Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

June 10, 1983 Los Angeles Times

Marshall is Making His Latest Pitch:  But, He Gives Up 9 Runs on 9 Hits in 1 1/3 Innings at Salt Lake
By Alan Greenberg
Los Angeles Times
June 10, 1983

The last big game Mike Marshall pitched was for the St. Paul Eastsiders in the state final of the 1982 Minnesota baseball championships.

He lost, 6-1.

“I gave up six unearned runs,” Marshall said.  “I struck out 11 in seven innings, but we made seven errors.  I guess I let them hit a few too many grounders that day.”

Marshall said his screwball, the pitch that carried the then-Dodger to the 1974 Cy Young Award, was working fine that day.  A good screwball pitcher usually forces batters to hit grounders.  And that, Marshall said, was part of the problem.

“When you’re pitching in the major leagues, you want to keep the ball on the ground,” Marshall said.  “But it makes my screwball less valuable in the summer league because they either boot them or throw them away.”

Marshall, 40, may be asked to again throw his screwball in the major leagues, where it can be better appreciated, no doubt, after a two-year absence.  This weekend.  By the Angels, no less.

You know about Angels relievers.  There’s a rumor Anaheim fans are pitching in to buy them a retirement home, in Times Beach, MO.

Marshall, who hasn’t pitched in major league competition since the Mets released him after the 1981 season, to the rescue?  Maybe.

Here’s the deal:  The Angels signed Marshall, 40, to a two-day contract Wednesday, so he flew to join their farm team, the Edmonton Trappers, in Salt Lake City.  Marshall joined the team a few hours before a game against the Gulls Wednesday.  He was supposed to throw batting practice, but it was cancelled when it rained.

He pitched 1 1/3 innings for the Trappers against the Gulls Thursday night and was charged with nine runs on nine hits while walking five in Edmonton’s 16-11 loss to Salt Lake City.  Depending on how the Angels evaluate his performance, he may be called up today or Saturday, if only so the Angels can get another look at him, or be told thanks but no thanks.

Marshall isn’t sure his new club is going about this in the best way, giving him a minor league rather than major league tryout.  So, what else is new?

“My idea of a top circumstance would be to go where top people in the organization can evaluate my pitching,” Marshall said.  “I’m not sure that’s being done.  Sometimes, you have to do things that don’t make any sense.”

Marshall said his total lack of familiarity with both the Trappers and the opposing batters didn’t figure to help.

“This is a situation conducive to lack of success,” Marshall said by phone from Salt Lake City before taking the mound Thursday night, “but what the hell.  I’ve had big challenges before. I approach this with no great trepidation.”

Marshall has been called many things in the course of his major league career, some of them printable:  condescending, tactless, impatient and intractable.  But, never unprepared, either physically or mentally.  He has an explanation (some would say excuse) for everything.

No, he says, he’ll hardly be devastated if the Angels don’t want him.

“I have no need to run out and do this,” Marshall said.  “I’ve done baseball, and I think I’ve done it rather well.  I could have done more with more cooperation from people who couldn’t separate baseball and the playing of the game from bargaining and union rights.  A lot of people couldn’t separate my negotiating from my talents.”

Marshall, a former American League player representative and a driving force in the player’s union when he pitched for the Minnesota Twins, counts New York Mets General Manager Frank Cashen among those.  Marshall appeared in 20 games for the 1981 Mets.  He had a 3-2 record, a 2.90 earned run average, and no saves.  Marshall said he would have stayed had it not been for the firing of his top supporter, Manager Joe Torre.

Since being released by the Mets, Marshall said, he has continued to throw 120-160 pitches and to run three to five miles daily.  For him, pitching is a way of life.

“It was a simple matter of my agent (Dick Moss) calling and asking, ‘Can you pitch?’  I said, ‘Sure,’” Marshall said.  Other people play racquetball or tennis, I throw a baseball.  It’s the joy of recreation.”

Marshall sat out the 1982 season, willingly, he said.  ”Because of the nasty way my wife was going after me,” and because his three daughters needed his attention during the breakup of his marriage.  Marshall’s wife co-authored a hot-selling book about their life which portrayed her husband in what euphemistically could be called an unflattering light.

When the divorce proceedings ended in mid-May, Marshall said he felt more comfortable pondering a possible return to the major leagues.  Had an unsuccessful late April tryout with the Milwaukee Brewers, but the Angels decided to look at him partly because they checked around and got a somewhat encouraging report on him from Brewers’ catcher Ted Simmons, who caught Marshall’s tryout.

“The way my agent explains it, for reasons unfathomable to me, they (the Angels) need to demonstrate media-wise that I was willing to go to a Triple-A club and throw,” Marshall said.  “I have no compunction about coming down here and being with these fellows for a couple of days.  But, either I go to LA or I go home.  I have no intention of staying here.”

Happy Pitching Everybody

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