Magic number: 8. Happy 82th Birthday Tommy Lasorda!
The magic number for the Dodgers is now 8! When I think of #8, I think of John Roseboro.
In 1958 Roseboro became the team’s regular catcher after Roy Campanella was paralyzed in an auto accident. He played on three Dodgers teams that won the World Series and was an All-Star three times with the Dodgers..
But he was known most of all for one of the most shocking incidents in baseball history.
It came during a Dodgers-Giants game at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on Sunday, Aug. 22, 1965.
It started in the top of the third inning. Juan Marichal, who’d surrendered runs in each of the first two innings, knocked down first Maury Wills and then clean-up hitter Ron Fairly with inside pitches. Marichal stepped up to the plate in the home third to pitch Dodgers’ pitcher Sandy Koufax, who didn’t retaliate, so Roseboro took matters into his own hands. Two times on his return throws to Koufax, he deliberately threw the ball close to Marichal’s head.
Marichal turned on Roseboro the second time and struck him on the head with his bat. Marichal struck the catcher three times and opened a gash on his head that required 14 stitches to close. It also naturally ignited a brawl on the field.
Koufax, who otherwise was overwhelming during his eight innings of work in which he yielded only four hits and had eight strikeouts, momentarily lost his composure when play resumed, as he walked Jim Davenport and McCovey with two outs and then, uncharacteristically, hung a curveball to Willie Mays.
The great Giants center fielder would slam it over the left-field fence to give his team a 4-2 edge that would be enough, as the Giants emerged with a 4-3 victory.
But, oh, was it a bittersweet victory for the Giants.
Marichal would be suspended for eight days, meaning he missed two starts in an era when pitchers worked every fourth day.
His absence might have deprived San Francisco of the pennant.
The Dodgers (97-65) wound up winning it by two games over the Giants (95-67).
Today is Tommy’s 82nd Birthday!
May you have many, many more healthy happy years!
CHAT LIVE WITH TOMMY LASORDA
Join Dodgers’ Special Advisor to the Chairman, former manager and all-around team legend Tommy Lasorda in a LIVE web chat today, September 22 at 2:00 p.m. PT on dodgers.com.
Be part of the conversation with Lasorda who celebrates his birthday today along with having his portrait unveiled at the National Gallery in the Smithsonian.