In a decade that featured such legendary hurlers as Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, and other Hall of Famers, no pitcher won more games than Juan Marichal in the 1960s. His unique, high-kick pitching style was imitated by kids from New York to San Francisco to Santo Domingo, and it is immortalized in a bronze statue outside of the Giants’ current ballpark. Marichal was the first Dominican-born player to play in an All-Star Game and the first elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he won more games than any of his countrymen. And while Dominican and other Latino players have come to dominate many aspects of baseball in recent years, Marichal was a trailblazer in his day, entering the league at a time when Latin American players were routinely discriminated against, underpaid, and presented with numerous obstacles on their journey to the big leagues.In Juan Marichal, Marichal tells the story of his rise from living on a rural farm as a young boy in the Dominican Republic to his status as one of the great pitchers of all time. Along the way, he was enlisted by the son of the country’s dictator to play for the national team, was threatened at gunpoint to throw a game during a tournament in Mexico, fought homesickness as a minor leaguer in rural Indiana, and went head-to-head with some of the greatest pitchers and hitters the game has ever seen.For the first time, Marichal gives his perspective on life as a Latino ballplayer in the 1960s, describes the highs and lows of a 16-year major league career, and explores what the recent influx of Dominicans in the majors has meant to baseball and to his home country. He offers reflections on lingering stereotypes, the impact of steroids, and the general state of the game in the 21st century.
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About the Author
Juan Marichal is a Hall of Fame pitcher who spent 16 years in the major leagues. He has covered baseball on Spanish-language radio for both the major leagues and Caribbean leagues. He lives in the Dominican Republic.Lew Freedman is a veteran sportswriter who has won more than 250 journalism awards. He is also the author of 44 books, including an autobiography of Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins and several books on baseball history.
What People are Saying About This
Major league baseball in the 1960s was dominated by pitching. Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Bob Gibson may be the names that come to mind most easily, but Hall of Famer Juan Marichal also belongs on that list. No pitcher won more games in the decade than Marichal did for the San Francisco Giants. He was one of the first big leaguers from the Dominican Republic, and in his life after baseball he has been instrumental in his country becoming a hotbed for major league prospects and players. In this as-told-to autobiography, Marichal recounts his youth in the rural countryside, his experience playing for the Dominican Air Force team, and his brief journey through the minor leagues to the Giants. There are dozens of anecdotes about his major-league years and the rivalries he had with the other great pitchers of the era. He also discusses his post-baseball life as a scout and later as a key government promoter of the Dominican’s sports program. Overall, an intelligent sports memoir that will appeal particularly to fans who remember Marichal on the mound.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Marichal's kindness and humulity shine through in this very human tale. From very humble beginnings he rose to be a world class athlete. He negotiated the two worlds of his beloved homeland, DR, and the America of 1960's with it's glamour and harsh racism. The honest portrayal of the Roseboro fight puts to rest some biased misinterpretations. This is not a self-serving account. Overall, the blemish of this book is Marichal's folksy storytelling which, while charming, is mildly repetitive and distracting. The telling lacks a bit of the depth that the story calls for. This life is worth a more vivid telling.