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August 31, 2009
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August 31, 2009

The Vault

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Every SI Story ... Every SI Photo ... Ever SI.COM/VAULT

EXCERPT | Aug. 30, 1965

Bad Blood

A bitter rivalry got out of hand down the stretch

A pennant-race showdown between the Dodgers and the Giants exploded into one of the worst brawls in baseball history, as Jack Mann reported.

There was blood on the pile of dirty towels inside the door of the Los Angeles Dodgers' dressing room in San Francisco's Candlestick Park, and there was blood in the Dodgers' eyes. The important four-game series with the Giants had been split, and so had catcher John Roseboro's head. Giants pitcher Juan Marichal, swinging his bat like a headsman's ax, had opened a two-inch gash and raised a swelling the size of a slice of cantaloupe on the left side of Roseboro's head. In so doing, he inspired the most spirited rumble the national pastime has seen in at least a generation.

"I've never seen one human being attack another with a club," said mild-mannered Wally Moon, who offered to take on Orlando Cepeda in the 60-man melee that followed the clubbing.

With Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers leading 2--1, Marichal had batted first for the Giants in the third inning and had taken a strike and then a ball. Suddenly he and Roseboro stood eye to eye, and then Marichal began shuffling backward toward the mound, raising his bat menacingly. As Roseboro moved toward him, Marichal took three overhead swings at his head before Roseboro tackled him and Koufax moved in to grab the bat.

"I thought it had knocked Roseboro's eye out," said Dodgers manager Walter Alston. "There was nothing but blood where his left eye should have been. A man might as well have a gun as use a bat like that."

Marichal was suspended for eight games, and the Dodgers went on to win the World Series. Roseboro and Marichal eventually became close friends.

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