Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A Statue for Juan Marichal

When the Oakland Athletics visit SBC Park
this May 21 the San Francisco Giants will
have in attendance Hall of Fame great
Juan Marichal, the best pitcher ever in
the history of the San Francisco Giants.
Giants will unveil a 9 foot bronze statue
of the “Dominican Dandy”.

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezNon Latinos called him the “Dominican Dandy”
with a unique wind-up that turned people’s heads
and stuff that made hitters also turn their heads
in disbelief when they faced him.

Juan Marichal was the first Latin American pitcher
elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Marichal was born in Laguna Verde, Dominican
Republic October 20, 1937. He played for the
Escogido team in the Dominican Republic and
mostly for the San Francisco Giants in the
major leagues from 1960 to 1973, Boston in
1974 and Los Angeles Dodgers in 1975.

The Juan Antonio Marichal statue will be at
the Lefty O’Doul pavillion at SBC Park and
will be the second statue for a San Francisco
Giant in the 6 year old park. Willie Mays at
the corner of King and 3rd street in front of
the main entrance was the first one. Willie
McCovey statue is at McCovey Cove accross
the water behind right field.

This May 21, Juan Marichal will become the
third Latinamerican player to have a statue
in a major league ballpark.
El Cometa de Carolina(The Comet from Carolina)
Roberto Clemente, from Carolina, Puerto Rico
was the first ever statue erected for a Latino player
in Pittsburgh followed by the popular Cuban-born
star Orestes (Minnie)Miñoso whom the Chicago
White Sox erected a staute at US Celullar
Field last year. But Marichal is the second
Hall of Fame player born in Latinamerica
to have a statue in a major league park.
These three, Clemente,Miñoso and Marichal
are in the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall
of Fame. A non profit baseball museum founded
in San Francisco,California in 1999.

Juan Marichal was named to 10 All Star teams,
when he retired he had the second lowest
earned run average in National League history
with 2.89. He also finished with 2,303 strikeouts
and 243-142 win-loss record, a winning percentage
of .636 which was the 6th best in major league
history among all pitchers with 200 games or more.

Juan Marichal never won a Cy Young, although
he completed 244 games in his stellar career
of 16 seasons and pitcher a total of 3,509 1/3
innings. During his tenure the National League
was rich in pitching with guys like Sandy Koufax,
Bob Gibson,Warren Spahn and Don Drysdale
(I wonder how many games a rotation like
this will win a team in a season ?)

Last time I interviewed Juan Antonio Marichal
for the Giants Spanish radio I remember
(among other questions)asking him:
“What would you have told your manager
If he asked you prior to one of your starts
to give you -six quality-innings”?
Juan smiled and said: “Pensaría que estaba
loco, yo siempre salí a lanzar por lo menos
9 innings:(I would think he was crazy, since
I always came out thinking of pitching at least
9 innings). I made the reference since in
today’s game if you can get “six good innings”
out of any of your starters that is considered
a ‘quality start’.

Since Marichal was signed out of the Dominican
Air force at age 19 into professional baseball
here in the United States, Juan was a tremendous
competitor. He was elected to Cooperstown in
1983. Marichal threw a fastball,slider,curveball
and screwball and he threw it from a variety
of motions making the hitters very “uncorfortable”.
His “high-leg kick”was his trademark and the
statue at SBC park will have Juan with that
exact pose.

A man of class, great dignity who could be
President of his country If he ever wanted
the job is a soft spoken man, always well
dressed and with a great disposition.

Yes, there was that incident in August 22,
1965 when he faced the Dodgers and
Sandy Koufax and that ugly brawl
took place we all have seen enough
photographs and film. There was name
calling between Dodger catcher John
Roseboro and Juan Marichal and the
rest we all have seen. But that was
long forgotten as a matter of fact,
when Marichal was not named to the
Hall of Fame in his first 2 years of elegibility
Roseboro campaigned for Juan.
When Marichal was inducted into Cooperstown
in 1983 in his speech he thank John Roseboro.

In this2005 year of scandals, tell all books and
all around negativity, the Giants could have
not picked a better man to built a statue.

Juan Marichal represented the great Giant
teams of the 1960s with Mays,McCovey,
Cepeda,Pagán,Fuentes. Teams that although
played at maligned Candlestick Park seemed
to be as competitive team as ever was.

“Manito”like many Latinos call Juan Marichal
is a real Hall of Fame player a man for all
ages and a man that will always represent
the best of the Latinamerican baseball players.

I congratulate the San Francisco Giants for
the Juan Marichal statue. Something that
will be at SBC for many years to come and
for many real baseball fans to enjoy walk around,
take pictures and talk about Juan Marichal
and his unique style on the mound.
Guys like Mario Alioto, Senior Vice President
of Marketing for the Giants deserve a lot of the
credit for this day. I always knew the value
of Marichal for the Latino community.
On February 26, 1982 I was the originator
and promoter of Juan Marichal Day in
San Francisco while Juan was visiting
The City. I am proud to have in my office
and Award of Merit by the City of San Francisco
that was given to me by then Mayor
Dianne Feinstein(today Senator for the
State of California) on behalf of the people
of San Francisco for outstanding public service.
It is one of the proudest awards I have
received. I worked with some community
leaders and that day was officially named
Juan Marichal Day in the city of San Francisco.
Bienvenido a San Francisco Juan Marichal
esta es tu casa !
Pi-González has been broadcasting Giants
games in Spanish for the San Francisco Giants
since 1994 and is on his third season as
Spanish play by play for the Seattle Mariners
Spanish radio network for all 81 games at
Safeco Field. Amaury who is the Vice President
of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum
was on the field with the President of the Museum
Mr Tito Avila Jr a couple of years ago when
the museum retired Marichal’s #27 which is
part of the most important exhibits of this
shrine. Juan Marichal is also in the Dominican
Hall of Fame.


1 Anonymous { 05.13.05 at 5:09 pm }

Amaury; Everything you say about Marichal, as a ball player and a person, does appropriate justice to him.
It is of interest that although he was a Giant throughout his playing days, he was a scout for the A’s when he signed the 17 year old Tejada, perhaps the best player, along with Guerrero, playing today. If he had signed him for the Giants he would be playing for them today. The Giants would never have let him get away.

2 Anonymous { 05.13.05 at 10:13 pm }

The Giants may have not let Tejada get away, but they more than likely never would have had him to begin with, given their penchant for favoring old guys.

Like Amaury says: Go to SBC Park on any day and you’ll run into one of the past greats still employed by the Giants. Don’t they still prop up Carl Hubbell once a week?

3 Anonymous { 05.14.05 at 12:08 pm }

Excellent point on Marichal signing of Tejada a player that the A’S should have kept instead of giving Cahvez all the money they had.
However, this signing stuff could backfire
on many levels. A great ex Cuban pitcher
and then scout for the A’S Camilo Pascual
signed Jose Canseco and I remember him
saying Canseco could be a Hall of Fame
caliber player…we know the rest. I do not
blame Pascual,

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