Re:Anybody remebers Farmer Pete's or Farmer Peat's
BY MIKE BRUDENELL
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
From champion pitcher to common crook, Denny McLain has been there, done that.
Once the face on Time magazine, McLain hurled his way into baseball history when he won 31 games for the Tigers in 1968, helping them to a World Series title and doing his part to heal a wounded city. For all his fame and good fortune, however, McLain could not control his gambling and drinking, rubbing shoulders with reputed mobsters in Las Vegas and taking illegal bets from around Michigan.
In 1970, McLain, winner of two Cy Young awards, was suspended by commissioner Bowie Kuhn for his involvement in gambling. "I'm not an altar boy, and I've associated with some funny people, but I'm certainly not Al Capone," says McLain, now 60, in the acclaimed documentary series "Beyond the Glory," which will air in Detroit on Fox Sports Net at 8 p.m. Sunday.
There would be those who'd disagree with McLain, who went from a 30-game winner with the world at his fingertips to eventual two-time loser of the prison system following his retirement at 29.
In 1985, McLain was indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to import the drug. He was convicted of the charges and sentenced to 23 years in jail.
McLain did just over two years and was released when his conviction was reversed, on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.
But it didn't take McLain long to find trouble again.
After he and a business associate bought a meatpacking company in Chesaning in 1993, McLain was later accused of embezzling $3 million from the company's pension fund when the place went bankrupt in 1995.
McLain and his partner were charged with an assortment of crimes, including embezzlement, money laundering and mail fraud. McLain did time at a minimum-security prison camp in Pennsylvania. He was released in 2003.