Marshall wanted to play regularly when he signed with the Phillies, and spent four
years in their system as a shortstop. But three seasons of league-leading marks in
errors and a chronic back problem forced him to the mound. He wound up getting into
more games as a relief pitcher than he probably would have as a shortstop. He set
single-season records for relief appearances in both the National and American Leagues.
"At times with the Dodgers I would have to crawl into the trainer's room," he said.
"He would twist and turn me to get my back in shape to pitch that day."
earned three degrees at Michigan State, including a Ph.D. in kinesiology. He made
his own decisions as to his training and pitching methods and was much disliked by
his teammates, who saw him as an egomaniacal individualist wholooked down upon them
and would not take advice, but always had plenty to give. He clashed with many of
his managers, who saw him as a smart-aleck college boy. Those disagreements slowed
his progress, and resulted in many of his nine organization changes. Among other
things, he believed in long-distance running for pitchers instead of wind sprints,
and that by properly training specific muscles, a pitcher can throw every day. His
screwball was his most effective pitch; he publicly complained about some of his
managers and pitching coaches who didn't want him to use it. In 1969 Pilots manager
Joe Schultz objected to Marshall's unorthodox pickoff move (he turned clockwise,
rather than counter-clockwise), but it worked for Marshall. He was sold to Houston
after the season.
Marshall finally found a home in Montreal, managed by an accepting
Gene Mauch. He saved 23 games in 1971, and in 1972 led the NL with 65 appearances
and 14 relief wins. In working a ML-record 92 games in 1973, he led in saves (31)
and in relief wins and losses (14-11), and was named NL Fireman of the Year.
that Marshall had thrown too much, and in need of a centerfielder, the Expos traded
him to the Dodgers for Willie Davis. Marshall helped L.A. to the 1974 pennant. He
broke his own mark with 106 appearances, and established ML records for most relief
innings pitched (208) and most consecutive games pitched in a season (13). In postseason
play, he allowed one run in 12 innings, and became the first pitcher to finish every
game of a World Series. He again was named NL Fireman of the Year, and became the
first reliever to win a Cy
Marshall's theories fell through in 1975,
when he was beset by injuries. He lost 14 in relief to set a since-broken NL mark,
and in 1976 was traded to Atlanta. There he was once suspended for refusing to suit
up for a game after voicing objections to his handling by manager Dave Bristol. He
continued to have injury and personal problems until the Twins, managed by Gene Mauch,
took a chance on the free agent in May 1978. Marshall shared the 1979 AL Fireman
of the Year Award with Jim Kern, worked a AL-record 90 games, saved a league-high
32 games, and lost 14 games in relief to tie an AL record. But Mauch felt Marshall's
vociferous involvement with the Players Association in 1980, when a strike was threatened,
was affecting his pitching. Let go on June 6, Marshall filed a grievance, contending
he was released because of his union activities. He made a final stop with the 1981
Mets, and retired among the all-time leaders in saves (188) and relief wins (92).
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»July 2, 1972:
At Montreal, rookie P Bob Rauch walks four batters in the 9th to enable the Expos to defeat the Mets, 4–3. For Rauch, it's his only ML decision. Mike Marshall wins for the Expos.
»April 8, 1974: In the 4th inning, of the Braves home opener 7–4 win against the Dodgers, Henry Aaron parks an Al Downing pitch in the left-CF stands for career home run 715, breaking Ruth's once thought to be unapproachable record. With former teammate Eddie Mathews watching as Braves manager, that makes 1,227 home runs for just two players. After Downing walks the next two batters, Mike Marshall makes his first appearance as a Dodger, and the first of a record 106 appearances this year. As noted by Dave Smith, the Dodgers are wearing black arm bands this game (and for the next few) in memory of Ken McMullen's wife, who died just before the season started.
»June 23, 1974: Los Angeles Dodger closer Mike Marshall completes a sweep of the Giants, winning today, 4–3. Marshall was the winner in yesterday's 3–2 win, and also on the 21st in another 4–3 victory. Not till California's Chuck McElroy, in 1996, will another pitcher sweep a series.
»July 3, 1974: Pitching in his ML-record 13th consecutive game for the Dodgers, Mike Marshall saves Tommy John's 4–1 win over the Reds in the first game of a doubleheader.
»July 4, 1974: Mike Marshall makes his 14th straight appearance and picks up a 3–2 win over Reds. Over the past 30 days, Marshall is 9-0 with three saves and a 1.82 ERA in 20 appearances.
»September 7, 1974:
Playing on a badly sprained ankle, Joe Morgan belts a 2-run homer off Mike Marshall to give the Reds a 7–5 win over the Dodgers. Before his homer, Morgan had missed a pitch and fallen down, prompting Sparky Anderson to try and remove him. The Reds win today after trailing 5–0.
»October 17, 1974: Vida Blue and Don Sutton are tied 2–2 going into the bottom of the 6th when Mike Marshall relieves and retires the side. In the 7th, a shower of debris halts the game for 15 minutes. When play is resumed, Joe Rudi hits Marshall's first pitch for a homer to give the A's a 3rd 3–2 win, clinching a 3rd straight World Championship for the team.
»November 6, 1974: The Dodgers Mike Marshall becomes the first relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Ironman Marshall set ML records with 106 appearances and 208 innings in relief.
»April 9, 1975: Against Mike Marshall, the Reds score two runs in the 9th inning to beat the Dodgers, 4–3 at Cincinnati.
»August 24, 1975:
After stealing 2B in the 7th to add to his ML-record of 38 consecutive steals, Davey Lopes is nabbed in the 12th by Montreal C Gary Carter. The Expos then score three in the 14th off Mike Marshall to beat the Dodgers, 5–2.
»February 1, 1976: East Lansing police arrest Dodger reliever Mike Marshall for disobeying the orders set by the Michigan State University police prohibiting him from taking batting practice. MSU feared he would hit balls too far and injure students on an adjacent tennis court. Marshall protests that it is against his rights as an MSU instructor and files a lawsuit against the school.
»June 12, 1996: The California Angels defeat the KC Royals, 4-3, in 10 innings to sweep the 3-game series between the two clubs. Chuck McElroy gets credit for all three wins in relief. He thus becomes the 1st pitcher to accomplish the feat since Mike Marshall of the Dodgers did it against the Giants in 1974. McElroy throws a total of 61 pitches in four 1/3 innings to run his record to 5-0.