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1963: 'Dominican Dandy' enjoys a breakthrough year

Despite being a dominant pitcher throughout the '60s, Juan Marichal never won the Cy Young Award.

On June 15, Juan Marichal etched his name in the history books by pitching the only no-hitter of his career. Not only was he the first player to spin a no-no in San Francisco, the "Dominican Dandy" was the first Latin player to do so in the Major Leagues.

It had been more than 34 years since the last Giants no-hitter when Marichal took the mound against the Houston Colt .45s that day. He had already established himself as capable of pitching gems; his debut three years earlier had been a one-hit, 12-strikeout shutout.

Marichal needed only 89 pitches to finish off Houston, but his teammates were finding it equally difficult to break through on the scoreboard. The game was scoreless into the eighth inning, when Jim Davenport and Chuck Hiller provided the game's lone run with a pair of doubles.

The 1-0 victory was but one highlight of a stellar season for Marichal, who finished with a record of 25-8, a 2.41 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Two weeks after his no-hitter, he would engage in -- and win -- an epic 16-inning pitching duel with the Milwaukee Braves' Warren Spahn.

You couldn't ask for a better faceoff than the one in which Marichal and Spahn battled on July 2 at Candlestick Park. The two All-Star hurlers dazzled 15,921 fans with their fine display of pitching prowess. They matched each other pitch for pitch for 16 scoreless innings, neither one conceding to a reliever.

The standoff was just another example of the amazing arms these two pitchers had. Marichal entered the game with an eight-game win streak and a 12-3 record. He had thrown a no-hitter the previous month. Meanwhile, Spahn, who was then 42 years old, showed no signs of old age; he entered the game with an 11-3 record and five straight victories.

Inning after inning, the two great pitchers dominated each other's lineup. After nine innings, Milwaukee manager Bobby Bragen asked Spahn to come out of the game. Spahn refused. On the other side of the field, Giants manager Alvin Dark also suggested that Marichal give way to the bullpen. Marichal, too, refused.

"A 42-year-old man is still pitching," the 25-year-old Marichal reportedly told Dark. "I can't come out."

As the innings went by, "you couldn't help but get into the game. ... We knew that this was something special," said first baseman Orlando Cepeda, who went 2-for-6 that night. "I'll never forget that game."

The long, cold night game finally came to an end five hours later at 12:31 a.m. when slugger Willie Mays broke up the shutout with a one-out, solo home run in the bottom of the 16th inning.

"It was a long night; we were glad to go home," Cepeda said.

In the end, both pitchers posted stellar numbers: Marichal tossed 16 innings, gave up eight hits and four walks and fanned 11; Spahn surrendered nine hits and one walk and struck out two. Unfortunately for Spahn, that ninth hit was the one that handed the game to the Giants.

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