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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Bet On The Tigers


By Fred Wallace

Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".


The Detroit Tigers have formed a multi-year partnership with PointsBet, a premier global sportsbook operator.

The release stated the partnership is designed to enhance fan engagement and game-day excitement in and around Comerica Park.

As much as I'm all for sports wagering, I find it somewhat perplexing that the betting connection commences with the Tigers.

More than a half century ago, Detroit had an ace pitcher named Denny McLain who won 31 games in 1968

However, by 1970 there were numerous reports linking McLain to bookmaking activities. 

A foot injury suffered by McLain was said to have been caused by an organized crime figure who stomped on McLain's foot as punishment for McLain failing to pay off on a lost bet.

Then there was the Pepsi connection.

McLain who was a Pepsi-holic and a representative of the company struck an endorsement deal.

Fair enough.

Then the two fellows realized they loved to gamble.

Then the two fellows realized they were losing money, big time, on their bets.

So they made the natural progression and started taking the action and attempted to set up a bookmaking operation as silent partners.

This was the beginning of a never ending sequence of incidents, fines, suspensions, criminal charges and jail time for Denny McLain who was out of baseball at age 29, less than 5 years after his stellar season in 1968.

And how's this for an irony ?....... The last batter Denny McLain ever faced in Major League Baseball was........... Pete Rose.

Maybe Detroit was a better location for baseball wagering than Cincinnati.

Overall, I think it's great you can wager on baseball games and a number of options within the game. I just find it curious that the launching center is Detroit.


I'm Fred Wallace

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