Samuel Edward Thomas McDowell (born September 21, 1942 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), nicknamed "Sudden Sam", is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, primarily for the Cleveland Indians.
He grew to be a tall (6 feet, 5 inches) and powerful left-hander who got a lot of strikeouts but was also occasionally wild.
He appeared in his first big league game with the Indians a week before his 19th birthday in 1961 and saw some action with them in the next two years, but in 1964 he became a starter. He was a workhorse for the next 8 seasons, with over 200 innings pitched in seven of those years and usually over 200 strikeouts (he exceeded 300 strikeouts twice).
He led the league in ERA and strikeouts in 1965, was "Pitcher of the Year" and led in strikeouts and shutouts in 1966, and led the league in strikeouts again in 1968 and 1969. In 1970 he was again "Pitcher of the Year" , led in strikeouts and won 20 games. He made the All Star Team six times (1965–66, 1968–71).
He was traded to the San Francisco Giants for star pitcher Gaylord Perry and light-hitting shortstop Frank Duffy and had a moderately good 1972, followed by relatively modest contributions with the 1973 Giants, the 1973–1974 New York Yankees, and the 1975 Pittsburgh Pirates. McDowell was known to be a heavy drinker and it was said that this and his sometimes erratic behavior influenced his decline. He later said that he was "the biggest, most hopeless, and most violent drunk in baseball", and Indian teammate Dick Radatz said "We thought he was stupid. It turned out he was never sober."
Since retiring from baseball he quit drinking and became a drug and alcohol counselor.