That night Denny and his roommate, Shortstop Ray Oyler, tucked it in right after the game. If there is one thing Denny takes seriously, it is a good night's sleep before he pitches. The next day the long-distance calls from the booking agents began coming in at 10:30 in the morning. The Smothers Brothers called. So did Glen Campbell, the TV personality, to tell Denny he would be at the game that night. Somebody from the Steve Allen Show phoned about an appearance the next day. Between phone calls, Denny and Oyler played a little gin, watched an old Errol Flynn movie on TV and another TV show with Abbott and Costello.
When batting practice was over on Tuesday evening, Denny went back in the clubhouse to wait until it was time to warm up. Who should come in but Ed Sullivan, resplendent in a jacket of dried-blood maroon and fuchsia slacks. The clubhouse of a visiting baseball team is one of the fascinating scenes in all of sport. The players, having nothing better to do, sit silently on the stools in front of their lockers staring vacantly out toward the center of the room, immobile as the statues in a Florentine garden. With Ed Sullivan and retinue surrounding Denny, there was something to look at for a change. Denny finally took Sullivan over to a row of stools and introduced him to a few of the Tigers like, fortuitously, Willie Horton. "It's a great honor," Denny explained, "having those people come into the clubhouse. The players really get a kick out of it."
It was time for Denny to pick up his jacket and head for the field. "Have you any goals?" a reporter asked him as Denny was leaving.
"Yeah," he said. "To be a musician."
This game, No. 29 on Denny's list of victories, looked like a laugher all the way. In the third inning he hit a triple over the centerfielder's head and came puffing into third in a slide. "I didn't need to slide," he said, "but I was out of gas and wanted to sit down." It was Denny's first triple of the year and not something he particularly likes to do. He would much prefer to stop at each base along the way and chat with the players and umpires. By the end of the fourth inning, Denny's teammates had given him a 6-0 lead. It was fortunate, for in the sixth Denny threw home-run balls—his 27th and 28th of the year—to Rick Reichardt and Tom Satriano, costing a local radio station $3,900 in prize money to its listeners, who profit from something called a "Home-run-for-the-money inning." The Angels had little to complain about, however, for Denny had attracted 22,618 into the ball park, which was 13,000 over the recent average. For a community like Orange County, which makes an art of sitting on its wallets, this was a historic splurge.
Settling down after his shaky sixth inning, Denny gave Orange County the victory it came to see. In gratitude, the residents stood and cheered each one of Denny's final pitches as he struck out Pinch Hitter Roger Repoz. Afterward Denny went out for a few drinks with Glen Campbell and the others who came down from Hollywood.
The next morning Denny was up early and down the street to Disneyland to arrange for some bookings after the World Series. "I have agents for everything," he explained, "but when it comes down to it, nobody can make the decisions but the personality himself." Then he was off along the freeway into Hollywood for some publicity stills at Capitol Records. Somebody brought in a copy of Denny's new album and put it on the record player, and Denny listened intently. After the first tune he said, "The more I hear it, the more I dislike it," but he didn't really mean it. "I have the album at home," he went on, "but I think I've only played it a dozen times. It's like pitching. Right after you've done it, you lose interest."
It was time to move down Vine Street for the Steve Allen Show, which was being taped for a later date. Allen chatted with Denny onstage and then sat him down at a Hammond organ. Without so much as a rehearsal, Denny dashed off one of the rhythm numbers that are the strong part of his repertoire. After that, Denny and Allen put on some stray baseball blouses and went out to the sidewalk in front of the theater to play catch with Pat Harrington Jr., one of the fixtures on the show.
It was past one o'clock Friday morning when the Tigers' 727 took off for the night flight to Detroit. And who was sitting up in the check-pilot's seat-for takeoff? Denny McLain, of course. And for the landing, too, at 7:30 that morning. In between, he caught a couple of hours' sleep stretched out on a seat with a blanket over him.
It was all the sleep Denny would get over a stretch of some 40 hours. The bookers and agents and musicians and TV crews were waiting for him at home, where another normal day in the life of Dennis McLain was about to begin. He trusts that if he survives the rest of the season and the World Series and The Ed Sullivan Show and the Smothers Brothers Special and the disapproval of Mayo Smith, who looks like an English vicar when his face hardens at the thought of Denny's extracurricular distractions; if he survives all that and the Las Vegas and Saginaw and other combo bookings he is making for the winter, "We might gross a quarter of a million.