Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

February 24, 1971 Montreal Gazette

By Ian MacDonald
Montreal Gazette
February 24, 1971

Mike Marshall and screwball make become synonymous before this National League season is very old.  The Expos hope so, at any rate.

This shouldn’t suggest that Marshall is some kind of a flake.  On the contrary, the 28-year-old Michigan native earned mention in Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” because of his intellectual leanings.

Marshall is near completion of his doctorate in education at Michigan State.  He earned his master’s in 1967 and it was because of these studies that he reported a few days late to the Expo camp.

The screwball reference concerns a pitch which the one-time shortstop has mastered.  Expo brass see Marshall’s screwball as an excellent potential stopper for hungry opposition this summer.

“He has a great screwball,” says former Dodger great Don Drysdale, who is a pitching coach at the spring camp.

Several fellows have made out with just the screwball.  Mike has other pitches as well.

“I feel that I’ve worked on the screwball enough that it is highly effective,” explains Marshall.  “I don’t depend on it, though.  I like to think I can get people out with the other pitches as well.  Along with those other pitches, the screwball is effective.

“I like to think I can pitch to batters’ weaknesses and get them out.  There may come a time when I have to count on the screwball.  Not just yet, though.”

Marshall has been hailed as the future relief star of the NL by Dick Williams, the Oakland Athletics manager who was a Gene Mauch aide last season.

“Isn’t that nice,” smiles Marshall.  “Too bad he isn’t here now--these are the people I have to impress.  I want to make the club.”

Marshall played for four different clubs last season.  Mike says of the many moves, “It was distressing.  Even though two of the moves were because I won promotions, that is no way to live.  I had to send my family back to our winter home halfway through the season.”

Mike started last season with Oklahoma City of the Pacific Coast League.  Pitching in 16 games, the onetime Detroit Tiger threw 45 innings and forged a remarkable earned run average of 1.60.  That earned elevation to the Houston Astros.

Purchased by the Expos, Marshall was shipped to Winnipeg.  In nine games with the Whips, Marshall worked 41 innings and had an ERA of 2.20.  Recalled, Marshall had a shaky start with the Expos, but then straightened out.  He allowed only five earned runs over 29 innings as he relieved in 14 of the Expos’ final 30 games.  Over that period, he won twice and saved three others.

“Any pitcher worth his salt wants to be a starter,” says Marshall of his relief status.  “I would like to think I can start.  But now I’m ready to go in any time and be a long or short reliever.

“I like the way Mauch handles the pitchers.  He gives you all a turn and doesn’t shut you out because you have one bad effort.

“At Detroit, Mayo Smith would always go with the hot hand.  If you’re going well, he’ll call you every day.  Then you go bad once and you’re on the bench for weeks.  You have to keep working to be effective.”

A non-smoker and non-drinker, Marshall sincerely hopes that he can settle in Montreal with his wife Nancy and three daughters this summer.  “The girls Deborah, 7, Rebecca, 6, and Kerry Jo, 3) are in school now and I just want to be close to them and maybe help a little.”

Happy Pitching Everybody

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