Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

May 07, 1979 Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times
May 07, 1979

This is the year of the relief pitcher.  The Dodgers are floundering, at least in part, because of the lack of one.  The New York Yankees, in desperation, have turned to the best pitcher in baseball, Ron Guidry, for relief.

Then there is the amazing Mike Marshall, who has helped turn the Minnesota Twins into the surprise team of the early season.  They hold a 2 ˝-game lead in the American League West, mainly because of Marshall.  He has had a hand in 14 of their 18 victories, while playing a part in only one of their eight defeats.

Marshall pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in Bloomington, MN, Sunday and when Roy Smalley drilled a three-run home run in the eighth inning, he became the pitcher of record in the Twins’ 9-6 victory over Detroit.

It was the fifth victory for the tireless Marshall, who may be on his way to breaking his own record of 106 appearances, set while pitching the Dodgers to the pennant in 1974.

The 36-year-old right-hander has appeared in 16 games.  In addition to his five victories, he has nine saves.  In a loss to the Angels, he gave up the only three runs he has allowed in 31 2/3 innings this season.  His ERA is 0.85.  He also chose to pitch one inning of a game already lost just to stay loose.

Since last Sunday, Marshall has pitched every day except Monday, a day off for the whole team, and Saturday, when the Twins fell behind early.  During the 8-day period, he pitched 15 scoreless innings and the Twins won six games.  He was the winner in three and saved the other three.

His breaking ball is getting so much action that opposing batters are frequently asking the umpires to inspect the ball.  As yet, they’ve found nothing.

“I’m getting tired of this,” said Marshall of the frequent checking on his pitches.

“The ball was taking some strange dips,” said Tiger manager Les Moss, “but it passed inspection every time.”

“I’m throwing the ball as well as I ever did,” said Marshall, “and I’m not doctoring the ball.  The team’s making me look good.  They’re playing superb defense.  I don’t see why I can’t pitch as many times as I did for the Dodgers.  I feel great.”

After his big season with the Dodgers, Marshall began to have back problems.  He became ineffective and finally, after the 1977 season, he underwent surgery.

Nobody wanted to take a chance with him until Twins manager Gene Mauch persuaded him to join the club last May.  Marshall told Mauch he would give it a try, but if his back hurt, he would quit.  He did so well (10-12 and 21 saves) that he even convinced Calvin Griffith to part with some of his money.

Griffith wouldn’t pay Rod Carew $2.5 million, but he gave Marshall a contract calling for $1.2 million over four years.

Five clubs made higher bids than that,” said Marshall, often the subject of controversy, “but I wanted to pitch for Gene Mauch.  I like him.  I like the area.  I like the Twins’ players."

Happy Pitching Everybody

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