Tall, lanky, and durable, McDaniel pitched mostly in relief for 21 ML seasons and retired with 987 appearances, second only to Hoyt Wilhelm in ML history. A righthander with splendid control, McDaniel was rarely overpowering and recorded 20 or more saves in a season only three times, but his quiet consistency was welcome in any bullpen. Off the field McDaniel was deeply religious (he was an ordained minister in the Church of Christ) and in great demand as an off-season speaker, but he avoided preaching to his teammates directly, instead confining his thoughts to a monthly newsletter, “Pitching for The Master.”
McDaniel bypassed the minor leagues completely after signing with the Cardinals in 1955, and in 1957 he was 15-9, 3.49 as a 21-year-old starter. His ERA swelled to a career-worst 5.80 in 1958, however, and he was demoted briefly to the American Association, and in 1959 he became a reliever almost exclusively and led the NL with 15 saves while also winning 13 games in relief. McDaniel led the NL in saves again the following year with 26, and after an October, 1962 trade sent him to the Cubs he led the NL in saves for the third time in five seasons, posting 22 in 1963. He pitched for the Cubs and Giants from 1963 to 1967, but was no longer used to finish games as frequently, and in mid-season 1968 he was traded to the Yankees for Bill Monboquette. McDaniel enjoyed a resurgence with the Yankees in 1970, finishing second in the AL with 29 saves while posting a career-best 2.01 ERA, but by 1974 he had been traded a final time, to the Royals for Lou Piniella and pitcher Ken Wright. When he retired, McDaniel’s 172 career saves placed him fourth all-time, but he has since fallen out of the top ten.