Friday, June 03, 2011

#405 John Roseboro

#405 John Roseboro
Let's end Rick Rodriguez Week with Johnny Roseboro. Thanks again, Rick!

Fun facts about John Roseboro:

-John was born in Ashland, OH and signed with the Dodgers out of high school in 1952.

-The Dodgers called him up in June 1957, and he backed up Roy Campanella for the rest of the year. He hit just .145 (10-for-69) as a rookie, but had a walkoff three-run homer off of the Cubs' Turk Lown for his first career longball. The clout came in the tenth inning on July 19, 1957; John had pinch-run for Campanella in the seventh inning and stayed on to catch.

-After an offseason car accident paralyzed Campanella, bringing his career to a tragic and premature end, Roseboro was chosen as the Dodgers' new starting catcher. Living up to the tall order, he made the first of four All-Star teams in 1958. He hit .271 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI, and even led the club with 9 triples!

-He set career highs with 18 homers and 59 RBI in 1961. His home run total led Los Angeles, and only Wally Moon drove in more runs for the team. The catcher also won the first of two Gold Gloves.

-Twice he led the league in caught stealing percentage. In 1959, he threw out 59.5% (17 SB/25 CS). In 1964, he gunned down 60.4% of runners (19 SB/29 CS).

-John caught two of Sandy Koufax's four no-hitters: his 13-strikeout gem against the Mets on June 30, 1962 and a May 11, 1963 rout of the Giants in which Koufax faced one batter over the minimum.

-He struggled in World Series play, batting .157 (11-for-70) in four Fall Classics. However, his three-run homer off of Whitey Ford in Game 1 of the 1963 Series keyed a Dodger victory. It was the only round-tripper that Ford allowed to a lefty batter that season.

-Roseboro is best known for being the victim of Juan Marichal's bat attack on August 22, 1965. I covered the incident in some depth when I featured Marichal about six weeks ago; you can read more here.

-John finished his career in the American League, spending a few seasons with the Twins before retiring as a Washington Senator in 1970. In parts of 14 seasons, he hit .249 with 104 home runs and 548 RBI.

-He coached for the Senators (1971) and Angels (1972-1974), and later served as an instructor in the Dodgers organization. He and his wife Barbara owned a public relations firm in Beverly Hills, and their son Jaime was a minor league outfielder for the Mets and Expos (1986-1992). Late in his life, he suffered from heart trouble, strokes, and prostate cancer, and died at age 69 in August 2002.
#405 John Roseboro (back)


  1. I was glad when the Dodgers came back around to having the 'Los Angeles' script on their road shirts like they did when Roseboro was playing. Every team should have city name on road unis. I'm REAL happy that the O's do this again finally.

  2. I saw a program recently on the MLB Network where Bob Costas was interviewing Juan Marichal. He said that later in life Roseboro and Marichal had reconciled, and participated in each other's charity golf outings, etc, etc.

  3. I agree about having the city names on road uniforms. I also think it should be illegal to name teams after states--except for perhaps the Twins who have the problem of representing two cities.

    I always wonder how much better someone like Roseboro's stats would be offensively if he had played in a different era in a more hitter-friendly ball park. I think a lot of guys like Roseboro are overlooked for being good players because they played when offense was down and, especially with the Dodgers, in a ball park where it was hard to hit home runs.

  4. Bob - You and me both. I have a whole pile of orange giveaway shirts from home games the last few years that have the "Baltimore" script, as well as both gray and black road jerseys.

    Jim - I suppose time does heal all wounds.

    Marc - You'll probably be glad to learn that the Florida Marlins are supposed to be rechristened as the Miami Marlins when they move to their new ballpark.