Remembering Sal Maglie, Gotham’s Barber

June 20, 2007 at 9:59 pm (Baseball, New York Giants)

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sal-maglie-the-polo-grounds

I was thumbing through a tattered copy of “Ball Four,” the Jim Bouton [edited, inspired, and enriched by the late, truly great Leonard Shecter] classic. Sal Maglie, one of my boyhood heroes, was the pitching coach on the [now the carpetbagged Milwaukee Brewers] 1969 Seattle Pilots. He’s portrayed as a closed-minded, uncommunicative, go along to get along person. Odd, because only two years earlier, he was lauded as one of the best pitching coaches in the game [Boston pennant-winning team].

maglie-pilots

I choose to remember him as the Don Drysdale of his time. He was known as The Barber Sal because of his penchant for throwing the ball up and in [close shave]. He was ace of the 1951 “miracle, shot heard around the woild” New York Giants pennant-winning team and a key starter on the 1954 World Champion Giants.

Here’s a pic of him on the day he pitched the pennant clinching game in 1954. This is the Maglie that Giants fans knew and loved.

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As a Giants fan, I remember what a mindfuck it was when just two years later Sal pitched a no-hitter over the Phillies on September 26th for the hated Dodgers.

Here’s a pic of catcher Roy Campanella, the aforementioned Drysdale, and coach Jake Pitler carrying him off the field.

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In 1957 he pitched in six games, winning two, late in the season for the Bronxites. Sal appeared somewhat ill at ease in a Yankee uniform.

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As an aside, Sal was from Niagara [slowly I turned…step by step] Falls, N.Y. Legend has it, that is where I was conceived. No real proof.

Here’s a picture of Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagra Falls, N.Y.

sl-maglie-stadium

Black and white photographs from “Wait ‘Til Next Year,” by Christopher Jennison.

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