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Mike Marshall

July 4, 2000

"There’s a line in a song that says ‘for one moment in time, to be more than you thought you could be.’ I had more success than I ever believed I could have. I did more than I ever thought I could do just by getting there."

Dr. Mike Marshall never expected to pitch 14 years of major league baseball. But pitch he did. And pitch, and pitch, and pitch. After starting out as a shortstop in the Philadelphia organization, while simultaneously racking up wins in the academic world of Kinesiology, Marshall made his mark as a closer with the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 1974, Marshall set major league single season records for innings pitched by a closing relief pitcher (208), games pitched by a relief pitcher (106), consecutive appearances by a pitcher (13, since broken), and games finished (84), leading the Dodgers to their first pennant in eight years, winning a Cy Young Award in the process.

In a fascinating conversation, Marshall recalled as one career highlight, pitching 11 2/3 innings of closing relief for the Expos in a late season doubleheader sweep by the Mets in ‘73, with his team still very much in contention.

He also mentioned warning A’s "designated pinch runner" Herb Washington in spring training that he would pick him off when the opportunity arose. It did, and he did, in a memorable confrontation in Game Two of the '74 World Series.

Marshall received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University while still an active player in 1978, authoring a dissertation titled "A Comparison of an Estimate of Skeletal Age With Chronological Age When Classifying Adolescent Males for Motor Proficiency Norms."

He worked as a physical education professor and as a head baseball coach for years after his retirement from the game, at places like the University of Tampa, Saint Leo College, Henderson State University, and West Texas A&M University, and has coached young pitchers privately at his home in Zepherhills, Florida. Recent pupils include D’backs’ LHP Jeff Kubenka and Devil Rays’ RHP Jeff Sparks.

As you might expect, Mike Marshall, Ph.D was still trotting it out there himself until just last year, starting and closing his own games, on a team that won five straight crowns in the Over-50 Roy Hobbs Championships, in Ft. Myers.

His books, "Coaching Adolescent Pitchers" and "Coaching Adult Pitchers," are available to "anyone interested in reading a free book on coaching" at www.drmikemarshall.com. "I don’t want to die with the knowledge I have. I’m trying to share it with the world."

Howard Cole


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