Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

April 04, 1974 Sporting News

The Sporting News
April 04, 1974
Marshall Does It His Way With Dodger Okay
By Ross Newhan

He is at ease discussing Bernoulli’s Principle, Selby’s Theory and the effects of anaerobic exercises.

He would seem to be an individual in a sport that considers the individual an extinct species.  He would seem to be his own man.

“I’m willing to work with people, but I won’t be anyone’s slave,” said Mike Marshall, who was obtained from Montreal for Willie Davis and reported to Dodgertown almost three weeks after most of his new teammates had arrived.

The relief pitcher had been given permission to continue his work toward a doctorate in physiological psychology at Michigan State, where he also teaches a course in kinesiology, which is a “study of the principle of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement.

“I know what’s best for my body and that’s the way it’ll be,” he said.  “My exercise comes from throwing.  I will not run.  I won’t do the wind sprints that most clubs demand all spring and summer.  I simply won’t do them no matter how mad it makes some people, which was one of the beautiful things about Gene Mauch (his manager at Montreal).

“Gene would say, ‘do it your way as long as you don’t try to influence the other players that your way is the right way.’”

Marshall will be told the same thing by the Dodgers.

“Flexibility is the name of the game,” said pitching coach Red Adams.  “We’re not here to get the coaches in shape.  Our goal is performance and if a man feels he can achieve it by going about his conditioning in a way that’s different from the next man, so be it.  We have always tried to condition each pitcher within his own framework.”

Marshall’s framework is considerably different than most athletes.  He has applied the theories of the classroom to his screwball, the pitch that is responsible for his 72 saves over the last three years.

Marshall brought to Florida one suitcase entirely with schoolwork.  He also packed the opinions and theories that have characterized him as a free thinker.

He explained, for instance, that as a student of and instructor in physiological psychology, he has acquired a respect for his body, and its function and movement.

He said he will eat only items of nutrition, does not drink and is a strong anti-smoker.

Marshall said he wanted to thank the Dodgers for allowing him to report as late as he did, but if any club stood in the way of his education by demanding that he be at spring training on opening day, he would quit.

“Baseball is my hobby,” he said.  “I’m an educator first.  People think I use education as a wedge, but that’s not true.  I can’t help if they don’t understand.  It’s not at all inconceivable that if I were offered a post where I had a free hand in setting up the curriculum, I might leave baseball at once.”

Marshall emphasized that he was quoted correctly by Bob Oates in a article for the Los Angeles Times last winter.

“Yes,” he said, “I definitely believe that the victory is in the competition rather than in winning.

“That’s an educator’s view which I believe is essential for young people both in the classroom and on the field.  I also believe it doesn’t end when you turn pro.  If I was out there every day worrying strictly about winning, well, I wouldn’t be out there.

“To me, it’s all in the competition, the concept, the artistry.  Just because I got a guy out on five straight screwballs the last time he was up doesn’t mean I’m going to go that way again.  That would make it dull.

“And when the game is over, you’ll see no false sorrow from me.  I’ll have been in shape to pitch and I’ll have given my best.  That’s what it’s about.  If the other players don’t understand that attitude, I can’t help it.

Happy Pitching Everybody

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