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THE WEIRDEST RACE ROLLS ON
William Leggett
September 13, 1965
A team loses a game and gains ground, another falls from first place to third as it sleeps. The oddest pennant race in National League history is always exciting but sometimes it gets just a little sloppy
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September 13, 1965

The Weirdest Race Rolls On

A team loses a game and gains ground, another falls from first place to third as it sleeps. The oddest pennant race in National League history is always exciting but sometimes it gets just a little sloppy

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As Marichal came out of the dugout six photographers crouched and popped flashbulbs in his face. When he began to warm up the fans booed him. Of the 17 cities in America where big-league baseball is played 16 have only amateur booers. Philadelphia has the pros. When Marichal's name was announced as the starting pitcher the boos grew louder. As he trotted out to the mound to pitch the people rose in back of the Giant dugout and let him have it. Most of his warmup pitches were high and he dropped the sixth return throw from Catcher Dick Bertell, and the crowd booed him again. But when Marichal began to pitch he was excellent. He threw eight pitches, all in the strike zone, to retire the side.

The second inning was different. Marichal used 38 pitches and gave up three runs. Richie Allen hit a line drive off Marichal's pitching hand, and the Giants made two errors. On a bloop double Willie Mays made an amazing effort to get to the ball, running from center field to short right, not 25 feet from the foul line, but the ball dropped.

When Marichal came back to the dugout after the inning, Mays took him aside and examined his hand. Willie put his arm around the pitcher and shook his shoulder as Marichal bowed his head. Mays patted him a couple of times on his rump and smiled his great smile, and Marichal finally smiled weakly.

Marichal lost, however, and he was certainly not as effective as he normally is. True, he had been out of the pitching rotation for 10 days, but he needed 120 pitches to get through seven innings. In the dressing room after the game he maintained that nothing bothered him except the layoff. He said that the boos were typical of Philadelphia.

Still, no one as yet has seen into that "someplace" where the fingers made the cross, nor can anyone know what effect it all might have on this strangest of pennant races.

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