Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mike Marshall (the 80's Dodger) in the News, a Memorable Brawl from '87

In the news the other day was a report out of the Independent North American Baseball League where the Bay Area’s San Rafael Pacifics have named former Dodger outfielder, Mike Marshall as their Field Manager and Assistant General Manager.  Additionally, Marshall's wife Mary was named as the other Assistant General Manager.  This is the fifth stop for the Marshalls in independent league ball in the minors.  They have previously been in Chico, Yuma, Albany and El Paso.  The irony that Marshall is managing a team in the Bay Area and that his pitching coach is former Giant, Mike LaCoss is a story in itself.  Mike is probably one of the most hated former Dodgers in this region.

It is probably a fair statement to say that Marshall is not even that popular amongst Dodger fans either.  He was a ballplayer that many would label as being “soft.”  A Dodger that asked once to not be put into the lineup because of “general soreness.”  A teammate that Phil Garner brawled with in the batting cage because he refused to leave and go shag fly balls.  Virtually all of his teammates were sick of him, claiming that if Marshall was on the D.L., he’d disappear from the clubhouse well before games ended.
Nicknamed Moose, Marshall was part of the core of youngsters that came up in the early 80’s that were supposed to take over the club and continue the winning tradition that was started by the likes of Cey, Lopes, Russell, Garvey, Yeager, Ferguson, Rhoden, Welch, Buckner and others.   The winner of the hitting Triple Crown at Albuquerque in the PCL in 1981, Marshall also had his moments as a Dodger and was their All Star representative in 1984.  He played a key role to Divison winning clubs in ‘83 and ‘85 and the ’88 championship team, but for the most part he is remembered as a player that never quite lived up to his potential.

Marshall I believe had issues adjusting to the L.A. lifestyle and keeping his focus on the field.  Early in his career he shacked up with GoGos’ lead singer Belinda Carlisle and was known to hit the club scene.  From early on, his arrival to the big leagues wasn’t well received by his veteran teammates who didn't seem to adjust well to the kid with so much potential that many felt wasn't giving his all to the organization. 
In 1982, with the youngsters starting to see some playing time and Lopes already having departed to Oakland, an infield pop-up dropped untouched for a single after Steve Sax failed to call for the ball headed his way.  A livid Ron Cey said nothing but quietly was steaming mad.  The next game, when another pop-up to the mound was called for, this time by Marshall who was playing first, Cey stepped in front of him and bumped him out of the way while making the catch to end the inning.  It was quite apparent that the young guys weren’t welcomed by the old regime.
The newcomers of Sax, Marshall, Brock, Maldonado (traded away following the ’85 season) and Anderson never did take over with any confidence and though the team won division titles in ’83 and ’85,  the new group was perceived by many as inferior to the core that they replaced.  Marshall, paired with Brock was seen as the power of the bunch that underachieved considerably.
But there were moments of glory too.  Marshall in the World Championship year had a fine season and several key pennant stretch hits as the Dodgers made their way to the Division title and eventual N.L. pennant.  He hit a 3-run homer in Game 2 of the World Series against Oakland, a 6-0 Dodger victory.

In 1987, Roger Craig piloted the San Francisco Giants
There was an incident in 1987 that is on highlight reels that address the Dodger-Giant rivalry to this day.  It was April 21, 1987, one of the only times I ever remember Mike Marshall showing any emotion and fire.  Giant Manager Roger Craig walked hot hitting Pedro Guerrero to face Marshall in the 10th inning of a tie game.  It was the second time in this game that Guerrero had been passed in favor of Marshall, and Moose didn't take to kindly to it.  What resulted is seen in this graining youtube video that chronicles some of baseball's top brawls ever recorded.

We see Marshall repeatedly mocking Craig as he points at him in the Giant dugout.   His final gesture at Craig as he crosses is quite graphic and emphatic.  Note how Hershiser, Guerrero, Hatcher and Scioscia look on.  Giant pitcher Scott Garrelts then throws a pitch behind the next hitter, Alex Trevino which results in Pedro Guerrero going bananas.  A 10 minute brawl breaks out with fans behind the Dodger dugout fully engaged.  This was back in the dog days of Candlestick, where fans would attempt to take on the Dodgers time after time.

After this event, Mike Marshall was public enemy number one in Candlestick and to this day, to rev up Giant fans about the rivalry, the Giants play this clip on their Jumbotron often when the Dodgers come to town.  

I'll make an effort to see Marshall's club compete sometime this coming summer.  I know he made the news this past season up in Chico when another brawl broke out up there, between him and former Oakland A Tony Phillips.  Both were suspended by the league for the incident.  I guess the passion continues to exist with Marshall, though we didn't really see it to much while he was a Dodger.

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