Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

February 28, 1986 Palm Beach Post

Marshall’s A Screwball at St. Leo
By Jacques Pernitz
Palm Beach Post
February 28, 1986

BOCA RATON, FL:  They have been molded in his image, eight pitchers with little desire to throw anything but screwballs.

Coached by former Cy Young Award winner Mike Marshall, the St. Leo College baseball team may be the most unique in the country, if not the most interesting.

“I don’t have a full staff yet, but next year or the year after, you watch,” said Marshall, whose pitchers throw screwballs 80-90 percent of the time.  “Next year or the year after, I’m going to sit in the dugout, cross my legs, fold my arms and relax.  I’m not going to have to do anything.”

Marshall, whose major league career ended in 1981 with the New York Mets, he attempted a comeback with the California Angels but didn’t make the team, is teaching the science of baseball to 22 students.

“I’ve been taught to challenge the hitters with the screwball,” said senior J.D. Paternoster, who allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits in seven innings before being relieved in the eighth in the Monarchs’ (8-6) 7-4 victory over Florida Atlantic University (12-5) yesterday.  “I think it is kind of tough for other teams that never see the screwball.  All of us throw it and it helps our fastball a lot, too, it makes the fastball look even faster.”

Paternoster couldn’t have thrown as many as five fastballs yesterday.  In fact, California Angels’ scout Preston Douglas, using a speed-testing Juggs Gun, was discouraged by his inability to clock the right-hander’s fastball.

“Marshall is very smart,” said sophomore Darrin Reichle, who was charting pitches in the stands.  “He’s showing us techniques we’ve never seen before.”

In 1974, Marshall, now 43, became the first relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.  In 106 games, he was 15-12 with 21 saves and a 2.42 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He led the National League in saves in 1973 and 1974 and posted an American League high of 32 for the Minnesota Twins in 1979.

“Bruce Sutter’s made a career on it, Fernando Valenzuela’s making a career on it and I made a 14-year career on it,” Marshall said of the screwball.  “Anyone who has a good screwball can make a career of it.”

“Marshall believes the screwball is a pitcher’s bread and butter,” Reichle said.  “He was so successful at it that we’ll listen to anything he says.”

Yesterday, Patenoster threw a screwball on a 3-and-0 count and reliever Ron Turner tossed a ninth-inning screwball to strike out Marty McDaniel on a full count with the bases loaded.

“Did you see that screwball drop off the table?”  Marshall asked excitably.  “That kid has guts.  He just threw that pitch with the game on the line.”

Brent Honeywell relieved Paternoster in the eighth, John Corsi took over in the ninth and Turned finished for the save.  Three fastballs weren’t thrown between them.

“They all throw the screwball,” FAU coach Steve Traylor said.  “You know what you’re going to see against a Marshall-coached team.  They’re going to turn it over and never throw consecutive fastballs.  We just couldn’t make an adjustment and get the job done.”

Happy Pitching Everybody

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