Mike Marshall, the former major league pitcher who had a dominant stretch as a reliever that culminated in his winning the National League Cy Young Award in 1974, has died at the age of 78, it was announced today.
Marshall debuted in the majors with the Detroit Tigers in 1967, and was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft prior to the 1969 season, making him one of the few who was an official Pilot in their one season. Marshall was friends with Jim Bouton while with the Pilots, and features prominently in Bouton’s book “Ball Four.”
Marshall’s breakout year was 1972, when he put up a 1.78 ERA in 116 IP in a league-leading 65 appearances for the Montreal Expos, finishing fourth in the National League Cy Young balloting. He followed that up with a 179 IP, 92 appearance season in 1973 with a 2.66 ERA, finishing second in the CYA voting. He was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Willie Davis after the 1973 season.
It was with the Dodgers in 1974 that he won the NL CYA, appearing in 106 games, throwing 208.1 IP and putting up a 2.42 ERA. Marshall’s performance went into a decline after that. In April, 1977 the Rangers acquired Marshall from the Atlanta Braves, putting up a 4.04 ERA in 32 innings for the Rangers.
Signing with the Minnesota Twins after the 1978 season, Marshall had a great two year run as the Twins’ fireman, finishing 7th in 1978 and 5th in 1979 in the Cy Young balloting, appearing in a league leading 90 games in 1979. He retired after the 1981 season.
Marshall obtained a Ph.D. in exercise physiology in 1978, and in his post-playing career he was known as a respected, though iconoclastic, pitching theorist and guru.