There's a reason Denny McLain does book signings and shoots footage for his upcoming reality show at various baseball stadiums.
"The greatest material in the world is at a baseball park," McLain said. "Especially when everybody tries to remember where they were when I won the 30th game, or when I won the World Series, or the pennant. We hear so many great stories."
McLain, Major League Baseball's last 30-game winner and the 1968 American League MVP, was on hand at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Thursday. The stop at the home of the Curve was one of many McLain has made at minor league ballparks this summer to promote his autobiography as well as capture footage for a reality show that is currently being filmed about him.
Due to inclement weather, the Curve's game with New Hampshire was postponed Thursday and McLain was unable to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. However, the former Detroit Tigers star said he may be back to Altoona in August.
McLain's book is entitled "I Told You I Wasn't Perfect" and he said it's about his life.
Though he had on-field success, McLain has had to deal with a lot of issues away from baseball, and he's had a few run-ins with the law, including when he served time in prison for embezzlement.
Tonight: New Hampshire at Altoona, doubleheader with game one starting at 6 p.m.
McLain said he attacked those issues head-on in his book and there are some things he wrote about that he wanted to clear up.
"We hold nothing back," McLain said. "We haven't had a word of objection from anybody who read the book. We're very proud because nobody has screamed and hollered about it."
Fans may remember McLain for his troubles with the law, but on the field, the 68-year-old will likely be remembered for 1968.
Forty four years ago, McLain had one of the best seasons a pitcher has ever had in history. Pitching for the Tigers, he went 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA and 280 strikeouts in 336 innings. He won the 1968 AL Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards, and helped the Tigers win the World Series that season.
"There's no other word to say but magical," McLain said of the 1968 season. "I've played with the best baseball team there was, probably in the history of the game, ever since I was a child anyway."
No other major league pitcher has won 30 games in a single season since McLain did, and he said with the game the way it is now, he doesn't see it ever happening.
McLain pointed out team's management is holding pitchers back too much, and went on to call the pitch limit the Washington Nationals have this season on their 24-year-old ace Stephen Strasburg - who is coming off of Tommy John surgery last year - "a joke."
"It's impossible," McLain said on another pitcher winning 30 games in a season. "They don't pitch enough, obviously that's the biggest thing against them that they don't pitch enough. Secondly, the owners have so much money wrapped up in these kids, they don't want to throw them out there to get them hurt. Strasburg being the perfect example, and if I'm a season ticket holder, and you don't pitch Strasburg in the middle of a pennant race, I want my money back."
McLain has not pitched in the majors since 1972. He now owns a steel company while he lives in the Detroit area. Just because he's been out of baseball for a while doesn't mean he isn't coming up with his own ways to improve the game today.
"The mound needs to be raised, give the pitcher some leverage back," McLain said. "The strike zone has got to be expanded, to the real strike zone. Just give the pitcher the real strike zone, give him the inside pitch. You give him the inside pitch, you clean up part of the game."
McLain was headed home from Altoona, but he said his tour will continue as the summer goes on. Though he is not the 185 pound pitcher he was when he donned a Tigers uniform, McLain said he still gets people that see him and share a story or ask for an autograph.
"The nicest thing that happens to me every day is somebody asking for an autograph," McLain said. "It's the greatest compliment one can have coming out of this game."