Thursday, January 25, 2018

Juan Marichal in My Collection

I've said before, in the late 80s and early 90s, when I was looking for older cards, I mainly wanted Hall-of-Famers.  I didn't have a ton of information, this being pre-internet, so it was hard to tell who the interesting or great players of the past were, other than by letting the various Hall of Fame selectors do the judging for me.  I found Juan Marichal to be one of the more affordable Hall-of-Famers, and was able to get a variety of his cards.
1965 Topps Juan Marichal.
In addition to seeking out players who were just less expensive, another strategy I had was based on condition.  Beat-up cards are cheaper, and I didn't necessarily mind the creases, such as those that you can see clearly in the scan of this 1965 Marichal.  This card was still from early in Marichal's career, and he was off to a great start, having pitched a no-hitter in 1963 on his way to a 25-8 record, and following that up with a 21-8 record with an NL-leading 22 complete games in 1964.

Also notable in 1965 for Marichal is the game in which he beat the Dodgers' catcher, John Roseboro, with a bat.  If you don't know about it, you can find photos here, for instance.
Two 1969 Topps Juan Marichal cards.
I bought two of the 1969 Topps Juan Marichal for some reason; the one on the right is in better condition, but the one on the left has a wax stain or something similar.  In 1968, Marichal complied a 26-8 record, leading the NL in wins and again leading in complete games with 30.
1970 Topps Juan Marichal and 1970 Topps Juan Marichal All-Star.
Marichal was an All-Star consecutively between 1962 and 1969; these eight years meant nine All-Star appearances, since there were two All-Star games in 1962.  He would be an All-Star once more, in 1971.  His career started to stumble around this time, with his 1970 record being 12-10 with a 4.12 ERA. 
1972 Topps Juan Marichal and Juan Marichal In Action.
Marichal bounced back in 1971, but in 1972 was doing poorly again, with a 6-16 record with a 3.71 ERA, and in 1973 he went 11-15 with a 3.82 ERA. 
1974 Topps Traded Juan Marichal.
After those multiple years of poor performance, the Giants sold Marichal's contract to the Red Sox.  He was with Boston only for 1974, pitching in only 11 games, going 5-1 with a 4.87 ERA.  He then signed with the Dodgers, but wasn't too popular with the Dodgers' fans because of that time that he beat the Dodgers' catcher with a baseball bat.  He only pitched two games with the Dodgers in 1975, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA.
Hy-Grade Baseball's All-Time Greats Juan Marichal.
Marichal was elected to the Hall of Fame on the third ballot in 1983.  According to Wikipedia, the reason that it took until the third ballot was that the sportswriters didn't like the fact that he once beat the Dodgers' catcher with a baseball bat.  Roseboro, the catcher, publicly forgave Marichal and made a case for him as a Hall-of-Famer, and the sportswriters relented.

While the majority of my cards represent the declining Marichal of the 1970s, in the 1960s, along with Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax, Marichal was one of baseball's best pitchers.  I wonder if the Roseboro incident -- which I certainly didn't know about as a kid collecting in the late 80s -- is the reason his cards remained so affordable.

Thanks for reading!

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