Associated Press

What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s Action

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A full slate of night games tonight.

Among the interesting matchups is Sonny Gray for the A’s vs. the BSOHL All-Star Aaron Sanchez. A battle of Jons in Cincinnati, one you’ve heard of, one you probably haven’t. Jonathon Niese is going too. I feel like he used to be a Jon, but the probables list him as “Jonathan.” Another Jon is pitching in Colorado.

Bunch of parents prejudiced against the letter “h” I guess. Well, not Zach Davies’ parents. They went with the “h” instead of the “k” which has become far more prominent. He’s pitching tonight. No Zacks though.

In other name news, this will be the 214th start from the same man named “Gio” without it being interrupted by any other Gios starting. That has to be some kind of record. We have a Jarred going. Tough name. A lot of different ways to spell it. Between that and the Derek/Derrick problems that have plagued the league for a good two decades, it’s almost impossible to write about baseball correctly. My job is really hard you guys.

Anyway:

Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson) @ Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez), 7:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Moore) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Oakland Athletics (Sonny Gray) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez), 7:07 PM EDT, Rogers Centre

Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester) @ Cincinnati Reds (Jon Moscot), Great American Ball Park

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander), 7:10 PM EDT, Comerica Park

New York Mets (Matt Harvey) @ Atlanta Braves (Bud Norris), 7:35 PM EDT, Turner Field

Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright) @ Houston Astros (Collin McHugh), 8:10 PM EDT, Minute Maid Park

Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

Texas Rangers (Martin Perez) @ Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana), 8:10 PM EDT, U.S. Cellular Field

Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo) @ Kansas City Royals (Chris Young), 8:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

Pittsburgh Pirates (Jonathan Niese) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Patrick Corbin), 9:40 PM EDT, Chase Field

Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez) @ Los Angeles Angels (Nick Tropeano), 10:05 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Miami Marlins (Jarred Cosart) @ San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija), 10:15 PM EDT, AT&T Park

Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph: meet Juan Marichal and John Roseboro

Getty Images
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Last night the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns. No one is gonna be talking nearly as much about the outcome today, however, as they are the carnage.

Specifically, the carnage that led to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett getting ejected from the game after ripping Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet off, swinging it at him and connecting with Rudolph’s skull as the game came to a close. Things were already chippy as all get-out, but that obviously led to a brawl which will lead to a ton of suspensions, including a possibly record-breaking one for Garrett. For all your analysis on that, check out PFT, obviously.

The incident will dominate the sports shows today because malicious attempts to injure another player with a piece of equipment are pretty rare in professional sports. There was at least one incident in baseball history, however, that was analogous to what went down in Cleveland last night.

It took place on August 22, 1965 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco during a Dodgers-Giants game. That’s when Giants ace Juan Marichal, playing the role of Garrett, took a baseball bat to the head of Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, standing in for Rudolph.

The Dodgers and Giants are rivals, of course, and in 1965 the two teams were in a pitched battle for the N.L. pennant, with the Dodgers leading San Francisco by a game and a half as the day began.

Pitchers in 1965 were a bit more aggressive about claiming the inside part of the plate than they are today, and on that day, everyone seemed cranky. Marichal knocked Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills down with some chin music in the top of the second for, it appears, committing the terrible transgression of bunting for a single in his first at bat of the game. In response Koufax fired a fastball over Willie Mays’ head, sending the ball to the backstop. So everyone was even, yeah?

Nah. Marichal responded in the top of third with an inside fastball that sent Dodgers first baseman Ron Fairly sprawling to the dirt. At that point home plate umpire Shag Crawford issued a warning, indicating that that the next close pitch from either team would result in an ejection. Walter Alston’s Dodgers, though, were a clever bunch. Sure, maybe a close pitch was going to get an ace ejected in a pennant race, but there are other ways to buzz someone’s tower, right?

Pitchers batted in every game back then, of course, and Marichal came to bat in the bottom of the third. Koufax didn’t throw at him, though. Instead, Roseboro, catching for L.A., threw the ball back to Koufax in such a way as to have it sail close to Marichal’s head as he stood in the batter’s box. He later admitted in his autobiography that it was no accident, he was trying to intimidate Marichal.

Marichal flipped out, clubbing Roseboro with his bat, after which all hell broke loose (all photos, and the original caption from 1965, are from Getty Images):

 

Juan Marichal holding bat, John Roseboro attacked, and Sandy Koufax closes in.

 

Roseboro throws a punch at Marichal while latter swings bat and Koufax comes in to try and break it up.

 

On deck batter Giant Tito Fuentes pulls Roseboro away while Marichal wields bat at Koufax while umpire Shag Crawford and Giant coach Charlie Fox try to break it up.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford wrestles with Marichal while Dodgers Jim Gilliam (19) and Koufax come in. Rear is Giants coach Charlie Fox. Marichal falls to the ground on top of Shag Crawford while Giants Orlando Cepeda joins the melee.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford is shown here wrestling with Marichal as Dodgers Jim Gilliam (#19) and Sandy Koufax join in. In the rear is Giants’ coach Charlie Fox.

 

Identifiable L-R: Dodger Jim Gilliam (19); John Roseboro (with chest protector); Giants Orlando Cepeda (30); Cap Peterson (17); Warren Spahn; and Mgr. Herman Franks (3).

Willie Mays was credited with keeping the brawl from getting worse. Roseboro had military and martial arts training and, as you can see in the second photo, he was not slowed by his head injury — an injury that would require 14 stitches — from trying to take Marichal apart. Mays was the one who ultimately pulled Roseboro away and out of the fracas. He even held a towel to Roseboro’s head which by then had begun to bleed profusely. The fight eventually ended, with several players sustaining injuries due to kicks and accidental spikings of hands and legs and stuff.

The incident delayed the game for 14 minutes but the fallout beyond that was pretty tame compared to today’s standards. Marichal got an eight day suspension which, because of scheduled doubleheaders, caused him to miss ten games. He was also fined $1,750, which is around $15,000 today. Roseboro only missed two games due to his injury. The Dodgers would lose this game thanks to a big homer from Mays off of Koufax, but the Dodgers would go on to win the pennant and defeat the Minnesota Twins in the World Series.

There was additional fallout: Roseboro sued Marichal for $110,000 in damages. They’d eventually settle, with Roseboro receiving $7,500 from Marichal.

But there was no lingering bad blood. In interviews after the incident both players admitted that there was much more on their minds in 1965 that might’ve contributed to their aggression on that day. There was the rivalry, of course, and the pennant race. But Marichal had been much more personally distracted by a civil war in his native Dominican Republic that raged in 1965 and would not end until September. Roseboro had been, understandably, affected by the Watts Riots in Los Angeles which had taken place just over a week before this game. When you feel helpless about situation A, you often channel your feelings into situation B and both men said that something like that was probably simmering.

Marichal would play for the Dodgers for two games in 1975, the final year of his career. Roseboro had already retired, but Marichal’s cup of coffee with L.A. allowed them to meet up at a Dodgers old-timers game in 1982. There they posed for this photo: 

Getty Images

“There were no hard feelings on my part,” Roseboro told the L.A. Times in 1990. Roseboro died in 2002. Marichal was an honorary pallbearer at his funeral.

Let’s check in with Garrett and Ruldolph in 37 years to see how they’re doing.