Mike Marshall is a name I associate with the Dodgers. And when I say that, I don’t just mean the right handed slugging outfielder on this card.
Remember there was ANOTHER Mike Marshall who won a Cy Young Award in 1974 as a reliever for the Dodgers. So whether it was on the mound in the 70’s or at the plate in the 80’s, BOTH Mike Marshalls bled Dodger blue.
And yet here is the slugger in a Red Sox uniform. He wore that in the summer between my senior year of High School and my freshman year of college. It is safe to say I was watching a LOT of baseball that year. And the Red Sox won the AL East title that year, so I was following the Red Sox kind of intensely.
I suppose intellectually I remembered he was a Red Sox player that year. But like thinking of Dan Aykroyd in We Are The World, it just seemed weird and didn’t affect anything.
Mike Marshall made his big league debut with the 1981 Dodgers. It seems like every Dodger player in history played at least one game for the 1981 World Champs. I had to double check to see if Pee Wee Reese and Clayton Kershaw were on the roster.
The Dodgers were transitioning from the star studded squads of the 1970’s to a new younger team that would be regular October players in the 1980’s.
Fernando Valenzuela was the new face of the team. Young Mike Scioscia and Steve Sax led to the phasing out of Davey Lopes and Steve Yeager. And Pedro Guerrero became a World Series hero and MVP candidate just as Ron Cey and Steve Garvey became victims to age.
Mike Marhsall was going to fit in with the new Dodgers perfectly. By 1983, the 23 year old Marshall was the regular right fielder and homered in the NLCS against the Phillies. In 1984, he was a National League All Star. He was a key source of power for the 1985 NL West champs and homered in the 1988 World Series where the Dodgers upset Oakland.
As well as being a player for the Dodgers, he also was a player in Los Angeles. Marshall was a young, good looking slugger on the Dodgers and was linked romantically to the Go Go’s lead singer Belinda Carlisle. He got the beat indeed.
After a disappointing and injury plagued 1989 season, Marshall was tangentally involved in the Mets trying to correct one of the worst mistakes in franchise history.
During the 1989 season, the Mets inexplicably tried to redefine their franchise. Contributors to the 1986 title were chucked over the side at an alarming rate. Some, like Lee Mazilli, were over the hill. But Rick Aguilera was still contributing. And Mookie Wilson, Roger McDowell and Lenny Dykstra were all still good players and fan favorites.
Dykstra and McDowell were shipped off to Philadelphia for Juan Samuel. The trde was nothing short of a disaster for the Mets, once that was magnified as Dykstra eventually led the Phillies to the World Series.
Hoping to reverse the effects of the deal and seeing the need to get the unpopular Samuel off the team, the Mets made another trade. Essentially they had traded a starting outfielder and an effective reliever for Samuel. Now they were going to trade Samuel for a starting outfielder and an effective reliever. Marshall was sent packing to the Mets along with Alejandro Pena.
It is safe to say that Marshall didn’t make anyone forget Dykstra. He was ineffective in 53 games before being shipped to Boston. He only started a hanful of games for the Red Sox down the stretch collecting a few 3 hit games along the way.
I followed every one of those games yet I have no memory of his contributions. Marshall also got an a pinch hit single in the ALCS against Oakland. Nope. Don’t remember that either.
In 1991, he played a few games in Boston and got cut. He wound up with the Angels as all players must at one point in their career.
Since then, Marshall has remained in the game in one way shape or another. He played in Japan, managed in the minors and was an executive in an independent league.
For a while, he was one of the bright young faces on a star studded and popular Dodgers team. He had the right name for Dodger greatness. It sounded strange on any other team, even on one that I was following.