, he was named the ‘68 World Series Most Valuable Player. In 1971 he was runner up for the Cy Young Award as the American League’s best pitcher when he led the league in victories (25), strikeouts (308), complete games (29) and innings pitched (376). The three-time All-Star spent 13 of his 16 major league seasons with the Tigers, shortly playing for the New York Mets and San Diego Padres after leaving Detroit.   

For years Lolich held the record in the MLB for most strikeouts in a career by a left-handed pitcher. He still holds the all-time Tiger team records in single season strikeouts (308), career strikeouts (2,679) shutouts (39), and games started (459).  During the 1967 civil disturbance in Detroit, Lolich temporarily left the Tigers when he was activated by the Michigan Air National Guard. 1979 was his last season in the MLB. Following his retirement from playing, he served as a coach, business owner, and more.  



1972 Detroit Tigers Official Yearbook

One baseball signed by 1968 Detroit Tigers team member, Mickey Lolich.

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