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.