In Year of Pitcher, Marichal's run still reigns
Dominican Dandy topped Jimenez, Strasburg's impressive feats
SAN FRANCISCO -- Labels of greatness have been attached to pitchers named Ubaldo and Strasburg this season, but as baseball writers assess their rightful place in history, another name continually comes into play: Juan Marichal. Yes, current events have made Marichal relevant again. The Dominican Dandy's greatness resonates louder now than at any time in the 35 years since he threw his final competitive pitch.The 2010 season -- the "Year of the Pitcher" -- has brought renewed attention upon the previous golden era of moundsmen: the 1960s. So it's inevitable that the decade's biggest winner -- not Bob Gibson, not Sandy Koufax, but the legendary Marichal -- again stands tall on a figurative mound, his brilliance evident for all to behold. In that decade, the San Francisco Giants' right-hander with the unforgettable leg kick amassed 191 victories and six 20-win seasons.
Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez recorded a 0.88 ERA after 10 starts earlier this season, becoming the fourth pitcher since ERA became an official statistic in the early 1910s to own a sub-1.00 figure after that many starts. It was last accomplished by Marichal, who posted a 0.59 mark in his first 10 starts of 1966.Washington's Stephen Strasburg prompted awe with his Major League debut against Pittsburgh on June 8, when he struck out 14 and walked none, allowing two runs and four hits over seven innings. A superlative effort? Of course. But not as astounding as Marichal's debut 50 years ago today -- July 19, 1960 at San Francisco's chilly Candlestick Park. That night, Marichal one-hit the Phillies while walking one and striking out 12 in a complete-game, 2-0 triumph. "I was freezing my butt off and watching this kid throw strike one to everybody," said Philadelphia catcher Clay Dalrymple, whose clean pinch-hit single to center field ended Marichal's no-hit bid after 7 2/3 innings.
Pitchers who had a sub-1.00 ERA after 10 starts
|Eddie Cicotte||White Sox||1919||10-0||0.84|
|"To me, before Greg Maddux, Juan Marichal was the surgeon general of pitching."|
-- Former pitcher|
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.