Hey, I just noticed it’s the birthday of Sal Maglie!
Fans of Ball Four will recall that Sal is the lovable curmudgeonly pitching coach for the Pilot in 1969, but way before that he was well known as “Sal the Barber” – known for pitching inside and giving “close shaves” to opposing batters.
Sal went 23-6 for the NY Giants in ’51, helping them win the senior circuit gonfalon. He had some back problems that limited his effectiveness in ’53, ’54, and ’55, and was sent to the Indians, briefly where he played little in ’55. In ’56, at age 40, he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and made a big comeback, going 13-5, tossing a no-hitter on September 25th, and helping the Dodgers win the pennant by one game over the Braves. In ’57 he pitched well, but was sent to the Yankees later in the season, thus becoming the last player to wear the jersey for all three New York Clubs. Sal became a coach in 1960 with the Red Sox; his year coaching the Pilots was his last as a coach. He died on December 28, 1992.
Bouton’s portrait of Maglie is not very positive, but Bouton, I’m sure, had his own ax to grind. Maglie’s career was largely based on throwing hard and inside, and he just may not have had much useful advice to a guy trying to throw a knuckleball.
Sal also has a great baseball name.
Anyway, Happy Birthday, Sal the Barber. Good Game.