Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

1972 Sporting News 3

Expos Benefit From Marshall's Work on Screwball
by Ian MacDonald
The Sporting News
December 9, 1972

There are any number of acknowledged superior batters throughout the National League who will tell you that Mike Marshall has one of the finest screwballs in the game today.

The Expos' excellent fireman, one of the premier relief pitchers in the majors, now spends much less time working on the pitch than he once considered necessary.

There were several years when Mike toiled for countless hours between studies and teaching assignments at Michigan State University, working on the screwball.  These were winter months, of course, and Marshall would work out by himself in the school's arena.

"Yeah," said Mike, who made a brief visit to Montreal to be honored once again as the Expos' Player of the Year.  "I used to work out every other day.  I worked on the concept of the screwball.  I was trying to get the proper rotation on the ball.

"There was no need for a specific target at that time.  It was simply a question of developing the right release.  I would just take aim at a certain block of concrete on the wall.  I would have about three dozen balls.

"Later, when it was necessary to sharpen control, I worked with a catcher.  "That's not necessary now."

This shouldn't indicate that Marshall does not work out or do some throwing.  Quite the contrary.

"Part of my basic nature is to stay in shape," the 29-year-old father of three lovely daughters said.  "I work out year-round, but it isn't strictly for baseball.  I have a basic schedule which I'll do when I'm 50.

"Some people like to swim and others like to jog.  Some fellows play basketball or handball, or tennis or golf.  "I like to throw baseballs.  Once a week. I work out with a friend of mine.  I have several friends who have played some ball and are interested.  I'd rather work out with them then bother the college players."

Mike walks the mile and a quarter between his office at Michigan State and his home each morning and afternoon.  "I seldom use my car," he said.

During his 24-hour stay in Montreal, Mike was asked several times about his car.  As the Expos' MVP choice of the five reporters who travel with the club, he won a $10,000 Cadillac El Dorado, presented by O'Keefe Brewery of Canada.  "You'll have to ask my wife about the car," Mike said with a laugh.  "Honestly, I just don't use it myself."

While here this time, Marshall received a beautiful painting of himself, done by former New York Giant football star Tex Coulter, along with various trophies, as the honored guest at the annual banquet of an organization called "Club des Amis de Baseball."  This is a non-profit organization which raises funds to equip amateur baseball teams in the Montreal area.

"I'm very busy at school this winter," Marshall said.  "I keep thinking it will get lighter, but right now I'm taking my comprehensive exams and it's really tough.

"My teaching load has been lightened, but there is still a great deal of work.  If I were to go right through this winter and spring, I could graduate in May or June.  Otherwise it will be some time next winter or the following spring before I am finished."  Marshall is working on his PhD in education.

"I think that it would be stealing not only from the ball team, but from myself as well if I asked for permission to carry on with my studies and join the team during the summer," he said.  "Athletes, particularly pitchers, need the spring work.  It isn't only throwing the ball.  It also includes facing batters.

"That's a sound theory and then somebody like Rich Allen spoils it all.  Allen's some special kind of an athlete, I'll tell you that.  He's too much.

"I took time out now, not for personal adulation or glorification," Marshall went on, "but because I strongly believe in the work that this group is doing.  They are helping amateurs have the chance to participate--helping boys to be better young men.

"Just so long as it's a program where kids will have fun, I think that it's great.  It doesn't matter if it's basketball or baseball or whatever.  And certainly the important thing is not developing players for professional sport.  That's not important."

Happy Pitching Everybody

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