From July 2, 2008, NY Times
By Richard Sandomir
From the ninth inning on, Juan Marichal pleaded with his manager, Alvin Dark, to stay in the game. Why shouldn’t he keep pitching? Marichal, the San Francisco Giants right-hander with the high leg kick, had held the Milwaukee Braves scoreless. And the Giants had not scored against the ancient left-hander Warren Spahn.
“I begged Mr. Dark to let me stay a few more innings, and he did,” Marichal said of the game 45 years ago Wednesday. “In the 12th or 13th, he wanted to take me out, and I said, ‘Please, please, let me stay.’ Then in the 14th, he said, ‘No more for you,’ and I said, ‘Do you see that man on the mound?’ and I was pointing at Warren. ‘That man is 42, and I’m 25. I’m not ready for you to take me out.’ ”
Marichal said his catcher, Ed Bailey, was telling him: “Don’t let him take you out. Win or lose, this is great.”
Marichal was tired of arguing with Dark — he said he told Willie Mays that he thought Dark was angry at him — but not of pitching as the innings piled up.
“I felt good,” Marichal said Tuesday by telephone from the Dominican Republic. “The weather was nice. It was cool. I was strong.”
Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey said in interviews that a delectable tension was building in the field behind Marichal at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
“They were the types of pitcher who kept you on your toes,” McCovey said.
McCovey nearly ended the game in the ninth with a fly ball he stroked far over the right-field foul pole that was ruled foul by the first-base umpire Chris Pelekoudas.
“It appeared to go out fair and wind up foul,” said Lon Simmons, who called the game for the Giants on radio with Russ Hodges. McCovey said: “I think Chris was admiring it so much that he forgot it was fair. You had to admire it. I hit it pretty good.”
The duel continued, with neither pitcher losing his control or leaving.
“After the 10th, they threw nothing but fastballs,” Cepeda said.
“Maybe,” McCovey said. “But I can’t imagine Juan throwing only fastballs.”
In the 16th, Marichal retired Frank Bolling and Hank Aaron on flyouts. Denis Menke singled to left, but Norm Larker grounded out to end the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, Mays slammed Spahn’s first pitch over the left-field fence. The Giants won, 1-0. The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Spahn as saying that he threw Mays a screwball that “didn’t break worth a damn.”
Marichal told reporters that his back ached. “Oh, she hurts,” he said.
His pitching line: 16 innings, 8 hits, 0 runs, 4 walks and 10 strikeouts.
Spahn’s line: 15 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 1 run, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts.
Even by the standards of pitching in the 1960s, when complete games were common and pitch counts irrelevant, the Marichal-Spahn duel was extraordinary.
“In those days, nothing surprised us, but when you look back, it was amazing,” Cepeda said. “In those days, Juan was pitching 25, 26, 28 complete games every year.”
Marichal and Spahn’s performance nearly duplicated an August 1954 game when Jack Harshman of the Chicago White Sox pitched a 16-inning shutout against the Detroit Tigers. Detroit’s starter, Al Aber, gave up the only run of the game in the 16th.
“Pitchers of the generations up until Marichal had a belief that ‘this game is mine,’ ” said Steve Hirdt, executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau. He added, “The idea of doing permanent harm to a pitcher’s arm didn’t come into anyone’s mind.”
Spahn had previous experience in losing marathon complete games. According to Hirdt, he lost a game to Brooklyn in 1951 with two outs in the 16th, and a year later, after striking out 18 Cubs and hitting a home run, he lost with nobody out in the 16th.
Marichal’s victory in 16 innings that night in 1963 came less than three weeks after he threw a no-hitter against the Houston Colt .45’s that eluded perfection by two walks. A month before that, Marichal had been knocked out in the sixth inning of Sandy Koufax’s second no-hitter.
Whose no-hitter was better? Unhesitatingly, Marichal said: “He got eight runs and I got one. You work harder with one run.”
McCovey said Marichal’s 16-inning victory was more impressive than the no-hitter.
“Oh sure, to go that many innings, it was amazing,” he said, “but what I liked about the no-hitter was I played left field and made the catch that saved it.”
Marichal was not finished with spectacular long games. In 1966, he beat the Phillies, 1-0, in 14 innings, but in 1969 suffered a fate similar to Spahn’s: he lost to the Mets, 1-0, with one out in the 14th, on a home run by Tommie Agee.
“When I close my eyes,” Marichal said, “I can still see the ball, floating in the air, leaving the park.”