Sunday, August 4, 2013

" can also hurt somebody with a ball"

These are the words Juan Marichal uttered in 2009 to Bob Costas about his 1965 incident involving a bat and Johnny Roseboro's head.  Marichal's defense has always been that tensions were running high and Roseboro had attempted to hit him with a ball in the back of the head.  Those tensions were always present in the Dodgers/Giants rivalry.  In another flare up, coincidentally involving Marichal again, the Dodgers and Giants began a beanball war that erupted into a benches clearing junior-high dance late in the 1971 season.  We have a great clip of this thanks to KTTV.  More after the jump.

This video comes from a KTTV highlight package on the Giants-Dodgers rivalry.  The date of this fracas was September 13, 1971.  This game bore great importance for both squads, as an underachieving Dodgers squad and a staggering Giants squad found themselves going head-to-head in a 2 game series in which they were separated by only 3 games for the NL West crown.

That man in excruciating pain is Willie Mays.  Now 40 and less 'Kid', Mays was in his final full season with the Giants.  He still was able to post a OPS+ of 158 and managed to lead the league in OBP on the back of a career high in walks.  Unfortunately, he also had a career (and league) high in strikeouts that season.  As for this night, Mays finds himself on the ground in the first inning thanks to a Bill Singer fastball that drills him in the arm/hip/ribs.  This wouldn't be the last bit of pain Mays feels that evening.

Thanks to the great Sports Illustrated Vault, we get a in-depth write up of the events of this evening.  We also get little informational nuggets, such as, coming into this game in 1971, Juan Marichal was 25-1 all-time vs the Dodgers at Candlestick Park.  That one loss had come in an 11-inning affair.  Dominant. 

At the beginning of the clip involving the Bill Singer at-bat, we get broadcast audio of Vin Scully's longtime partner, Jerry Doggett.  Doggett calls all the action during the incident. 

Marichal would 'buzz the tower' on his opposite number, Bill Singer, with two pitches at his head.  The second of those would draw a warning from umpire Shag Crawford.  Crawford was also on hand for the Roseboro-Marichal incident in 1965, calling the game from behind homeplate that day.  He had to be thinking, "Oh, here we go again!" and he was right.

After a Maury Wills flyout, the following batter finally felt the brunt of the beanball Marichal tried to deliver to the two previous hitters.  Unfortunately for him, this time the ball did not 'get through Buckner', and young Bill Buckner wore it in the ribs. Buckner charged the mound, bat in hand.  He, however, never reached Marichal as he was in too much pain to even swing the bat at him.

The footage, in total, lasts about 1 minute and covers the Mays hit-by-pitch, the 2nd near-miss towards Singer, Buckner getting drilled and the resulting tussle.  

In a completely rational reaction, Marichal begins to make a choking motion at Crawford for ejecting him following the warning.  Marichal carries on with this for about 15 seconds before exiting the field.  His emotions, however, rile up Giants outfielder Jerry Johnson.  Which leads to the only punches thrown in the whole altercation.

Johnson, making the same choking motions towards Crawford, is also ejected.  Flying off the handle, he storms the field.  Trying to stop him, Willie Mays jumps between he and the umpire.  At this point, someone from the pile of about 5 Giants trying to restrain Johnson, drills Mays in the head, knocking him to the ground.  Mays gathers himself and tackles Johnson by the legs to restrain him.

This is all color videotape, which is great to see from 1971.  This is the oldest KTTV footage (with audio) I can remember seeing, outside of the two innings that survive in kinescope form from May 1972. 


  1. Where can I view this footage?


  2. I remember that game. The atmosphere was electric. Bonds hit a HR in the 7th and clenched his fist in the air. I wonder if KTTV has the whole game on tape. I would love to see the full game all over again some 42 years later !

  3. BTW, I just have a question for you. If KTTV has this footage does it necessairly mean they still have the whole game on tape ?

    1. No, I wouldn't say it does. Being part of a clip roll, they could have just spliced these important segments down in 1971 to re-use in instances like they did here.

      I would think if this game existed in full, over the years MLB would have highlighted it in a broadcast at some point.

  4. MLB might not even know about the telecast as it may just be in the archives of KTTV I would think.

  5. Part of this clip (with Jerry Doggett's call) was featured on a 1972 episode of Sports Challenge. Host Dick Enberg asked panelist Maury Wills where he was during the brawl, to which Wills sensibly replied "In the dugout". -- twib77

  6. Hi, twib77 again. The Buckner footage, with brighter sharper videotape imagery, can be seen here:

  7. I remember this one better than most Dodger games. I was listening (& tape recording) the radio. Vin had this inning and I remember from that tape:
    Fifth inning: “It all started in the first, when Bill Singer knocked over a statue: he hit Willie Mays. In the third Marechal hit Bill Buckner…”
    “…Johnson came out the way Sudakis came out and soon there were 5 Giants sitting on Jerry Johnson of the Giants to stop him from making the biggest mistake of his career (hitting ump Shag Crawford)…