On August 22, 1965, After Juan Marichal had knocked down Maury Wills and Ron Fairly in the top of the third, John Roseboro signaled for Sandy Koufax to retaliate in the bottom of the inning. It didn’t work. “Koufax was constitutionally incapable of throwing at anyone’s head,” Roseboro wrote in his 1978 autobiography, “so I decided to take matters into my own hands.” Roseboro was throwing the ball too close to his head while returning throws to Koufax.

Marichal complains to the umpire about the throws and then the two square off, that is when MArichal hits Roseboro over the head with a bat.

Marichal was suspended for eight games and fined $1,750. Roseboro filed a lawsuit, asking for $110,000 in damages, but settled for about $7,000. He reportedly needed 14 stitches to close the wound on his head. It truly was one of the ugliest events in baseball history.

For many the story ends there – In a SF Chronicle article Barbra Roseboro his widow said, In restaurants, over the phone with clients, at the hospital where he lay dying, John Roseboro couldn’t escape the questions. “People would come up to us at dinner and say, ‘Please tell us about the fight with Marichal,’” the catcher’s widow said recently from her office in Beverly Hills. “He would always accept his responsibility for that incident. He’d say: ‘I provoked it. I threw that ball too close to Juan’s ear.’”

It was however Roseboro who helped Marichal transition into Dodger blue in 1975, they made peace at an old timers game in the 1970’s and Roseboro wife’s PR firm helped Marichal cross the line to get into Cooperstown when they felt the legacy of the fight was hurting him after missing for a second time.

Roseboro’s widow speaks almost as fondly of Marichal. “After my husband passed away, Juan would call to check up on me and my daughter every six months or so,” she said.


Own a part of baseball history by supporting This Day In Baseball


Baseball Reference Bullpen 

Retro Sheet 

National Pastime

Replay the Game