Juan Marichal, left, gives Wilie Mays a playful hug after the Giants – behind Mays home run — beat Warren Spahn and the Braves, 1-0, in 16 innings on July 2, 1963.
Forty-six years ago today, July 2, 1963, Hall of Famers Juan Marichal of San Francisco and Warren Spahn of Milwaukee hooked up in one of the most memorable pitching duels off all time.The two future Hall of Famers battled for nearly 16 scoreless innings before a home run by Willie Mays over the left-field fence won the game, 1-0.
Marichal gave up eight hits and struck out 10; and Spahn allowed nine hits while striking out two batters. Spahn walked just one man in 16 innings, an intentional pass to Mays in the 14th. Marichal gave up four walks.
Each hurler threw more than 200 pitches, heresy in this modern era of pitch counts.
Counting Marichal and Spahn, seven future Hall of Famers played in the game. Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews played for the Braves and Mays,Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda for the Giants. Ironically, Mays homered against Spahn 12 years earlier at New York’s old Polo Grounds for his first major league hit.
A crowd of 15,921 witnessed the classic at chilly Candlestick Park. At one point in extra innings, Giants manager Alvin Dark asked Marichal if he wanted to come out. Marichal looked out at Spahn on the mound and said: “I’m not leaving while that old guy is still on the mound.” Spahn, right, was 42 at the time, enjoying his last great season.
Five days later Marichal matched the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson for six scoreless innings before Stan Musial finally broke his shutout streak with a two-run homer in the seventh. The Giants bullpen gave up three runs in the ninth as St. Louis won, 5-0.
Meanwhile, Spahn pitched a complete game, five-hut shutout in his next turn, beat the Houston Colt 45s, 4-0.
In 1963, Juan Marichal was 25-8 with a 2.41 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Spahn was 23-7 with a 1.88 ERA, And neither pitcher won the Cy Young Award.
That honor went to Los Angeles left-hander Sandy Koufax. who went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and struck out 306 batters. Until 1967 only one Cy Young Award was given; Koufax was also the National League MVP that year.