Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

July 30, 1973 Montreal Gazette

United Press International
July 30, 1973

Most great minds think alike when it comes to baseball.

They think maybe they’re better off skipping it for something like chess, bridge or even lacrosse.

Some individuals from the so-called higher halls of learning tried making a living in professional baseball.  Charlie Devens of Harvard and Johnny Broaca and Ken MacKenzie of Yale are among those who come most quickly to mind.

There also was the late Moe Berg out of Princeton.  He was an absolute genius, one who was perfectly at ease whether he was discussing either baseball or mathematics with his good friend, Albert Einstein.  Bobby Brown, now a heart specialist, is no dummy either, but generally those with the huge IQ’s, fellows like Bill Bradley, Ken Dryden and Frank Ryan, go into some other line of work besides baseball.

But Mike Marshall, Montreal’s bread-and-butter reliever, can accurately be described as brilliant whether you’re talking about the way he throws his screwball or the way he thinks.

Some have even called him a “baseball egghead,” but he considers that label anything but flattering.

“The term ‘egghead’ is demeaning,” he says.  “People who use the word do not have the ability to recognize that everyone is born with brains, but not everyone uses them.  I feel sorry for anybody who doesn’t have sense enough to make use of his brain or his body.

Mike Marshall, naturally, uses both.

During the summer, he pitches for the Montreal Expos and when he’s finished with them, he teaches at Michigan State.

The compact 30-year-old righthander from Adrian, MI, had 14 wins last year, 18 saves and a 1.78 ERA with a Montreal club which finished next to last.  He led all relievers in the league in games finished (56); had the second-best ERA among the top relievers, tied Clay Carroll of the Reds for most appearances (65), ranked third in combined wins and saves (32) and finished fourth in saves.

He isn’t doing half bad this year either.  He picked up his ninth victory Sunday against the Mets to go with 20 saves and a 2.71 ERA.

There isn’t the slightest question in his mind which job he enjoys more, pitching or teaching.

“Teaching,” he says firmly.

“I don’t look at baseball as a means of making money,” says Marshall, who has his Masters already and now is working on his PhD in education.  “I have other means of making money, certainly enough to live.  If anything, baseball has taken away from my education.  Insofar as any personal gratification from baseball is concerned, I don’t think it’s of any substance.  What the hell is it?  It’s just a temporary victory or defeat.  Any good I do is as a teacher or as a parent, not as a baseball pitcher.”

Why, then, does Marshall play major league baseball?

“It’s a challenge,” he says.  “I think everybody likes to be the best at something.  Where else could I have the opportunity to compete against the best in the world?  If I had the running form of a Jim Ryun, my area of competition would be track.  If I had the talent of a Kareem Jabbar, it would be a basketball court, but since I have baseball talent, this is the form my competition takes.”

Marshall has such a good screwball the Expos consider him too valuable ever to think of converting him to a starter.

“Why would you think of doing that when he can win a ball game for you five days in a row?” says Cal McLish, the Expos’ pitching coach.

Gene Mauch, Montreal’s manager, calls Marshall, “the most complete relief pitcher” he has ever seen.

Ask Mauch what he means by “most complete” and he says, “superb fielder, tough hitter, good base-runner and excellent bunter.”

Mauch also has this to say about other relievers in comparison with his man.

“I have seen Hugh Casey throw spitters as effective as Marshall’s screwball, Joe Page throw fastballs as good as his screwball.  Nelson Potter and Jack Baldschun threw their screwballs as good; Elroy Face and Lindy McDaniel throw their forkballs as good, and Ron Perranoski throw sinking balls that were as good as Marshall’s screwball, but I’ve never seen any one of them do ALL the things as well as Mike Marshall does.”

That means Marshall can pitch.

Plays a cool game of chess, too.

Happy Pitching Everybody

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