Thursday, December 28, 2017

The American League Mets

TRIVIA QUESTION:   Which one of the original New York Mets went on to manage the Washington Senators finishing a five season run without a winning record? 

In 1964 when the Cardinals won the pennant, Ken Boyer drive in 119 runs to lead the league in RBI. It was his second straight 100-plus RBI year, clocking 111 in 1963. A clutch hitter, in six other years he drove in at least 90 runs, twice putting up 98 RBI in a season. In a 15 year career he drove in 1141 runs or 76 per season.

When expansion came to the major leagues at the start of the 1960's most of the focus was on the National League where the New York Mets debuted and would go on to become the losing-est team in major league history. While the Mets were floundering in the NL, over in the AL the team representing the nation's capitol was holding court with equal risk. 

The Washington Senators proved to be as inept as their counterparts in government. While the Senators on Capitol Hill were struggling with a changing population and an explosion of an advancing America, the Senators on the ball field were just trying to find a way to win a game. 

In an unusual situation the two leagues expanded in consecutive years. The Senators opened their franchise playing in 1961. New York would have to wait until 1962 to see the Mets try to replace the NL Giants and Dodgers who had moved on four years earlier. 
While the Mets would lose 120 games under Casey Stengel in the first season, the Senators would lose 100 under Mickey Vernon. New York was saddled with players who would never reach the plateau they so wanted in the bigs. Names such as Elio Chacon, Charlie Neal, Rod Kanehl and Choo-Choo Coleman would send as much fear into the opposing pitching staff as would the Senators Gene Green, Coot Veal, Willie Tasby and Billy Klaus.

Each team had it's fading stars. Gil Hodges, Richie Ashburn, Frank Thomas, Roger Craig and Clem Labine were big time players in the 1950's. So were Dale Long, Danny O'Connell, Dick Donovan and Mike Garcia who twice won 20 games with Cleveland. 

The fact would remain of the young players on those two rosters only two players, one from each team, would have much of a future as it were after the 1962 season. The Mets Ed Kranepool, a top and highly touted signee would only play in 17 games in the clubs inaugural season and bat .167. He would be a member of the 1969 Amazing Mets World Series winning team. Big Ed would hit .261 in parts of 18 seasons and drive 118 of his hits into the bleachers. 

On the AL side, the Senators had a 21 year-old left-hander named Claude Osteen. Osteen only pitched 18 innings, starting three games and splitting two decisions. His ERA was 4.91 but he showed promise. Signed by the Reds in 1957 he was traded in September of 1961 to Washington for Dave Sisler. He would pitch well enough for the cellar dwelling Washington club but he was a key figure in a much bigger trade in 1964.  

The Senators sent him along with John Kennedy and $100,000 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later, Frank Howard, Ken McMullen, Phil Ortega and Pete Richert. The Dodgers sent Dick Nen (December 15, 1964) back to Washington to complete the trade. 

Osteen would go on to win in double figures nine times for the Dodgers, twice winning 20 (1969 ad 1972) and won a total of 196 games. He was a much better pitcher than his 195 losses would indicate. In the World Series he fashioned a five-hit shutout against the Twins in Game 3 of the 1965 classic.

When the dust had settled on those first seasons few players would stick around. Garcia who won 142 games in his career failed to win even one for Washington and retired after the season. Gene Woodling, Washington's best hitter at .313, was sold to the Mets halfway through the 1962 season. After the season Washington's home run leader with 18, Gene Green was traded to Cleveland in a four player deal for Jimmy Piersall. 

In New York, while Jay Hook lost 19 games, Al Jackson and Roger Craig both lost 20. Craig dropped 24, Jackson lost 20. Not to feel too bad about the opening season, Craig hung around and lost 22 the following year. Jackson would wait until 1965 to duplicate the same season with a record again of 8-20.

Mets Slugger Frank Thomas had his second highest homer total with 34, one shy of his final year in Pittsburgh in 1958. He hung around a couple more seasons while Ashburn's only season with the Mets was his last one and a good one at that. The former Phillie Wiz Kid batted .306, retired and later became a broadcaster. He even stole 12 bases at age 35. 

Through the clubs first four years the Mets would drop 452 games. The Senators during the first four years lost 407. Such ineptness may never be seen again. By the time the 1972 season rolled around the Senators would leave Washington for the friendly confines of Arlington, Texas, having never won more than 86 games. They closed out the decade in 1969 with the clubs only season where they won more than they lost, finishing with a .531 winning percentage.  
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Biggest Day for NY Mets

TRIVIA QUESTION:   In the 1964 World Series Ken Boyer hit a grand slam for the Cardinals. In what hitting category did Boyer lead the NL that season? 

While most people consider him synonymous with the Brooklyn Dodgers when it came to his baseball career, first baseman Chuck Connors only played in one game and batted one time for Brooklyn. He played nearly a full season in 1951 with the Chicago Cubs. He smashed two homers and batted .239. From 1946-48 he was a member of the Boston Celtics of the NBA where he averaged 4.5 points a game in just over 50 games. The 6'5" Connors was of course more famous as a movie and TV actor, starring for years as Lucas McCain as the legendary "Rifleman."

Most people don't think of Ken Boyer as a New York Met, preferring his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he was a Met and also played with more teams including the White Sox and the Dodgers. However, it was as a Met where he made history. Few people remember it but it was Boyer who drove in the winning run in a non essential game in 1966.

It was a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium and the 14-thousand-plus fans in attendance would probably not even remember this one. The game had one significant factor; a Mets win assured they would NOT end up in last place for the first time in franchise history. The club was destined to finish near the cellar. In fact, the Mets had never finished out of the cellar in their history. They wouldn't the following year either.

In the four previous seasons  the club had lost 120, 111, 109 and 112 games. In 1967 they again would lose 101. But in 1966 for the first time they would lose in double digits. The number nine grew large in New York and for the first time since the Dodgers and Giants fled the Big Apple, New Yorkers had a National League team which was not no. 10 in the standings. 

The game on September 6th, would assure it. Reds ace Jim Maloney was facing off against Mets youngster, Dennis Ribant. Maloney was looking for his 15th win, Ribant hoping for his 11th. It was the latter's night. 

Ribant made it through the first retiring the side in order. When the home town boys came to bat Maloney was wild. He walked lead off hitter Bud Harrelson who promptly stole second. Ron Hunt, as was customary with the second sacker, was hit by a pitch. He would go on to record 11 times being hit by the pitch that year, and would get hit 243 times in his bruised body career. 

So with runners at first and second Maloney, K'd Johnny Lewis but walked Al Luplow. Ken Boyer came to bat. The aging Boyer's best days were behind him but he was still hanging on at age 35. Maloney uncorked a wild pitch scoring Harrelson and everyone else moved up ninety feet. Boyer then drove a single to left scoring both Luplow and Hunt and the Mets led 3-0. 

The Reds would score two in the seventh; one on a Deron Johnson homer, but for the rest of the game it was all Ribant. The young righty went the distance giving up six hits while walking one and striking out three. Maloney took the loss. In six innings he walked seven, uncorked a wild one and hit a batter. All that came to unravel him in the three run inning.

The bottom line is that was win no. 60 for the Mets. The Cubs would only win 59. While Wes Westrum's team would go on to win 66 for New York, the key was finishing out of last place. And they did. 

The win was Ribant's last for the Mets. They shipped him off to Pittsburgh after the season for Don Cardwell in a four player deal.  Maloney would remain one of the aces of the Reds staff through the decade and Boyer would move onto the White Sox midway through the 1967 season before getting his release and ultimately finishing up with Los Angeles. 

Thank you to those of you who purchased my book after reading this column. It has been appreciated.

Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Hoops; There They Were

TRIVIA QUESTION:   What 1950's Dodger player also played pro basketball before going onto a more prominent career out of sports? 

In 1935, for the third time in his career, Babe Ruth changed teams. When the Yankees released the Bambino, he was signed the very same day by the Boston Braves of the National League. He went on to have his worst season ever and was released not long after. For only the third time in his illustrious career did he hit under .300, and the only time under .200 finishing .181. He had 13 hits in 72 at bats. And just like the Babe he was, six of those 13 hits sailed over a fence for a home run. The last three came on May 25, at Forbes Field against the Pirates. Even at age 40 the Babe could still muster a three homer game.  

A reader of this column wrote in and asked if we could do a column on two Chicago White Sox players who also played in the 1960's NBA. So here goes.

To say Dave DeBusschere was a better basketball player than a baseball player is saying a lot but in reality the New York Knicks forward might have had a really great career in both if he'd had stuck with it. DeBusschere's pitching career with the Sox only lasted two seasons but one of them would have gotten him a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract today.

In 1962 the 21-year old righty pitched well out of the bullpen for Chicago. Recording 18 innings in relief his ERA settled in at 2.00 over 12 games in which he finished nine of them. He only allowed five hits but that might be attributed to the fact hitters could not settle in against the 6'6" future NBA star. He walked 23 batters in 18 innings and proved wild enough to keep hitters off balance.

The following year the Sox decided he should be a starter and he proved himself there as well. Appearing in 24 games he started 10 of them and completed just one. He picked up a save in relieve and tossed a shutout on his way to a record of 3-4. The highlight had to be the shutout.

On the evening of August 13th with the Sox sailing 17 games over .500, DeBusschere got the call against the lowly Indians and Jim Mudcat Grant. Big Dave was never really in trouble on his way to a six-hitter except in the fourth. He gave up three singles in the inning but the lack of speed in the form of Johnny Romano, Tito Francona and Al Luplow probably kept the Tribe from scoring. The Indians only managed one walk while DeBusschere struck out three.

The Sox would go onto win 94 games and finish in second place in the American League but DeBusschere was done. Perhaps it was the long dual season. After being drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1962 as the fourth overall pick, he couldn't pass up playing in the NBA (80 games) and when that season ended joining the baseball White Sox. In 1963 he chose to only play 15 games for Detroit and a full seasons for the Sox. Either way after the 1963 season the right handed pitcher hung up his cleats and donned his sneakers for good.

While he actually had a Topps baseball card in 1965, he had been gone for a couple of seasons.  His NBA career put him in the Hall of Fame. He averaged 16 points a game and made the All-Star team eight times. Interestingly enough, he was under the basket and fell to the floor when Jerry West fired off his 55 foot shot as time ran out to tie a playoff game with Knicks.

The other White Sox NBA player was Cotton Nash. Nash had a less than exciting 1967 season with the Sox before moving onto the Twins for his final two years. The first baseman failed to get a hit in three at bats for Chicago before being traded to Pittsburgh for Ed Hobaugh. The trade was voided and the Twins got involved a couple months later.

Earlier in the decade Nash spent the 1964-65 season playing basketball, first with the Lakers and then the Warriors. He only averaged 3.0 points per game before moving onto a very short career in the ABA with the Kentucky Colonels where he averaged 8.5 in one season. He played in the ABA after his baseball career ended, trying a comeback at age 25.

His baseball claim to fame might be on September 10, 1967, in the ninth inning of Joel Horlen's no-hitter he came in defensively for Ken Boyer at first base and recorded all three outs. The White Sox may be the only team in history to have two NBA players grace the confines of White Sox Park.

Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The No Home Run Guy

TRIVIA QUESTION:   While Henry Aaron at one point was the greatest home run hitter in major league history, which other player who hit 700 home runs played for the same franchise? 

In1964 the San Francisco Giants had an abundance of outfielders and decided to trade Matty Alou to Pittsburgh. The one guy they decided to keep for another year was Orlando Cepeda. The following year when they sent Cepeda to St. Louis, he won the MVP award. They trade Alou and he wins the NL batting crown, they trade Cepeda and he wins the NL MVP.  

Few position players who reach the major leagues and stay for "a career" ever go through that entire career without hitting a home run. Woody Woodward was that guy; almost. When Woodward broke into the big leagues in 1963 with the "then" Milwaukee Braves no one figured him to break Babe Ruth's records or even challenge teammate Henry Aaron. He was known as a decent field-no hit infielder in a group of lesser fielding players who were on the team rotating around the second sack.

Mike de la Hoz, Frank Bolling, Denis Menke, Sandy Alomar and Roy McMillan. None of them would drive fear into opposing pitchers and none of them, save McMillan possibly, would hold out hope for a gold glove. Woodward himself would fit right in. Between them in 1964 they would smack 24 home runs. Twenty of them by Menke. The 1960's Braves could hit with the likes of Aaron, Joe Torre, Felipe Alou, Eddie Mathews and at times players such as Rico Carty, Mack Jones and Gene Oliver. Hitting was not their problem and even the pitching was at times outstanding.

On the mound they had stalwarts such as Tony Clonigar, Denny Lemaster, Wade Blasingame and an aging Warren Spahn. These Braves were good but what they lacked was that strong middle infield duo to back the pitching and get on base ahead of the hitters. They traded for players, they worked the farm system and really nothing much happened.

Woodward himself was a sort of strange case. He was adequate in the field. As a hitter he was serviceable. Dependable probably is more the word Braves fans might use to describe him. The interesting thing about Woodward though was his lack of power. He spent the 1960's without a home run.

In 1964 he batted 123 times without a dinger. Forgivable since he really was a rookie getting his feet wet. The following season he played in 112 games and came to the plate 280 times. Still no homers. In 1966 he became  a regular, playing in 144 games and reaching his lifetime best 516 plate appearances. Of his 26 extra base hits that season, none left the park. The following year, 1967 at age 24, it was pretty much the same scenario. Limited to 80 games in 1968 the Braves sent him to Cincinnati who needed an infielder and thought Woodward would be their guy. No home runs there either. When 1969 rolled around he would close out the decade playing in 644 games and still never leaving the park.

WoodyWoodward has spent nearly the entire decade of the 1969's, seven seasons and 1825 plate appearances without ever hitting a home run. Today, in the days of launch levels and "lift" he may not even make the major league club; any major league club.

Then on July 10, 1970 after nearly 2000 trips to the plate,  he would hit his first and only home run. Ironically it came as a two run shot off Ron Reed of the Atlanta Braves, the team which he played for until two years earlier. Woodward would say afterwards "If I hit one home run for every seven seasons, it will take me 4,998 seasons to catch babe Ruth."

 In a nine year career Woodward would play in 880 games and hit .236 with the lone home run. His slugging percentage would come down to .287.

While Woodward was never the Babe Ruth of anything he did end up being a pretty good general manager. Early in his GM career he didn't last long with the Yankees or the Phillies, but as head of the Seattle Mariners he took the team to the playoffs in 1995 and 1997. During that time he drafted Alex Rodriguez, Jason Varitek, Bret Boone and Derek Lowe. He also acquired Randy Johnson from Montreal. He also traded away David Ortiz who became of the greatest clutch home run hitters in baseball. Then again, Woody Woodward never did know much about home runs.

Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

When Christmas 1965 Came Early

RIVIA QUESTION:   When the Giants traded Matty Alou to Pittsburgh it was because they had an abundance of outfielders. Which of those outfielders was counted on in 1966, but did not make a difference and was traded the following year to another NL city where he became the NL MVP? 

In his nine year major league career, slugging first baseman, Jim Gentile would play in six home cities, although he only played for five clubs. He spent time with the Indians, The Orioles, the Kansas City A's, the Houston Astros and both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.

 In 1965 the Pittsburgh Pirates were at a crossroads. It was a club in transition. It had a solid core but an aging core. Several key players were on the cusp while several more were in their prime and a few longtime Buc stalwarts were over the hill or ready to move on and out. On December 1, 1965, the Pirates made one of the best trades in their history  They acquired outfielder Matty Alou from the Giants for reliever Joe Gibbon and catcher Ossie Virgil.

Alou was the middle brother of the major league playing Alou's. Felipe, the slugger was the oldest, Jesus the potential star was the youngest and in the middle was the fastest of the trio, Mateo. All three were good defensively and it goes without saying Felipe was the guy no one wanted to give up. The Giants had a crowded outfield and needed a left-handed arm in the bullpen. 

The Pirates needed to replace the aging Bill Virdon in center-field with a swift outfielder who could cover lots of ground in spacious Forbes Field. They needed someone too who could back up Willie Stargell and Bob Bailey in left. Roberto Clemente was a fixture in right so having a center-fielder who could really go get it was essential. The problem was, while earlier in his career Matty showed some signs of a consistently good average, he'd only hit .231 in 1964 and .264 the year before that. Virdon was hitting higher for an average but still was not the lead off man the Bucs always sought.

Pittsburgh needed a guy who could get on base ahead of Clemente, Stargell, Donn Clendenon and Bailey. Could the 5'9" 160 pound Alou be that guy? New manager Harry "the Hat" Walker thought so. Walker was a solid hitter in his day and even won a batting title, but more importantly he knew how to teach hitting. He figured by using the extra hard infield in front of home plate at Forbes Field, Alou should be able to bounce his way to at least .290. With some bunt singles and his speed from the left side of the plate, there could easily be another 15 or 20 hits in the season.

No one ever dreamed what Alou really did accomplish. In the first three games little Matty had five hits in 15 at bats. By the time the end of the season rolled around he would hit .342, 111 points above his previous season's average and would take the National League batting title. He was the driving force behind a pirates club which dominated the NL hitting stats. Walker was right. By bouncing the ball off the hard turf and spraying the ball around using an oversized bat, Alou became a master hitter.

Gene Alley and Clendenon both hit .299 (Clendenon also banged 28 homers), Clemente won the MVP with a .329 average and 29 homers, Stargell hit a a .315 clip and led the team in home runs with 33, Bill Mazeroski had one of his best hitting seasons at .262 but added 16 dingers and Bailey and Jose Pagan combined for 17 home runs and an even 100 RBI. The team batting average was an amazing .279 with 158 home runs in 1966. If the pitching had not faltered so badly, they would have had more than their 92 wins and a third place finish behind the Dodgers.

Alou would go on to hit ,338, .332, .331 and .297 in the following four years. He missed out on his second batting title when he ended in a virtual tie with Pete Rose at .332 and lost by a the fourth number to the right of the decimal point. One more bunt single and he'd have had a second NL batting crown. After batting .297 he was traded to St. Louis where he had three more seasons above .300 but his defensive skills were fading and eventually played with several teams including the Yankees, A's and Padres before finishing his 15 year career in 1974. Based on his work with Harry Walker and his years in Pittsburgh, Alou concluded with a .307 lifetime average and he got to the World Series twice. In the 1972 ALCS he batted .381 for Oakland.

Gibbon had a couple of good seasons with the Giants before coming back to Pittsburgh in 1969 and having perhaps his best year, recording a 1.93 ERA in 51 innings. Virgil hit .213 for the Giants in 1966 and was out of baseball. He did come back in 1969 for one game with San Francisco. Virdon, the NL Rookie of the Year in 1955, was released by the Pirates before the 1966 season despite hitting .279 and retired. He did come back for a few games with the Pirates in 1968 but went onto a good managing career with the Yankees, Pittsburgh and Houston before calling it a career. 

In the end when it came to career batting average, Matty bested his brothers, finishing at .307 to .305 for Jesus, although Felipe finished with 206 home runs and a near .290 average.

Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The O's Slugger Hits Two Grand Slams

TRIVIA QUESTION:   How many home cities did Jim Gentile play in during his nine year major league career ? 

It was Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese born player to pitch in the major leagues who save the game when Juan Marichal was ejected for hitting Johnny Roseboro with a bat. Murakami went on to a limited but brilliant career in MLB, and was known for his strikeout ratio.

 Jim Gentile spent nine seasons in the big leagues and had a lot of big games, but none bigger than against the Twins on May 9, 1961. It was one of those games the Baltimore Orioles slugger would remember for the rest of his life. It put him into the conversation for the best in the league and the MVP award.

He was batting clean-up that day, behind all-star Brooks Robinson. The Twins sent Pedro Ramos to the mound against Chuck Estrada. It was early in the season but neither team was playing impressive baseball. The Twins were at .500 and the O's were just two games over.  

The game had a great start for Baltimore. The 4514 fans at the game were frustrated right off the bat. Whitey Herzog opened with a walk and Jackie Brandt followed with a double. Robinson walked to load the bases, bringing up the slugging Gentile. Gentile, who would finish with 46 homers that year, sent a Ramos pitch to deep center and over the wall at Metropolitan Stadium to clear the bases. The Grand Slam gave the O's an instant 4-0 lead.

The Twins failed to score in the bottom of the inning but the top of the second it was more of the same for the O's including more Gentile. Marv Breeding opened with a flyout but then Ramos did the unthinkable. He gave up a single to the opposing pitcher, Estrada which was followed by a walk to Herzog. That was enough for Ramos who was replaced by Paul Geil.

Brandt then hit a ground ball back to Geil which could have been a double play, but the pitcher made an errant throw and Estrada scored to make it 5-0. Robinson walked again, again bringing up Gentile with the bases load. For the second straight inning Gentile blasted the ball into the seats. This time to right for his second straight grand slam and a 9-0 O's lead.

The rest of the game was pretty much uneventful. Gentile would draw a walk and go down on a strikeout in two subsequent at bats, but in the eighth he came up with a runner on third. A sac fly gave the slugging first sacker nine RBI on the day and the Orioles defeated Minnesota 13-5. It was a day the left handed hitting Gentile would never forget. Two grand slams in consecutive innings and a sacrifice fly to boot. 

He'd finish the season with 46 homers, a league leading 141 RBI, a .302 batting average and a .646 slugging percentage. He would finish third in the MVP voting behind Roger Maris who hit 61 home runs and Mickey Mantle who belted 54.  His outstanding defensive skills helped him be involved in 129 double plays which was good for second in the American League.

With 179 homers in his career, 1961 was far and away his best season. The Orioles that season would finish third despite winning 95 games. They closed the season 14 games behind New York as the Yankees went on to have the second greatest Yankee team of all time.  

But on this day, Jim Gentile ruled the baseball world. 
Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Now Batting; Juan Marichal

TRIVIA QUESTION:   Which pitcher got the Save in the game highlighted in the article below? 

Jim Maloney was 12-5 in 1969 for the Cincinnati Reds but never won another game in the big leagues. He was 0-1 in 1970 and ended up losing all three of his decisions with the Angels the following year. He twice won 20 games for Cincinnati peaking with 23 in 1963. He had a record of 134-84 in a 12 year career. He retired at age 31.

To say Juan Marichal was an enigma is an understatement. In the 10 years of the 1960's he started and completed 197 games for the San Francisco Giants. Six times he won 20 or more games including 26 in 1968 and 25 in 1963. Three times he pitched over 300 innings and twice more hit marks of 299 and 295. From 1963-1969 his ERA never exceeded 2.76 and twice it was in the 2.1 range (2.13 and 2.10). 

Five times the man with the most varied pitches in his arsenal, completed at least 20 games and pitched 30 complete games in 1968. Five times he issued less than 50 walks and six times he struck out over 200 batters. Amazingly his WHIP was under 1.0 four times during the stretch. He never lost more than 13 and in 1965 he tossed 10 shutouts. He would throw at any angle and at any speed.

Yet, despite all of this he is best remembered for the time he went off the warpath and smacked the Dodger's Johnny Roseboro over the head with a bat, while standing in the batters box. 

It was a Sunday afternoon on August 22, 1965 and my father and my God Father and I were on our way to the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles to see wrestling. My father was a major fan of "wrastlin'" and the Olympic Auditorium was the place to be for that sort of thing.  We were listening to the Dodger game on the radio and were appalled and shocked at what we heard as we pulled into the parking lot.

Up in the Bay Area, the Giants were hosting the Dodgers with Sandy Koufax facing Marichal. Two of the best pitchers of the era and of all-time as it would turn out, in a game both teams wanted to win as they battled it out in the closing days of the 1965 NL pennant race. 

The game started off tense. Maury Wills laid down a bunt single and the second time around, Marichal decked him. Koufax returned the favor by sending Willie Mays to the ground with a high fastball. When Marichal decked Ron Fairly, umpire Shag Crawford warned both teams. An ejection was coming the next time a pitch was too tight. 

What happened next is documented by both players. It was such an important game for both teams, both sides were making sure their pitcher would not be the one ejected for throwing at a hitter. They were not. It was Marichal and it came as a hitter.

In the third inning Koufax sent a pitch inside. Roseboro dropped the ball on purpose to get a good angle on Marichal who was at the plate. He positioned himself and whipped a throw back to Koufax which came dangerously close to Marichal's face. The Giant's ace said it actually did clip his nose.

Juan confronted Johnny and the two had heated words. Roseboro moved closer. The it got ugly. Marichal clubbed Roseboro over the head with his bat. Roseboro went down and both benches emptied. A bloodied Roseboro went after Marichal and kept the pounding up until Mays came out and restrained him, bringing some peace to the party. Marichal, bat in hand, was tackled by the umpire.

"I was afraid he was going to hit me with his mask, so I hit him with my bat," Marichal said in an apology a day later.

No one was in a forgiving mood.  Bat versus mask. Hmmm. Doesn't seem like a match. 

Roseboro got 14 stitches, Marichal was fined $1750 and was suspended for 10 games. Roseboro did sue and the case was eventually settled for $7500. 

As for the game itself, a visibly shaken Koufax gave up four runs to the Giants, including homers by Mays and Cap Peterson. The final was 4-3 but Marichal was not the recipient of the win. Ron Herbal was. The Dodgers would go on to win the pennant and the World Series over the Twins.

Believe it or not the two men later became friends. When Roseboro died in 2002 at age 69, Marichal was one of the pallbearers and a speaker at the funeral. Marichal actually spent his last season at age 37, with the Dodgers in 1975.
Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon.