Thursday, April 21, 2011

#50 Juan Marichal

#50 Juan Marichal
Well lookie here! It's our first solo Hall of Famer since Yaz cropped up a few weeks ago. Juan Marichal is showing off his best yearbook smile.

Fun facts about Juan Marichal:

-Juan was born in Laguna Verde, Monte Cristi in the Dominican Republic. The Giants signed him at age 19 in 1957.

-He made his big league debut in the summer of 1960, earning three consecutive complete game victories to begin his career. This included a 1-hit, 12-strikeout domination of the Phillies in his first game on July 19.

-He made the All-Star Game for the first of eight consecutive seasons (and nine total) in 1962, when he went 18-11 with a 3.36 ERA and 18 complete games. Juan baffled hitters with his delivery, which began with a trademark sky-high leg kick. He started Game Four of the World Series and shut out the Yankees for four innings before being relieved by Bobby Bolin with a 2-0 lead; the Giants won the game 7-3.

-Marichal truly became an elite pitcher in 1963, when he went 25-8 with a 2.41 ERA, 18 complete games, and a career-high 248 strikeouts. He also no-hit Houston on June 15. Despite his league-leading wins total, he lost out to Sandy Koufax in the Cy Young voting, and never would win the award despite two more 25-win seasons. In 1966, Koufax bested him again; in 1968, it was Bob Gibson who had the superlative numbers.

-He gained infamy in a game against the Dodgers on August 22, 1965. After brushing back opposing leadoff hitter Maury Wills twice, the pitcher batted against Sandy Koufax in the bottom of the third inning. L.A. catcher Johnny Roseboro began buzzing his return throws to the mound dangerously close to Marichal's head. The two began arguing, and when Roseboro stood up and removed his mask and helmet to escalate the confrontation, Marichal began clubbing the unprotected catcher in the head with his bat. This touched off a 15-minute bench-clearing brawl. The pitcher was ejected, fined a then-record $1,750, and suspended for nine days. Roseboro, who was escorted to the clubhouse by Willie Mays, required 14 stitches to close a head wound but was able to return to the field a few days later. The victim filed a lawsuit against his attacker, and they eventually settled out of court for $7,000. Years later, the pair reconciled and became good friends.

-He had several standout seasons, but the best may have been 1966: 25-6 (his fourth straight 20-win season), 2.23 ERA, 25 complete games, and league-best numbers in WHIP (0.86), hits per nine innings (6.7), walks per nine (1.1), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.17!).

-On September 21, 1966, he hit a walkoff home run off of Pittsburgh's Roy Face, breaking a 5-5 tie with one out in the bottom of the ninth. It was one of four career homers for Juan.

-In 1968, he went 26-9, setting a career high and leading the N.L. in wins. He also paced the senior circuit with 30 complete games, 325.2 innings pitched, and a 4.74-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 2.41 ERA was nothing to sneeze at either.

-Retired after stints with the Red Sox in 1974 and Dodgers in 1975. In parts of 16 seasons he was 243-142 with a 2.89 ERA, 244 complete games, 52 shutouts, 2,303 strikeouts, and a 1.10 WHIP (18th-lowest all-time). He was the winningest Latin American pitcher in major league history until Dennis Martinez surpassed him in 1998.

-Juan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. That same year, he began scouting for the Athletics. In 1996, Dominican President Leonel Fernandez named him to the cabinet as Minister of Sports.
#50 Juan Marichal (back)


  1. Marichal was a helluva pitcher, one of the best I've ever seen. I remember the Roseboro incident well and how it really clouded his image (as you'd expect).

    I saw him go 11 innings in the Astrodome just a few days before we moved back east in '68.

    I really love this card.

  2. How would you have liked to have been a NL hitter in the sixties facing guys like Marichal, Koufax, and Gibson with the large strike zone and high mounds of the time? No fun at all.

    Marichal also pitched in possibly the greatest pitcher's duel of all-time, the classic 1963 game in which he and Warren Spahn (who was in his forties at the time) both pitched all 16 innings; Willie Mays won the game with a home run in the 16th. There is a book out about that game. Today, each team would have used 5 or 6 pitchers.

  3. I believe Roseboro was not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. The aftermath led to catchers adopting the use of wearing helmets in the future. Marc, I'd love to know the title of that book.

  4. Bob - Would that be this game? That was one of three extra-inning CGs he had that year.

    Marc - Five or six? In a 16-inning game today, I wouldn't be surprised to see 8 or 9 pitchers a side.