November 3, 1975
Will McEnaney will tell you he is a typical southpaw. Cut from his high school team because he was, in his words, "an outgoing, mischievous prankster," he ended up pitching his way onto the Cincinnati Reds and making his name as both an ace reliever and a likable oddball. During a game in San Diego, for instance, Wacky Will crawled through a 20-foot-long tarpaulin roller that ran from the visitors' bullpen toward the first base dugout, just to steal a bag of baseballs from a park policeman.
As part of the Big Red Machine, McEnaney saved Game 7 of the 1975 World Series by getting Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox to fly to center for the final out. The next year he tied a World Series record (since broken) with two saves—closing out Games 3 and 4 in a sweep of the New York Yankees.
McEnaney was traded to the last-place Montreal Expos after the 1976 season. Devastated by the deal—as well as the death of his mother and a painful divorce—McEnaney was soon drinking frequently and experimenting with drugs. "I chose to do it," he says. "I was not a heavy user, but every time you do drugs you abuse yourself." In December 1978, while driving drunk, he crashed his car into a house and almost died. Wanting to get his life back on track, he moved in with his sister, Kathy, in Fort Lauderdale. That's where he met his future second wife, Cindy Massey. She introduced McEnaney to a psychologist, and he says that with Cindy's support he has been clean and sober ever since. "She constantly told me," he says," 'You're better than this. You're smarter than this.' "
After stints in the minors and in Mexico, McEnaney retired in 1982. Since then he's been a painting contractor and an investment banker and now manages a company that refinishes bathroom tiles. The McEnaneys live in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., with their two sons, Weston, 18, and Alex, 14. (Will also has a daughter, Faith, 24, from his first marriage.)
McEnaney, 48, is still involved in baseball as manager of Alex's Pony League team. Two years ago he took the players to Cooperstown. "I'm most proud that I made it to the big leagues, that I played with and against some of those guys in there," he says. "I've had some good times and some bad times, and I accept that."