Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

June 26, 1984 St. Petersburg Times

Mike Marshall Plans to Stick Around at Saint Leo
St. Petersburg Times
June 26, 1984

SAINT LEO, FL:  Surveying the Saint Leo College baseball field for the first time as head coach, Mike Marshall made his way to the infield.

"One thing I will change is that I'll rip that pitching mound out," Marshall said, pointing to the mound like it was a disease.  And it was to him.  "There are more arm injuries caused by insufficient landing area on the mound than by anything else.  I'll take care of that in short order."

Insufficient landing area?  Welcome, if you will, Mike Marshall, former Cy Young award winner with the Los Angeles Dodgers, recipient of a Ph.D. in kinesiology from Michigan State, and the man newly named to head the Saint Leo baseball program.

Marshall, 41, in his third year away from the big leagues, accepted his first head coaching position recently.  He becomes the Monarchs fourth coach in four years.  How Marshall ended up in this town sandwiched between San Antonio and Dade City is no simple question.

It all started, one might guess, with the mugging in Cleveland.

That night was in June 1969, when Marshall was with the expansion Seattle Pilots.  It was supposed to be his first full season in the majors after bouncing around the minor leagues since being signed out of Adrian (Mich.) High School in 1960 by the Phillies organization.

A shortstop at first, Marshall moved to pitching fulltime in 1966, the same year he was traded to the Tigers.  In May, 1967, he was moved up to Detroit, picked up 10 saves and had a 1.98 ERA.  He was sent down to Toledo in 1968 and picked up by Seattle in the expansion draft in 1969.

According to Marshall, he was doing all right for the inept Pilots, until a summer night on the streets of Cleveland.

Walking alone on the way back to his hotel after getting a bite to eat, Marshall was approached by a youth asking for bus fare.  When Marshall dug into his pocket, he was jumped from behind.  Marshall says he doesn't remember much after that, except getting away by punching one youth in the throat and kicking another in the groin.

Anatomy experts know all the right targets.

Besides ruining his clothes, Marshall also separated both his shoulders.  Things only got worse.

"They kept pitching me until I was moved down and out," said Marshall, who was shipped to the minors.  His baseball enthusiasm deflated, Marshall still had academics to fall back on.  Going to school in the off-season, he had received his bachelor's degree in 1965 and master's in 1967.  He was planning to go for the Ph.D. and the mugging injury prompted an idea.

"Basically, I was quitting baseball, I wanted nothing more to do with Seattle," he said.  "It was really a blessing in disguise.  I went back to school and designed a weight training and rehabilitation program which allowed me to pich more frequently than others."

His field was kinesiology, more modernly called biomechanics.  In either case, it deals with the physics of human movement and the anatomy involved in such movement.

Not only did his doctorate research pick up, but Marshall's pitching ability improved.  Seattle traded him to a Houston Astros farm team in 1970 and he was sent from there to Montreal in the same year.  The Expos brought him back to the majors and Marshall began establishing himself.

"By 1972, I found my screwball and I could throw strikes with it," Marshall said.  "I went from being a mediocre pitcher to 14 wins, 23 saves and a 1.78 ERA."

The next year, Marshall was runner-up in the Cy Young voting for best pitcher in the National League.

In 1974, Marshall was traded to Los Angeles and the records began to fall.  Helping the Dodgers to the World Series, Marshall broke major league marks in most games in relief (106), most consecutive games in relief (13) and most innings pitched in relief (208).  Iron Mike was his name.

In the Series against Oakland, he was the only pitcher to appear in all five games (another record), striking out 10 in nine innings and allowing one run.

But that run was a biggie.

In Game 5, with the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Marshall faced Joe Rudi.  His first pitch of the inning was greeted with a bang as Rudi sent it spiraling into the left-field seats.  Rudi rounded the bases and Oakland won the game, and the series.

"Everybody's recollection of me in the World Series is that I didn't do a good job," he said.

Marshall continued in Los Angeles until the middle of the 1976 season.  During the next 2 1/2 years, Marshall went to the Braves and had back surgery and went to the Rangers and had arthroscopic surgery on his knee.  New team, new operation.

He came back in 1978 with Minnesota to set the American League record for games in relief (89).  He lasted with the Twins until 1980 and finished his career in New York with a seven-week stint at the end of the 1981 season for the Mets.

Besides his remarkable endurance and bamboozling screwball, Marshall is also remembered in baseball circles for his role in 1980 as the player's representative in negotiations with the owners.

"I'm the one who sat across from Ray Grebey (the owners' negotiator) and told him to stick it in his ear," Marshall said.

A strike, prevented in 1980, occurred in 1981, when Marshall was out of baseball.

"While everyone has this image of Major League baseball being too attractive, it is not.  It's a pain," Marshall said.  (And) They've had their fill of me.  I'm throwing better than ever, but no major league team is interested.  They don't like player reps."

Marshall competes for an amateur team, the Tampa Smokers, and in a tournament two weeks ago, he pitched four games (total of 33 innings) in two days, winning three, including a perfect game in his last appearance.

Now he's a coach, and a teacher--though Marshall would reverse the order.  Having received his doctorate in 1978, Marshall taught at St. Cloud State in Minnesota until the beginning of this year.  His expertise in the field is well known and his Mike Marshall Kinesiology Services counts Fran Tarkenton and Stan Smith among its clients.

He has given speeches around the country, including an address to the American Medical Association.

His dissertation on the maturation of males in adolescence called for the current President's Council on Physical Fitness program to be discontinued because it was biased.  Marshall contended that "delayed maturing" children had a disadvantage in the fitness test.  He claimed that "accelerated maturing" children also had a disadvantage because those children were not encouraged to improve their skills.

His address to the AMA concerned the "trauma on the throwing arm."

"Adolescent baseball, for those kids up to 14, selects the best arms of the youngsters and ruins them," Marshall said.

While at St. Cloud State, Marshall "helped out" with the baseball team.  In 1984, her served in an official capacity as the University of Tampa's pitching coach.  He did well for the Spartans and two of his pitchers were drafted by the pros.  One of them, St. Petersburg Catholic graduate Steve Mumaw, came to Tampa with just 19 innings pitched the previous year in junior college.

After one year with Tampa and Marshall, Mumaw was named a Division II All-American.

Now, Marshall has left Tampa for Saint Leo.  The college offered two things that Tampa couldn't: a head coaching job and the chance to teach again.

"I really enjoyed Tampa.  I wasn't looking and, bam, Saint Leo.  It came from nowhere," Marshall said.  "I didn't know anything about it and everything I've learned, I like.  (Saint Leo athletic director) Norm Kaye can be a persuasive guy.

"I asked myself, 'Do I really want this?...Yeah, dummy, you've been talking about running your own team.'  "This met my criteria."

Marshall's criteria included staying in the Tampa area (his mother will soon be moving to Tampa), as well as teaching and coaching.  And he appears to be what Saint Leo needed:  someone who will stay around.

"I have no (other) plans for the future.  I plan on staying here," Marshall said.  "I'm not interested in going to a major college and only being the baseball coach.  I'm a teacher and I want to teach."

His job as a coach will not be easy.  Saint Leo lost seven starters and its two best pitchers from last year.  But Marshall said he likes the challenge.

If Mike Marshall, record-breaking pitcher, Players Association negotiator, kinesiology expert and survivor of a Cleveland mugging, says he likes a challenge, somehow you believe him.

Happy Pitching Everybody

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