Villager who played Major League Baseball served as inspiration for memorable TV character


Red Sox Nation has a reputation of bringing top speakers to their monthly club meetings. This is especially true in the months the Red Sox are conducting spring training in our state.

The October meeting is a special treat – a top speaker when spring training is not happening.

This speaker doesn’t have far to travel.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher “Sudden Sam” McDowell lives in the Village of Hadley.

McDowell played in Major League Baseball from 1961-1975 for the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sudden Sam McDowell, left, with an autograph seeker, and Sam of Cheers.

He was a six-time All-Star, led the American League in ERA in 1965, was a five-time American League strikeout leader and is in the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame.

McDowell, 75, made his Major League debut one week before his 19th birthday pitching 6.2 innings and allowing the Minnesota Twins just three hits.

The character of Sam Malone, the bartender played by Ted Danson on the television show Cheers, is said to be based on the baseball life of McDowell.

The Oct. 19 meeting begins at 6 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. It will be held at the SeaBreeze Recreation Center.

The meeting will begin with a special bag pipe and prayer tribute to the club’s 2017 departed members.

Sandwiches and beverages will be served.

Sign-ups for the Nov. 19 Patriots TV game and picnic will be available.

For more information or to join visit or contact Lou Edmond at 259-2835 or


  1. Sam Malone was actually modeled after Jim Lonborg. In the TV show “Cheers”, the picture behind the bar that was supposed to show Sam Malone pitching for the Red Sox is actually a picture of Lonborg. (This according to Ken Levine, one of the writers of Cheers.)

    Wikipedia also says, “On the Boston-based sitcom Cheers, the photo of Sam Malone pitching is actually that of Lonborg. Sam also wore Lonborg’s number 16.”

    It’s not often that you have a Cy Young award winner poking around in your mouth, but some patients in Massachusetts get to experience just that. Star baseball pitcher Jim Lonborg played for the Boston Red Sox from 1965 through 1971, and in 1967 became the first Red Sox pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. After a 15-year career, in which he played for the Sox, Brewers and Phillies, Lonborg retired and enrolled in the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He became a dentist and set up shop in Hanover, Mass.