A Picture And A Story: Talking To John Rosengren About Juan Marichal, John Roseboro and "The Fight Of Their Lives"

In 1965, Juan Marichal attacked John Roseboro with a baseball bat at Candlestick Park. The photo is iconic, and still horrifying. The story behind it is less well-known.
Share |


Nearly half a century after Juan Marichal pummeled John Roseboro over the head with a baseball bat at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the photograph of the incident still resonates. It could hardly be otherwise: this is, after all, a Hall of Famer perpetrating a felony assault on an opponent, at home plate. It remains one of the most disturbing images in the history of the national pastime, if not in all of modern sports.

Author John Rosengren's new book, The Fight of Their Lives: How Juan Marichal and John Roseboro Turned Baseball's Ugliest Brawl into a Story of Forgiveness and Redemption(Lyons Press), tells the story behind the Marichal-Roseboro contretemps in August of 1965. He explains why this was not a random act of violence on Marichal's part and also why this was not some "Giants-Dodgers rivalry thing." Most surprisingly, given the brutality of the original photograph, Rosengren shows how both ballplayers were able to find peace.

Rosengren is the author of Blades of Glory: The True Story of a Young Team Bred to Win; Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid: The Year that Changed Baseball Forever, and, most recently, Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes. I caught up with John for an email exchange about his latest work.

What was it about this topic that made you decide to write this book?

I'm always attracted to stories with a cultural dimension. This one had it in both characters, with Marichal being a dark-skinned Latino and Roseboro an African-American playing during a racially charged time. The kicker for me, though—what made me believe I had to write this book—was how these two men turned a violent moment that would forever define them into an occasion of redemption.

Most people think of the Roseboro-Marichal brawl as a baseball thing—the Dodgers-Giants rivalry writ large. You make clear that Marichal was worried about the civil war happening in his homeland of the Dominican Republic while Roseboro was witness to the Watts Riots in L.A. that very summer. How did those events affect what happened at Candlestick Park?

During that "summer of fury," social tensions impacted both men personally. Marichal was literally worried sick over his family's safety back home while he watched on television the bloody war being fought in the streets of Santo Domingo. He also had a terrible sinus infection, and his teammate Willie Mays said Marichal was so distraught he shouldn't be pitching. Roseboro, a black man living in South Central LA, had just experienced the Watts Riots the week before. He and his teammates watched the buildings burn from Dodgers Stadium—they could see the smoke—and Roseboro wondered how they could still be playing baseball when this was happening. One night, the demonstrators planned to march down the street that ran in front of his house so Roseboro stayed up on the stoop with a loaded gun to protect his home and family. Both men were on edge and, as often happens, those social tensions spilled out onto the field.

Marichal was suspended for eight games and fined $1,750 for his actions. Was the punishment fair? If something like this happened today, what do you think the penalty would be?

Though it doesn't seem like much to us now, that was the largest fine ever levied by the National League or American League at the time. It seemed like a lot to Marichal, who was making $60,000 that year. The suspension may very well have cost the Giants the pennant.  In retrospect, that seems harsh. On the other hand, it seemed like nothing to those who thought Marichal should be banned from baseball. I actually think Warren Giles, the N.L. president who levied the punishment, was fair with the consequence he imposed. If this happened today, I think Marichal would be crucified on social media, the commissioner would get involved, and the penalty would be delayed by litigation. The aftermath would be much uglier.

Do you think the fight overshadowed Marichal's career and prevented him from making the Hall of Fame earlier than he did?

Absolutely. He had the numbers to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He won more games during the Sixties than Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. Yet in Marichal's first year of eligibility, he received only 233 votes to 337 for Gibson (also in his first year of eligibility), the only player elected that year. No way Gibson was a better pitcher by 104 votes. He said so himself. The only explanation is that the BBWAA [Baseball Writers' Association of America] members held the Roseboro incident against Marichal. It happened again the next year, with Marichal again falling short of induction.

Roseboro died in 2002. If you had had the chance to interview him, what questions would you have asked him?

I would have loved to have talked to Roseboro. I would have asked him about how his role in the fight—and keeping quiet about it for so long—weighed upon him. I also would like to have asked him about his aspirations to manage and how that dream got thwarted because he was a black man. And since I grew up in Minnesota, I would ask him about his years (1968-69) with the Twins.

How long did it take for Marichal and Roseboro find some peace and/or closure about this?

Seventeen years from the time of their fight to the time that Marichal called up Roseboro and asked his help in letting the BBWAA members know that they shouldn't let the incident eclipse his career and keep him out of the Hall of Fame. Roseboro went to the Dominican to play in Marichal's celebrity golf tournament. During that week, the two men realized they enjoyed one another, and it became the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

How would you characterize Willie Mays' role in this incident? Did you interview him for the book?

Mays initially helped pull Roseboro from the fray during the brawl. He has been widely recognized as a peacemaker in the event, and rightly so. I did not interview him. I had spoken to him several years ago and found then that his memory was failing. I didn't want to disturb him. I felt like I was able to get the information I needed elsewhere.

What most surprised you as you researched and wrote about this and what is the biggest misconception people have about this incident over the years?

I think I was most impressed by the dignity of these two ballplayers and how they were able to overcome a moment of passion in their past. Probably the largest misconception people who have seen the iconic photo of Marichal with his bat raised over Roseboro's head is that Marichal was the villain and Roseboro the victim. Both men played an equal part in the incident. Roseboro himself admitted he provoked it.

How did the photo shape the public's perception of the incident?

The photo cast Juan as the villain, John as the victim. It did not tell the whole story. But for many, that was their only image of the incident, and it stuck.

Share |


An obligation of appreciation is all together for such an unprecedented post and the review, I am totally propelled! Keep stuff like this coming. Vocational School Financing

An obligation of appreciation is all together for such an unprecedented post and the review, I am totally propelled! Keep stuff like this coming. buy a house in Lekki

I need to seek destinations with important data on given point and give them to educator our feeling and the article. house for sale in Abuja

Nicest information!!! I'll be enchanted to greatly help due to what I've learnt from here. tape in extensions on short hair

Great blog. I delighted in perusing your articles. This is really an awesome perused for me. I have bookmarked it and I am anticipating perusing new articles. Keep doing awesome! Pinoy Movies

This is a great post I seen because of offer it. It is truly what I needed to see seek in future you will proceed after sharing such a magnificent post. voyance telephone

Friv 5 is a free online games community. Play from Friv5 hand picked to entertain friv 5 games & juegos Friv 5!

Riverfront Residences Project Details. Price List, Address Showflat and Showroom location Hougang Avenue 7. Developer Oxley-Lian Beng riverfront residences price list

Incredible tips and straightforward. This will be exceptionally helpful for me when I get an opportunity to begin my blog. cool socks for men

Exceptionally useful post ! There is a considerable measure of data here that can enable any business to begin with a fruitful long range informal communication campaign ! seo services

A onesie is one article of clothing; a one-piece garment that has sleeves and legs covering the entire body. This term is usually used to denote sleepwear or loungewear for all ages, essentially catering to babies and adults alike. The most common substance used to make these are cotton, chenille (cloth made from the fur of this caterpillar), or fleece. unicorn onesie

You really influence it to look so natural with your execution however I observe this issue to be really something which I figure I could never appreciate. It appears to be excessively convoluted and amazingly wide for me. I'm searching forward for your next post, I'll endeavor to get its hang! recommend ias books

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job ! Samsung Note 9 cases

Zoekt u merken van de beste zonnepanelen? Uw zonne-energie specialist Soloya werkt alleen maar met de grootste spelers op de markt en dus ook de beste zonnepanelen! Beste zonnepanelen

Prijs zonnepanelen in 2018 - kostprijs zonnepanelen installatie? Soloya zonnepanelen verdient u terug in 6 jaar. Hier steeds de beste zonnepanelen prijs! Prijs zonnepanelen

Installateur hernieuwbare energie zoals zonnepanelen, zonneboilers, warmtepompen, airco of airconditioning? Kies net zoals 2500 klanten voor expert Soloya. Zonnepanelen installateur

SEO en zoekmachine optimalisatie. U bent gegarandeerd vindbaar voor potentiële nieuwe klanten met Sempris webdesign, SEO en zoekmachine optimalisatie! SEO

Een warmtepomp vormt een voordelig en duurzaam alternatief voor de traditionele centrale verwarming. Wilt u ook energiezuinig en ecologisch verwarmen met een lucht/lucht, lucht/water of hybride warmtepomp? Vertrouw dan op warmtepomp installateur Soloya voor een correcte uitvoering van alle soorten warmtepompen. Warmtepomp

Zonnepanelen kopen? In 2018 de populairste manier om duurzame energie te produceren. Zonnepanelen installateur Soloya plaatst uw zonnepanelen. Zonnepanelen

Acknowledges for penmanship such a worthy column, I stumbled beside your blog besides predict a handful advise. I want your tone of manuscript... build on your lot

Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written. TREADMILLS

During this website, you will see this shape, i highly recommend you learn this review. payroll process

Experience has proven to us that listening to our sellers' feedback is the best opportunity we have to consistently improve our product. That's why we've developed various tools over the years to make online selling easy. Our business relies on making successful sellers, so it's not a coincidence that the tools we offer can be customized to fit our sellers' needs. Fashion Jewelry

it's to a remarkable degree cool blog. Interfacing is unbelievably beneficial thing.you have genuinely had any kind of effect Good Backlink Checklist

I am awed by the data that you have on this blog. It shows how well you value this subject. интернет магазин книг

I simply want to tell you that I am new to weblog and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have wonderful stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog. autocaravanas usadas 

I am truly getting a charge out of perusing your elegantly composed articles. It would seem that you spend a considerable measure of exertion and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am anticipating perusing new articles. Keep doing awesome. buy cheap youtube subscribers

stunning, glorious, I was thinking about how to cure skin disturbance routinely. likewise, discovered your site by google, took in a ton, now i'm to some degree clear. I've bookmark your site and also join rss. keep us resuscitated. Dht blocking conditioner 

Zwembad op maat, en samengesteld volgens uw smaak en budget? Zwembaden op maat van Le Bain D'or horen thuis in iedere tuin. Ontdek de mooiste zwembaden! Zwembaden Le Bain D\'or | Luxe Zwembaden op Maat

Erotische massage. Massagesalon te Limburg gezocht? Ontdek hoe erotisch massagesalon Luxenza je volledig ontspant met erotische massages in Limburg. Erotische massage - Erotisch massagesalon Limburg

Een airco of airconditioning installatie is in 2018 uitermate geschikt als koeling en verwarming van de woning. Airco installateur Soloya plaatst airconditioning van de merken Daikin, Panasonic en Mitsubishi. Airco | Airconditioning | Airco Installateur Airco Installatie in 2018

Wordpress webdesign of Wordpress website laten bouwen? Als Wordpress webdsigner bouwen we dagelijks websites met maatwerk. Ook voor het perfectioneren van bestaande websites en webshops kunt u rekenen op nr. 1 webdesigner voor Wordpress webdesign! Wordpress Webdesign | Wordpress Website

Webdesign en online marketing. Heeft u sterke groeiambities? Webdesign bureau Sempris doet uw bedrijf groeien met Wordpress webdesign en Drupal webdesign. Webdesign | Webdesign en Online Marketing | Webdesign bureau

Exceptionally marvelous!!! When I look for this I discovered this site at the highest point of all websites in web crawler. voyance par telephone

Shocking learning and I seize the opportunity to bestow this kind of information to my mates and desire they like it they why I do.. voyance telephone

On my website you'll see similar texts, write what you think. Ristoranti a Bologna

Bang Juice verwendet nur Hochwertige und Aromen, um ein einzigartiges Geschmackserlebnis für die bangjuice Aromen zu garantieren. Durch das durch bangjuice Aroma speziell entwickelte reifeverfahren, halten die Aromen die höchsten Standards ein. Die Bang Juice Aromen werden in Deutschland unter strengsten Überwachungen Produziert & angemischt.

Ray-Ban RB3647N ROUND DOUBLE BRIDGE Unisex Sunglasses. Ray Ban Frames

Stunning learning and I get a kick out of the chance to give this sort of data to my sidekicks and want they like it they why I do free dating sites

One of the first questions people tend to ask when considering orthodontic treatment or braces is:

The good news is that most individuals are pleasantly surprised when they find out how affordable we make orthodontic treatment. As the Family Orthodontic Team of Longview, our goal is to provide all of East Texas with exceptional and affordable treatment that fits anyone’s budget. We are your longview orthodontist and whether you are just down the road in Kilgore, Marshall or Gilmer or even Henderson, Carthage, Tyler, or Mount Pleasant:

We allow YOU to set your monthly payment plan for braces or invisalign!
Low down payments are ALWAYS an option!
We accept ALL dental and orthodontic insurance plans, including Aetna, Ameritas, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Carington, Cigna, Delta Dental, Dentamax, GEHA, Guardian, Humana, Lincoln Financial, Metlife, Principal, United Concordia, and many more!
We are also IN NETWORK with most dental insurances as well!
Orthodontic treatment can be paid for with flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, credit card payments, or bank drafts ... whichever works best for you and your family!
Once Dr. Mack or Dr. Hansen have given you their treatment recommendation for you or your child during your no-charge New Patient Exam, our treatment coordinator Makenzi will discuss the treatment fee and all the features it includes. We never want finances to be an obstacle to obtaining the beautiful smile and comfortable bite you deserve so we are committed to making treatment work for you and your family.

Professional web development services and Affordable Web Design Services for small businesses. We create innovative solutions built to your specifications.

London gutter clean offer all London residents with a affordable guttering service, from cleaning, repair to full replacement our fully insured and trained staff can help. gutter cleaning west London

Well, this got me thinking what other workouts are good for those of us who find ourselves on the road or have limited equipment options. Insurance Agent Bay Area

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work. I have been meaning to write something like this on my website and you have given me an idea. 123freemovies

We are focused on delivering real and impactful news to a Foreign and Thai Audience focusing on Pattaya, Thailand in Southeast Asia and eventually expanding to the Bangkok and larger Thailand markets. Pattaya news

Hard tonneau covers evidently are known as the best types of the truck bed covers away there. Such covers usually come with the strong materials which fit many trucks and the understructure sizes, therefore finding one is quite simple. Here is the closer look to the most notable 10 best hard truck tonneau cover in 2018 Reviews that are present in the market. Shower Panels

Furniture Limassol (Cyprus) by homedeco.com.cy offers a wide selection of luxury furniture. In our shops we introduce to our customers a stunning world of interior design. Home & Deco interiors are aimed at personalities who have a passion for luxurious furniture; its form, its touch and its spirit. We are always looking for innovative, cutting edge solutions that combine style and taste. In our shops we have a great selection of furniture from various periods, styles and international influences. Our mission is to offer stylish and long-lasting concepts for contemporary living in combination with exceptional service. We introduce furniture & accessories that are tempting today and timeless tomorrow. Furniture Limassol

We also supply our fantastic range of quality toys to every part of the United Kingdom as well in our shop. childrens toys

What about making more on this theme soon? I truly delighted in it and thought that it was useful. vencorex aliphatic

At whatever point I read a blog, I assume that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. In other words, I know it was my choice to examine, yet I truly thought you have something captivating to state. All I hear is a pack of whining about something that you could settle in case you werent unreasonably clamoring hunting down thought. unicorn kids ride