|Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services|
August 26, 1974 Copley News Service
Copley News Service
August 26, 1974
LOS ANGELES, CA:  Prosecution: “Your Honor, baseball’s in need of a few changes.”
Defense:  “Begging Your Honor’s indulgence, what about the Designated Hitter RULE IN THE American League and, for that matter, the Oakland A’s using so many men at second base sometimes they put a swinging door out there?  Or, this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ use of what amounts to a Permanent Designated Relief Pitcher, Mike Marshall?  The defense rests its case.”
Surely you recognize the name.  He’s been in the headlines almost every day this year.
He’s the closest thing to a flesh, blood and bones copy of one of those mechanical pitching machines they could come up with.
Mixing personal goals and his own theories on kinesiology and physical fitness -- which he guards much as the Orientals guarded the secrets of kung fu and karate centuries before Christ--Marshall last year set a major league record with 92 relief appearances.
There was talk he might make over 100 appearances this year.
By All-Star break time, Marshall--traded from team to team earlier in his career--had already set a major league record by being inserted in 13 consecutive games for the Dodgers and had been in on 57 of L.A.’s first 85 battles.
Shortly after the All-Star interruption, his name was still in the Top Three on the National League pitching charts with a 2.35 earned-run average.
Marshall’s miraculous workouts date back to 1972.  Pitching for Montreal then and in 1973, Mike got credit for either the (1) wins or (2) saves in 77 of Montreal’s 149 total wins.  That worked out to 52 per cent of their wins.
Valuable as Marshall was, Montreal manager Gene Mauch wanted a hitter instead, so he put Mike on the trading platform and asked for bids.
“I believe Mike will never be a super relief pitcher again because nobody will ask him to do what we asked him to do, and Marshall has to be used a lot to be effective,” Mauch said in an aside to reporters while the bidding went on.
Eventually, of course, Marshall was traded to the Dodgers, and the indefatigable pitcher has gotten all the work he wants and-or needs.
“I firmly believe he can pitch every day and it doesn’t hurt him physically,” says Dodger manager Walt Alston.
“My only concern is over pitching him, but, frankly, that doesn’t seem possible.”
Marshall was nowhere near being tired at the halfway point in the season.
“I don’t know where the limit is,” he said, “but I haven’t found it.  Tired?  How?  We’ve only played half a season.”
“The guy is an absolutely fantastic physical specimen,” says Red Patterson of the Dodgers.  “You get the feeling he can’t hurt himself, no matter how much he does.  It’s like he’s indestructible.
“I’ve never seen him stick his arm in a bucket of ice or put a heat pack on it.
“He jogs a lot.  I know that.  You’d think his arm would fall off or something, but he just seems to thrive on work.  I’ve seen him pitch five or six days in a row and the next day he’s out throwing batting practice.
“The guy apparently knows himself and what he’s capable of.  He tried to tell me about it one time, about kinesiology.  He’s an expert on the subject.
“Most of us can’t even spell it.”
If the 31-year-old Marshall, a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, was willing to open up to Patterson, it may be one of the few times he’s shown the inclination to share his theories.
Earlier this year, he was far more guarded.
“Maybe it isn’t in keeping with the essence of team spirit,” he said, “but it’s taken me 15 years to educate myself to the point where I am now, and I’m not ready to share it.”
He is also uncommunicative with reporters who describe him as a “physical freak” and answers them by saying, “No, I’m not a physical freak.  I could explain why, but I don’t have the time and you guys wouldn’t understand it if I did because of your lack of physiological background.”
If others knew what he knows about kinesiology, he says, it would be “possible for anyone to do it,” to work 100 games or more.
He gives only a slight peek at his “secret.”
“When pitchers’ arms are swollen or sore, it’s usually due to injured tissue.  I don’t go beyond the stress limitations of my tissue.”