Juan Marichal

Position: Pitcher
Teams: San Francisco Giants,1960-1973; Boston Red Sox, 1974; Los Angeles Dodgers,1975

Juan Marichal
Though he notched 25 or more victories
on three occasions, Juan Marichal
never won a Cy Young Award.

Juan Marichal won more games than any pitcher during the 1960s, with 191. In addition, he was the greatest control pitcher of his time -- he walked just 709 men in over 3,500 innings-with a delivery that defied logic. The timing oddities and whirl of motion that resulted from his high-kick windup baffled hitters for 16 seasons.

Juan Antonio Marichal y Sanchez (born in Laguna Verge, Dominican Republic, in 1937) as a youngster learned to pitch using a homemade baseball. He gleaned enough to be signed by the Giants in 1958. He led the Midwest League in 1958 with 21 wins and a 1.87 ERA, and he led the Eastern League in '59 with 18 wins and a 2.39 ERA. In half a season at Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, he was 11-5.

Called up to San Francisco in 1960, Marichal was immediately an effective pitcher. He was 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA that year, and had his worst ERA of the decade in 1961 when he was 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA. In 1963, Marichal led the league in wins, going 25-8. That year he lost to a Sandy Koufax no-hitter, but Marichal won his next start by no-hitting Houston. He also encountered Warren Spahn, each going all the way in a 16-inning Giants win. It was the first of six 20-win seasons in seven years for "Manito," who each season posted an ERA under 3.00.

On August 22, 1965, with the Dodgers and the Giants in a tight pennant race, Marichal was pitching against Koufax. That historic feud had erupted in a brawl two days earlier. Juan had thrown a couple of purpose pitches, and when Dodger catcher John Roseboro asked Koufax to dust Marichal, Sandy refused. Marichal, apparently convinced that Roseboro's return throw to Koufax came too close to hitting him in the ear, took the bat and cracked the Dodger receiver in the head a couple of times. The benches emptied, erupting into one of the most vicious brawls in baseball history.

Willie Mays played peacemaker, leading Roseboro from the fray, his uniform stained with Roseboro's blood. Marichal was suspended and fined, and since the Giants finished just two games back, his absence was costly.

The incident may have prevented Marichal from doing better in awards voting ("The Dominican Dandy" never won a Cy Young Award), as well as his Hall of Fame induction, for which Roseboro campaigned. Juan was inducted in 1983. He was one of the best right-handers of the 1960s, finishing in the top three in wins five times and ERA three times. He was particularly tough on the Dodgers, beating them in 37 of 55 lifetime decisions. He spent his last season, however, with the '75 Dodgers.

Here are Juan Marichal's major league totals:


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