Jan 15, 2016

One of The Top Relievers of the 1970's Who Closed Out His Carrer With the Mets: Mike Marshall (1981)

Michael Grant Marshall was born January 15th 1943 in Adrian, Michigan. The five foot eight, right handed Marshall attended Michigan State University where he earned three degrees, including a Ph. D in kinesiology. 

Kinesiology is the scientific study of human movement. He believes his philosophies could completely eradicate pitching-arm injuries. 

Marshall believes pitchers should externally rotate early as they swing their arm up & lift the hand before the elbow, so that the wrist faces away from the body upward. The hand is above the elbow when the front foot touches the ground, which leads to a smooth transition without a "forearm bounce," as Marshall calls it. He believes this causes UCL injuries, which require Tommy John surgery).

Marshall signed as an amateur free agent in 1960 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He began his career slowly, debuting with the 1967 Detroit Tigers where he shared the top relief closing role with Fred Gladding (6-4 / 12 saves). Marshall posted ten saves 1-3 with a 1.98 ERA finishing 23 games as opposed to Gladding's 25.

The next year Marshall was scooped up by the Seattle Pilots as the 53rd overall pick in the expansion draft. The Pilots started Marshall in 14 games & used him in another 6 games of relief, he went 3-8 with eight saves. Marshall did not get along with Pilots Manager; Joe Schultz, as documented in Jim Bouton's book; Ball Four. At the end of the season, he had his contract purchased by the Houston Astros for 1970.

After a uneventful year in Houston. he was traded to the Montreal Expos for former Met; Don Bosch. By 1971 Marshall was evolving into a spectacular reliever, he finished 52 games & posted 23 saves (2nd in the NL). Over the next four seasons, Marshall was one of the best relievers in the game. He would lead the NL in saves twice (1973 & 1974) games finished four straight years & appearances three straight years. 

In 1972 & 1973 Marshall would win 14 games out of the bullpen as well, he would come in the top ten voting of the MVP Award both years & was fourth & second respectively in the Cy Young voting. The 1973 Expos won 79 games with Marshall figuring in 45 of those wins (31 saves & 14 victories). That year he was named the NL Fireman of the Year for the first time.

Prior to the 1974 season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for veteran Willie Davis. This deal, along with receiving Jimmy Wynn (the Toy Cannon from Houston) put the Dodgers over the top, to capture the NL West beating the Big Red Machine.

The Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS & got to the first All California World Series, although they lost to the mighty Oakland A's Dynasty in five games. By now he was sporting longer hair, facial hair & mutton chops fitting into early seventies L.A.

As for Marshall he set two records that may never be broken, the first was making 106 appearances & the second was making relief appearances in13 straight games. Marshall won 15 games all in relief, leading the NL in saves (21) & games finished (83) This year took home the Cy Young Award as well as another Fireman of the Year Award. Marshall pitched in an incredible 208 innings of relief, striking out 143 walking 56 & posting a 2.42 ERA.

Post Season: In the NLCS he finished off two games recording no saves. In the World Series, he appeared in all five games. He earned a save in Game #2 the only game the Dodgers won in the series. He was the losing pitcher in the clinching Game #5 at the Oakland Coliseum, when Joe Rudi tool him deep in the 7th inning with a solo HR in the 3-2 A's win.

The next year he fell to 9-4 with 13 saves & by mid 1976 the Dodgers made a young Charlie Hough their closer, trading Marshall to the Atlanta Braves for Lee Lacy & Elias Sosa. From there he went to the Texas Rangers before settling in with the Minnesota Twins. By 1979 he was back on top.leading the AL in saves (32) games finished (84) & appearances (90). He was 10-15 with a 2.65 ERA & 81 strike outs in 142 innings pitched.

After the 1980 season, at age 37 he signed on with the New York Mets where he would close out his career. On August 19th, a week after play resumed after the 1981 Baseball strike, Marshall made his Mets debut in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves, pitching a scoreless 7th inning. 

On August 25th, in his fifth Mets game, he pitched two scoreless innings at Shea Stadium, earning a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros. Two days later, he pitched part of the 8th inning as well as the 9th in a 3-2 Mets win, where he earned another victory. 

Over the next week he was credited with two holds, as well as a loss at the Astrodome when a wild pitch led to the walk off winning run, which blew the game. On September 16th, he earned his third & final win as a Mets pitcher, it came in the second game of a double header against the Philadelphia Phillies. He closed out the 1981 strike shortened season, finishing off the last game in a 3-0 loss to the Montreal Expos.

In his 14 year career, Marshall won the 1974 Cy Young Award & came in second in 1973. He made two All Star teams & won two player of the week awards. 

Overall he was 97-112 with 188 saves (54th all time) & 549 games finished (26th all time). He made 724 appearances (83rd all time) striking out 880 batters with 514 walks in 1386 innings pitched.

Retirement: He was head coach of  St. Leo University (1985-1987)  Henderson State University (1988-1990) &West Texas A & M (1994). He still coaches young players in pitching techniques & offers a free on line book with his approach.

1 comment:

David Giwner said...

What type of Mets Jersey is he wearing in the 2nd to last photo?