And today, the voters announced the top Latin pitcher of all-time, and the honoree is Juan Marichal.
Marichal won 191 in the 1960s, more than Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and Don Drysdale. He went on to win 243 games, and is probably most well known by baseball laymen for his trademark high leg kick, as pictured below. O, and just to show how big of pansies modern day pitchers are, Marichal pitched 243 complete games and won 25 games in a season three times
He is also known for the Roseboro incident in which he hit opposing catcher John Roseboro in the head with a bat. This incident and the fallout has been mythologized in a play. However, luckily the incident did not define his career in the long term.
Baseball analysts and historians agree, he was the greatest Latin pitcher of all-time. Baseball historian Rob Ruck says, "the greatest right-hander of his era," Ruck said, "at a time when there were great pitchers to be found."
And Marichal's peers and countrymen agree too. According to Indians manager and native Dominican Manny Acta: "he was on top of the list. He was the guy."
Juan was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, and he remains the only Dominican player to have that honor. See his Hall of Fame profile.
He is still beloved by Giants fans and memorialized in a statue in front of the Giant's San Francisco home.
He is from Laguna Verde, DR, and he took a simple approach to the game, perhaps drawn from his life in the Dominican Republic:
I have five pitches. Fast ball, change, curve, slider, screwball. I don't know any hitters. Catcher, he tells me what to do. I can get any pitch I want over the plate.
|Juan Marichal statue in San Francisco, by sporst on Flickr|