July 4, 2015

A BORING NIGHT IN THE BULLPEN:

 Baseball's greatest pitching duel (Chris Haft, July 2nd, 2015, MLB)

The mention of the San Francisco Giants' encounter against the Milwaukee Braves on July 2, 1963, seemed to amuse Willie McCovey.

"You're bringing it back to life?" said the Hall of Fame first baseman.

Resuscitation isn't necessary. That game endures in all its glory 52 years later, and it most surely will remain as singular as long as baseball exists. Hall-of-Famers Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn saw to that with their pitching mastery.

On a typically cool night at Candlestick Park, the Giants prevailed 1-0 on a 16th-inning home run by Willie Mays. That in itself made the game suitable for framing. But Marichal and Spahn shaped it into a true historical keepsake. They recorded complete games, with Spahn throwing 201 pitches and Marichal totaling 227.

"I think that was way too many," Marichal said in a telephone interview, still a perfectionist 40 years after his final game.

It's safe to assume that this game never will be duplicated. Pitchers are treated differently than when Marichal and Spahn roamed the earth. Customs are unlikely to revert to that flannel jersey era when starters were expected to complete their assignments. The term 'seven-inning pitcher' was a pejorative one.

"I was my own middle reliever, my own set-up man and my own closer," Spahn said, who completed 382 of his 665 starts.

Posted by at July 4, 2015 8:00 AM
  

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