Thursday, November 10, 2022

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Juan Marichal


I love seeing the real Sportflics effect here with Marichal's famous high leg kick. It looks better in person.

The player: Juan Marichal came up with the Giants in 1960 and pitched a one-hitter in his debut, heralding the rise of a new star pitcher in the National League. Marichal won 191 games in the 1960s, the most in the major leagues, winning 20 games six times in seven years from 1963 to 1969. He never won the Cy Young Award, as first Sandy Koufax and then Bob Gibson dominated the league at the same time Marichal was consistently winning games. Chronic back pain and other injuries limited his effectiveness as an elite pitcher after the age of 33, so he did not put up huge career numbers as well. Still, his career numbers of 243-142, 2.89 ERA and 2,303 strikeouts rank him as one of the best pitchers of his era.

The person: Marichal generally lived a life without incident, with the major exception of August 22, 1965. In an already-tense game with brushback pitchers, Marichal was batting against Sandy Koufax when catcher John Roseboro's return throw grazed Marichal's head. Marichal hit Roseboro twice with his bat, opening a bloody gash that needed 14 stitches to close. Marichal was suspended for eight games, hit with a record fine, and instantly became one of the most hated men in sports. Despite his pitching accomplishments, baseball writers did not elect Marichal in his first two years of Hall of Fame eligibility. It was only after Roseboro publicly forgave him that he was elected to the Hall. Roseboro and Marichal reportedly became good friends after that. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Roseboro was an announcer and the director of the A's Dominican Republic operations. From 1996 to 2000 he was that country's Minister of Sports and Physical Education. He still lives in the Dominican Republic, on a large farm where he remains active.

My collection: I have his base Topps cards from 1962, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1973 and 1974.


  1. The high leg kick and his 1974 Topps card are the first things that pops into my head when I hear Marichal's name. Both are a thing of beauty.

  2. One has to think that he would've eventually gotten into the Hall even with out Roseboro's intervention, but it would've interesting to know how much longer it would've taken.