On April 2, 1975 the Pittsburgh Pirates signed pitched Sam McDowell as a free agent. The 32-year-old was a Pittsburgh native, signing with the Indians in 1960 right out of Central Catholic HS in Pittsburgh. He was one of the most intimidating pitchers of his time, possibly the hardest thrower of his day, who not only led the league in strikeouts five times, he also issued the most walks five times as well. In 11 seasons with Cleveland, he had a 122-109 record with 2,159 strikeouts in 2,109.2 innings pitched. Prior to 1972, McDowell was traded to the Giants, where injuries and off-field issues began to take their toll on his career. He moved on to the Yankees in the middle of 1973 and was released by them after the 1974 season. McDowell went 1-6, 4.69 in 1974, making seven starts and six relief appearances. He was a non-roster player in Spring Training for the Pirates in 1975, before he made the team as a reliever. He made 14 appearances, one as a starter, and he had a 2-1, 2.86 record in 34.2 innings before he was released in late June. That was the end of his playing career. He finished with 141 wins, a 3.17 ERA and 2,453 strikeouts.

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