Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mike G. Marshall

Michael Grant Marshall was not just a relief pitcher; he was a one-man bullpen.

He was a long-reliever, setup man, and closer all rolled up into one.

He believed he could pitch every day, and almost did.


"Iron Mike" collected saves the old fashioned way; he earned them.

Incredibly, only two of his 188 career saves were obtained by toiling a full inning with a three run lead.

No, that's not a typo.

To put this in perspective, Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley notched 11 cheap saves in one season and had 63 in his career.

Marshall specialized in the tough save.

He registered a save after pitching three or more innings a whopping 10 times in 1974 and a total of 42 times during his career.

Eckersley? He had just one three-inning save. Yep, just one.

Marshall was a manager's dream.

Well, sort of.

Pompous, egotistical and downright obnoxious, Marshall could be a nightmare for his manager, coaches, teammates, the media, and fans alike.

A native of Adrian Michigan, Marshall broke into professional baseball as a shortstop. However, after years of struggling defensively, Marshall switched positions and began pitching. He made his major league debut in 1967 after learning to throw the screwball.

Marshall played in the big leagues for 14 seasons with nine different teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1974 to 1976. The Dodgers acquired Marshall from the Montreal Expos during the winter of 1973 for Willie Davis and traded him away just over two-and-a-half years later to the Atlanta Braves for Elias Sosa and Lee Lacy.

Marshall led the league in games finished five times, games pitched four times, and saves three times.

His best season was 1974 with Los Angeles when he posted a 15-12 mark with 21 saves and set major league records for games pitched with 106, relief innings pitched with 208.1, and consecutive relief appearances with 13. For his staggering numbers, Marshall was honored with the National League Cy Young and Fireman of the Year awards, and was named The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year.

[1] MacDonald, Ian. "Marshall Fadeout Enrages Pilot Mauch." The Sporting News, Aug. 14, 1971, 29.
[2] MacDonald, Ian. "Marshall Plan Lifesaver for Expos." The Sporting News, Sept. 2, 1972, 13.
[3] Newhan, Ross. "Iron Mike--What's Behind Brilliant Record?" The Sporting News, July 27, 1974, 3 and 12.
[4] MacDonald, Ian. "Marshall's Scroogie Pays Off to Tune of $50,000." The Sporting News, Mar. 24, 1973, 40.
[5] Oates, Bob. "'Victory is in the Competition.'" Los Angeles Times, Jan.y 27, 1974, C1.
[6] Prugh, Marshall. "Marshall Does a Big Number (93) on the Reds." Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9, 1974, F1.
[7] Newhan, Ross. "Dodgers Do it Again with a Finishing Touch." Los Angeles Times, Jun. 27, 1974, D1.
[8] Oates, Bob. "Marshall's Pitch is Easy to Follow--in Class." Los Angeles Times, August 20, 1975, D5.
[9] Newhan, Ross. "Marshall Saves Dodgers' 3-2 Victory Over Mets." Los Angeles Times, Jun. 15, 1974, C1.
[10] -----. "Morning Briefing: Marshall Has Masters Degree in Rudeness, Columnist Says." Los Angeles Times, Oct. 20, 1974, C2.


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