Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22, 1965: Marichal Attacks Johnny Roseboro With His Bat

     On August 22, 1965, one of the most famous brawls in the history of Major League Baseball took place during the third inning of a game that featured the Dodgers and Giants at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The game that featured one of the greatest rivalries in baseball was sure to be a hotly contested tilt, with Sandy Koufax going against Juan Marichal. However, not one of the 42,807 in the stands, nor any of the men in the dugouts had any idea how hot things would get, as the game would be remembered for a vicious attack in which Marichal used his bat to beat the Dodgers catcher.

     Early on Marichal had made both Ron Fairly and Maury Wills hit the deck with brushback pitches, and when the hurler that had become known as the "Dominican Dandy" came to the plate in the third he was expecting to be brushed back. To his surprise Koufax threw a strike, then threw a ball down and in. The catcher Johnny Roseboro threw the ball right by Marichal's ear when he returned it to Koufax. Some say it brushed Marichal's ear, others say it was so close he felt the breeze of the ball fly past. Either way it goes, it caused a bomb to go off. Marichal turned said a few words to the backstop, and within seconds fists began to fly. Within seconds it was more than fists, as Marichal shocked everybody by using his bat as a weapon, and hit the catcher twice over the head with it. Before it could be broken up there was blood streaming down the head of Roseboro, and Marichal was ejected from the ball game. 

     Ultimately, the melee cost Marichal $1,750 and he was suspended for eight games as well. He was lucky that the punishment was not more severe. That $1,750 would be more than $13,000 today. I would imagine that a fine would be far heavier and a someone who chose to use a bat as a weapon might not find themselves on a major league diamond ever again after doing such a thing. Luckily for Marichal that was not the case. There was bad blood for many years between the two, but as they say time heals all wounds, and those wounds did heal. Some thought the incident was a primary reason why Marichal was snubbed by the Baseball Writers Association of America, and after it became known that they had became friends, those writers chose to forgive Marichal as well. It was a dark moment in the career of  Marichal. There were far brighter days which paved a road to Cooperstown. Although, that dark day is one day that will never be forgotten. 


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