Jaffe: 50th anniversary of Marichal-Spahn duel

From SABR member Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times on July 2, 2013:

Fifty years ago today, one of the greatest and most famous pitching duels in all baseball history took place, a marathon match up featuring Hall of Fame studs Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves and Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants. It was a 16-inning game with both hurlers going the distance. And why not? Not a single runner crossed the plate until the bottom of the 16th.

This is exactly what you’d want in an all-time great pitchers’ duel. Not only was it a never-ending double shutout, it featured two clearly deserving Hall of Fame pitchers.

At the time, it wasn’t obvious that both men would make it into Cooperstown. Well, it was clear that Spahn would. He entered this game with a career record of 338-212. That’s the most wins by any pitcher of his generation. It’s the most by anyone since Pete Alexander. Yeah, he was Cooperstown-bound.

Not only that, but Spahn was also an ageless wonder of the world. He was 42 years old and showing no signs of slowing down. Sure, in 1962 he won “only” 18 games, breaking up a streak of six straight 20-win seasons, but so far 1963 was proving to be one of Spahn’s best seasons ever. He was 11-2 with an ERA just a little over 3.00. He had a five-game winning streak going for him and hadn’t allowed a run in 12 innings.

While Spahn’s place in baseball lore already was firmly established, Dominican Dandy Juan Marichal still was proving himself. In July, 1960, he made his big league debut in historic fashion, fanning 12 in a complete-game one-hitter against the Phillies. That proved he had the talent, but Marichal still needed to develop a bit.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/50th-anniversary-the-marichal-spahn-duel/

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Originally published: July 2, 2013. Last Updated: July 2, 2013.