Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Greatest Pitching Duel...Ever (In my opinion)

On the 30th Anniversary of Carl Hubbell's amazing 18 inning 1-0 shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals, the greatest pitching duel for the modern age was held in San Francisco. On July 2, 1963, the Milwaukee Braves faced the San Francisco Giants. On the mound for the Milwaukee Braves was their long time ace Warren Spahn (363-245 3.09 ERA). Taking the ball for the San Francisco Giants was their ace, "The Dominican Dandy" Juan Marichal (243-142 2.89 ERA).

The game lasted a total of 4 hours and 10 minutes and was a marathon shutout of 16 innings with both starters pitching complete games. The game ended 1-0 due to a game winning home run by Willie Mays (Spahn pitched 15.1 innings, having given up the game winning hit in the bottom of the 16th). Both Spahn and Marichal matched each other with keeping the the opposing team to nearly the same amount of hits (9-8 in favor of Marichal) and both teams left 11 men on base. Both pitchers combined for 428 pitches (227 for Spahn and 201 for Marichal). Marichal struck out 10 while walking 4, Spahn walked only 1 (an intentional walk to Mays in the 14th and was his first walk in 31.2 innings) and struck out 2 but helped his own cause by doubling in the 7th inning, all at the age of 42.

In an era of forced pitched counts and 6 inning starters, its amazing to think that not only one starter would pitch 15 plus shutout innings, but both starters matched each other with the ending being decided on one pitch. Arguably the best left handed starter dueled with the greatest Latino starter of all time in a game for the ages. As I said, amazing. To see the box score (printed July 4, 1963 in the New York Times) click the image to the right.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Latino Pitching Dominance in the All-Star Game

Coming off Mariano Rivera’s record setting 4th save the recent All-Star game, I was thinking about which Latino pitchers have had dominating performances during the Mid-Summer Classic. A few come readily to mind.

1984 Fernando-Mania strikes out the AL in San Francisco

Fernando Valenzuela teams with Dwight Gooden of the Mets to strike out 6 consecutive hitters on the 50th anniversary of Carl Hubble’s amazing 5 consecutive All-Star Game strikeouts. Similar to Hubble, Valenzuela strikes out 3 future Hall of Famers: Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson and George Brett (Hubble struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin).

1999 Pedro Welcomes the NL to Boston

Pedro Martinez starts the All-Star game in Boston during his record setting second Cy-Young Award winning season (Pedro won a total of three Cy-Young awards in different leagues having first won the award in Montreal in 1997 and later in 1999 and 2000 in Boston). Similar to Valenzuela, Pedro strikes out the side in the first and the next batter in the second. His victims were Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire earning him the victory and All-Star game MVP honors.

And Last but not least….

Juan Marichal’s career as an All-Star for the San Francisco Giants

Juan Marichal pitched in the era of dominant National League pitching. Some of his NL contemporaries were Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Steve Carlton, Dock Ellis, Jim Bunning, Gaylord Perry among others. His stats in the All-Star games were as follows:

Juan Marichal’s Career All-Star Game Statistics

In eight All-Star Games (1958-1962 had 2 All-Star Games per year), Marichal started two games and won two while losing none. He had a total of twelve strikeouts to two walks and have up only seven hits and two runs in eighteen total innings pitched. Opposing hitters had a combined .117 batting average against and a .145 on base percentage against Marichal. Just to put it in perspective, some of the players Marichal faced in these games were Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killibrew, Tony Oliva, Al Kaline, George Scott, Frank Robinson, Rod Carew, Carl Yastremski, Rico Petrocelli, Frank Howard and Bobby Murcer.

Any other suggestions for dominating Latino Pitching performances in the All-Star game?