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Archive for Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Former Dodger Roseboro dies

Catcher best remembered as player Marichal clubbed over the head with bat in 1965

August 20, 2002

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— Former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, forever remembered as the player Juan Marichal clubbed over the head with a bat during a game in 1965, died at 69.

Roseboro died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said publicist Carole Wade.

San Francisco pitcher Juan Marichal (27) swings a bat at Dodgers
catcher John Roseboro as Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, right, tries
to break up the fight. The melee which started when Marichal
apparently felt Roseboro had returned a pitch too close to
Marichal's head came in the third inning of the game on Aug. 22,
1965, in San Francisco.

San Francisco pitcher Juan Marichal (27) swings a bat at Dodgers catcher John Roseboro as Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, right, tries to break up the fight. The melee which started when Marichal apparently felt Roseboro had returned a pitch too close to Marichal's head came in the third inning of the game on Aug. 22, 1965, in San Francisco.

The cause of death was not specified. Wade said that Roseboro's reported medical problems recently included heart trouble, prostate cancer and strokes.

Roseboro, who succeeded Roy Campanella as the Dodgers' full-time catcher, played for Los Angeles from 1957-67 and was a four-time All-Star. He was the starting catcher in the 1959, 1963, 1965 and 1966 World Series, with the Dodgers winning the championship the first three times.

Still, Roseboro will always be known for the attack on Aug. 22, 1965, at Candlestick Park.

Marichal contended Roseboro returned a pitch close to his head while he was batting. The future Hall of Fame pitcher hit Roseboro over the head twice, opening a 2-inch gash that sent blood flowing down the catcher's face.

The Giants and Dodgers, already heated rivals battling for the NL pennant, got into a brawl that lasted 14 minutes.

NL president Warren Giles suspended Marichal for eight games and fined him $1,750. He also forbid Marichal from traveling to Los Angeles for the final Giants-Dodgers series of the season.

Roseboro said he did nothing to provoke Marichal and later sued him for $110,000 in damages.

After years of bitterness, they became friends in the 1980s, getting together occasionally at old-timers' games or golf tournaments.

"Our friendship is very good," Marichal said on the 25th anniversary of the beating.

A left-handed hitter, Roseboro had a lifetime batting average of .249 in 14 seasons with the Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators. He was a member of the National League All-Star team in 1958, 1961 and 1962 and the American League All-Star team in 1969.

After completing his playing career with Washington in 1970, he coached for the Senators in 1971 and for the then-California Angels from 1972-74. He served as a minor league batting instructor for the Dodgers in 1977-78, and then briefly returned as a minor league catching instructor in 1987.

Roseboro and his wife, Barbara Fouch Roseboro, also owned a Beverly Hills public relations firm.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Morgan.

Plans for a memorial service were pending.

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