Juan Antonio (Sanchez) Marichal
"It doesn't matter what he (Juan Marichal) throws; when he's got it, he beats you." - The great Roberto Clemente.
Juan Marichal's career stats and highlights.
Juan Marichal was born in Laguna Verde, Dominican Republic and was aptly nicknamed "The Dominican Dandy". He quit school in the 11th grade to devote his time to baseball and became a star pitcher for local amateur teams. Marichal was signed professionally by the Escogido Leones, who had a working agreement with the San Francisco Giants.
Marichal was called up to the big leagues to make his debut for the Giants after compiling an 11-5 record for Tacoma. For several days, he pitched batting practice, then was asked by Manager Bill Rigney if he was ready to start a game.
"Sure, why not?" the 21-year-old responded.
Marichal's debut was sensational. He fanned the first two Philadelphia batters. None reached base until the seventh inning. With two out in the eighth inning, Clay Dalrymple singled to left field for the Phillies only hit in the Giants 2-0 victory. Twelve Phillies' batters went down on strikes.
Marichal became an instant winner, especially in 1963 when he won 25 games and lost only eight. He had more than 20 victories in five of the next six seasons.
Marichal displayed remarkable control despite an exaggerated windup in which he raised his left foot head-high and his right hand, clutching the baseball, nearly grazed the dirt on the pitching mound. A master of several pitches at different speeds, along with an unorthodox delivery, Marichal waged fierce battles with the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax throughout the 60's for the title of the best pitcher in baseball.
On June 15, 1963, Marichal pitched his best game in his career when he no-hit the Houston Colt .45s at Candlestick Park - throwing a mere 89 pitches -- and later that season out-dueled Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves 1-0 in 16 innings while allowing only eight hits.
Juan Marichal won 191 games during the 1960s, more than any other National League pitcher (Gibson was second with 164). Marichal posted 20 or more victories six times in seven seasons from 1963-69 and fashioned an ERA in the 2.00's every year. Marichal's six 20-win campaigns came in 1963 (25-8, 2.41 ERA); 1964 (21-8, 2.48 ERA); 1965 (22-13, 2.13 ERA); 1966 (25-6, 2.23 ERA); 1968 (26-9, 2.43 ERA); and 1969 (21-11, 2.10 ERA). He led the National League in wins in 1963 (tied with Koufax) and 1968 and won the ERA title in 1969. He also holds the Giants season record for wins (26) and strikeouts (248 in 1963).
Despite his annual success, the Cy Young Award somehow eluded Marichal throughout his career.
Marichal was selected to nine All-Star Games and pitched in eight of them (tied for the most in baseball history with Jim Bunning, Don Drysdale and Tom Seaver) and was the winning pitcher in 1962 and 1965. He was named the Mid-Summer Classic's Most Valuable Player in 1965 after starting and pitching three scoreless innings, surrendering just one hit, at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.
In that same season, 1965, a dark cloud hovered over Marichal, as he did an un-thinkable, immoral act during a game.
During a home game in San Francisco, in the middle of the pennant race, Juan became embroiled in an altercation with John Roseboro, catcher of the Dodgers. Juan swung a bat at the head of the Roseboro and inflicted a nasty wound on top of his head. National League President Warren Giles fined Marichal $1,750 and suspended him for eight days.
An act which hung over the rest of Marichal's career.
Marichal suffered a variety of injuries including in his only World Series appearance, against the Yankees in
1962 when Marichal fractured his index finger while trying to bunt and left the game after four scoreless innings. He suffered a greater setback when severe back pain nearly ended his career in 1970. But, Marichal bounced back in 1971 to go 18-11 with a 2.94 ERA for the N.L. West Division champion Giants.
The back problems continued in 1972, and he wound up finishing his career with the Boston Red Sox (1974) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1975).
Marichal's 16-year career numbers are 243-142 record with a 2.89 ERA and 2,303 strikeouts. Marichal's pitching repertoire consisted of a fastball, slider and screwball but was most widely-known for his ability to deliver them overhand, sidearm and underhand (submarine-style).
On the Giants' franchise career lists (including the New York years), Marichal ranks second in shutouts (52) and strikeouts (2,281); third in wins (238), innings pitched (3,443) and complete games (244); and sixth in games (458). Among San Francisco pitchers only, he is first in each of those categories except games (fourth).
Juan Marichal is the first Dominican inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 and his uniform No. 27 has been retired by the San Francisco Giants. Marichal was also recently added to the National Baseball Hall of Fame 15 member Veterans Committee, replacing Monte Irvin who retired from the committee.
In 1997, The Juan Marichal Little League team was created in Washington Heights, NYC with the assistance of Manolo Prince, Sports Director at the Dominican Consulate.
Marichal currently resides in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and serves as Minister of Sports for the Dominican Government.
The Legends: Roberto Clemente | Lefty Gomez | Martin Dihigo | Wilfred Benitez | Sammy Sosa
Chi-Chi Rodriguez | Orlando Cepeda | Tony Perez | Eusebio Pedroza | Anthony Muñoz | Adrian Fernandez
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