Sal Maglie - "The Barber"
May 5, 2009
by William Szczepanek
Sal Maglie is one of few players to have played for all three New York teams in the 40s and 50s - the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers. He was involved in a number of memorable games, but he is not often remembered for what he accomplished. His major league career was slowed after a rookie season with the Giants after completing the season with a 2.35 ERA, when he was banned from the majors for participating in games in the Mexican League. At age 33 he was reinstated in 1950 and was 18 - 4 for the Giants with a 2.71 ERA.
He won 23 games for the 1951 New York Giants. He started and pitched eight innings of the game that was made history with the Bobby Thomson home run off reliever Ralph Branca. Nobody remembers that Maglie was even in the game for the Giants.
He had a .700 winning percentage in 1954 (14 – 6) when the Giants played the Indians in the World Series that Mays is remembered for his magnificent catch.
Getting old, the Giants released Maglie in 1955 with a bad back, caused largely because his right leg was longer than his left. He was picked up by Cleveland and was getting little work. In June of 1956, with the Dodgers’ staff hurting, they picked Maglie up for $100. Maglie was approaching 40 years of age and was considered by some to be washed up. Walter Alston thought differently.
In 1956, down the stretch, Maglie pitched magnificently in crucial games for the Dodgers against the contenders. On September 25, on a cold night, the 39-year old Maglie was concerned about his control. He did his usual job of mixing fastballs with curves and without his best stuff, he managed to no-hit the Phillies. The old man could still pitch. The You Tube radio presentation includes play by play from Jerry Doggett and commentary from a young Vin Scully. There is a first and second part to the video on You Tube, that can give you a good flavor for the game and some of the other famous players.
On October 3, 1956 Maglie won the first game of the World Series against the Yankees by a score of 6 to 3. In the fifth game of the series, on October 8th, Maglie pitched a great game. He retired the first 11 Yankees before Mickey Mantle tagged him for a solo homer in the fourth, and gave up another run in the sixth. He finished the eighth inning by striking out the side before Don Larson came in to pitch the ninth and complete his perfect game that everyone remembers.
Sal Maglie was nicknamed “The Barber” by Leo Durocher because he pitched inside and gave the batters close shaves. He looked intimidating on the mound, always appearing like he needed a shave. His look would be very popular today. Don Drysdale gave Maglie credit for teaching him how to pitch inside and with Drysdale’s sidearm delivery he terrified batters for many years.
Do you remember Sal Maglie? If you don’t, now you do. If you do, you’re very lucky to have those memories.
You can check out Maglie's stats at Baseball-Reference.com.