Roseboro in 1957.
May 13, 1933|
|Died: August 16, 2002
Los Angeles, California
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|June 14, 1957 for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 11, 1970 for the Washington Senators|
|Runs batted in||548|
|Career highlights and awards|
A left-handed-hitter, Roseboro had a lifetime .249 batting average with 104 home runs and 548 RBI in 1585 games played with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1957–67), Minnesota Twins (1968–69) and Washington Senators (1970). He was a Gold Glove Award winner twice and a four-time All-Star during a fourteen-year career.
On June 14, 1957, Roseboro succeeded Roy Campanella, whose playing career was ended the following January by a paralyzing automobile accident, as the Dodgers' full-time catcher. He also was the Dodgers' starting catcher in the 1959, 1963, 1965, and 1966 World Series, with his team winning the championship the first three times. In the Series, Roseboro was a .157 hitter with one home run and seven RBI in 21 games. The home run was against the New York Yankees in Game One of the 1963 World Series off Whitey Ford—the only home run the Yankee left-hander had yielded to a left-handed batter all season.
After completing his playing career with Washington, Roseboro coached for the Senators (1971) and California Angels (1972–74). Later, he served as a minor league batting instructor (1977) and catching instructor (1987) for the Dodgers. Roseboro and his wife, Barbara Fouch Roseboro, also owned a Beverly Hills public relations firm.
Chevrolet was one of the sponsors of the Dodgers' radio coverage in the mid-1960s. The song "See the USA in Your Chevrolet," made famous by Dinah Shore in the 50s, was sung in Chevrolet commercials by Roseboro and other Dodger players. Dodger announcer Jerry Doggett said that Roseboro was a singer "whose singing career was destined to go absolutely nowhere."
Johnny Roseboro died in Los Angeles, California at age of 69.
Roseboro was involved in an altercation with Dominican pitcher Juan Marichal during a game between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on August 22, 1965. Earlier in the game, Marichal had knocked down Dodgers Maury Wills and Ron Fairly with brushback pitches. When Marichal came up to bat against Sandy Koufax in the third inning, Koufax wouldn't retaliate, but his catcher, Roseboro, apparently wanted to. Roseboro returned Koufax's pitches dangerously close to Marichal's face (which is extremely difficult for a right-hand throwing catcher to do to a right-handed batter). Then, the future Hall-of-Famer hit Roseboro over the head with his bat three times, opening a two-inch gash that sent blood flowing down the catcher's face that would require 14 stitches. The Giants and the Dodgers, who nurture a heated rivalry with each other dating back to their days together in the New York market, and who were both strong contenders for the 1965 National League pennant, cleared their respective benches and began a 14-minute brawl on the field before Koufax, Giants captain Willie Mays and other peacemakers restored order.
After the incident, NL president Warren Giles suspended Marichal for nine games, fined him $1,750, and also forbade him from traveling to Dodger Stadium for the final, crucial two-game series of the season. The Giants won both of them in the middle of a 14-game streak, but the Dodgers got even hotter later to win the pennant, and eventually defeated the Minnesota Twins in seven games in the World Series.
Marichal contended Roseboro returned a pitch close to his nose. Roseboro said he did nothing to provoke Marichal's reaction and later sued him for $110,000 in damages. Marichal didn't face the Dodgers again until May 3, 1966. He got the victory and Roseboro hit 1 for 4.
Dodger fans were angry at Marichal for several years afterward, and reacted violently when he was signed by the Dodgers in 1975. However, by this time Roseboro had forgiven Marichal, and personally appealed to the fans to calm down.
After years of bitterness, Roseboro and Marichal became close friends in the 1980s, getting together occasionally at Old-Timers games, golf tournaments and charity events. Roseboro also personally appealed to the Baseball Writers Association of America not to hold the incident against Marichal after it passed him over for election to the Hall of Fame four years in a row. Marichal did get elected in 1983, and thanked Roseboro in his induction speech.
- About the Juan Marichal incident: "There were no hard feelings on my part, and I thought if that was made public, people would believe that this was really over with. So I saw him at a Dodger old-timers' game, and we posed for pictures together, and I actually visited him in the Dominican. The next year, he was in the Hall of Fame. Hey, over the years, you learn to forget things." 
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