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« The Art of the Unproductive Out | Main | The Inter-National Pastime »

July 7, 2005

Iron Men

I am late in marking the anniversary of one of the more remarkable pitching duels in baseball history. I came across mention of this in the July 2005 edition of the Baseball Digest. On July 2, 1963, Juan Marichal and the San Francisco Giants defeated Warren Spahn and the Milwaukee Braves 1-0 in a 16-inning contest at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Marichal pitched the full 16 innings, allowing 8 hits and 4 walks with 10 strikeouts. Spahn went 15 and a third, surrendering 9 hits and only 1 base on balls. The ninth hit that he gave up was a game-winning home run to Willie Mays.

Both teams used only 11 players in the course of the game. Seven future Hall of Famers participated as players on the field: Spahn, Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews for the Braves, Marichal, Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda for the Giants. The cleanup hitter for the Giants on that day was current Giant manager Felipe Alou.

Amazingly enough, this game did nothing to slow down Spahn and Marichal for the rest of the year. Marichal, at age 25, would start a career high 40 games and throw 321.1 innings in 1963. After this July 2 game, he would start 21 times, hurl 10 complete games (he totaled 18 for the season) and pick up 12 of his 25 wins.

Spahn, at age 42 and in the midst of his last great season in a astounding career, would start 15 ballgames after July 2. Of the 15 starts, he would win 12 with 12 complete games. For the season, Spahn registered 23 wins with 22 complete games in 33 starts, including 7 shutouts.

My arms hurt just thinking about it. {Thanks to Retrosheet.org and Baseball-Reference.com for all of the statistical data.)

Posted by Andrew Torres at 8:40 AM

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