Johnny Roseboro was born on Saturday, May 13, 1933, in Ashland, Ohio. Roseboro was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 14, 1957, with the Brooklyn Dodgers. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Johnny Roseboro baseball stats page.
"It's an unreal life (major league ballplayer) and when you leave it, you're lost. You can't deal with reality. They keep pushing money at you and then one day they suddenly stop and you find yourself standing in an unemployment line, hiding your face so former friends won't see you." - Johnny Roseboro in Chasing Baseball: Our Obsession with Its History, Numbers, People and Places (Dorothy Seymour Mills, McFarland Publishing, 01/11/2010, 'One. A Manly Pursuit', Page 38)
John Roseboro Autograph on a 1968 Topps (#65 | Checklist )
Johnny Roseboro Pitching Stats
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Johnny Roseboro Hitting Stats
Johnny Roseboro Fielding Stats
Johnny Roseboro Miscellaneous Stats
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Johnny Roseboro Miscellaneous Items of Interest
Did you know that John Roseboro was the successor to Roy Campanella whose playing career ended due to a paralyzing car crash? On January 28, 1958, after closing a liquor store that he owned, Campy began to drive home in Glen Cove (New York). En route, traveling at approximately 30 mph, his rented 1957 Chevrolet sedan hit a patch of ice at an S-curve on Dosoris Lane near Apple Tree Lane, then skidded into a telephone pole and overturned, breaking Campanella's neck (fracturing the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae) and leaving the future Hall of Fame catcher paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Johnny Roseboro took his spot behind the plate, became a six-time
), played in four
), won two
(1961 & 1966 / the first
ever worn by a
backstop), and had a "little" career defining incident:
Johnny Roseboro vs Juan Marichal | AP Wire Photo | August 22, 1965
Roseboro vs Marichal
Early in the game, Juan Marichal knocked down 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 seriously close to Marichal's face. Upset with that unusual attempt, 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, National League 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 said the day after the incident (AP Wire, San Francisco Chronicle, 08/23/1965, Page 1):
"First of all, I want to apologize for hitting Roseboro with my bat. I am sorry I did that. But he was coming toward me, with his mask in his hand, and I was afraid he was going to hit me with his mask, so I swung my bat. If he had only said something, I would not have swung. I hit him once, and I am sorry.
"I think the anger started on Friday night. On his last time at bat in that game, Maury Wills Wills deliberately stepped back, forcing Tom Haller to tip Wills ' bat with his glove. So when Matty Alou came to bat in the next inning, he did the same thing, but the plate umpire, Doug Harvey, did not award him first base. Then, Roseboro yelled over at our dugout, 'If this stuff keeps up we're going to get one of you guys and get him goodright in the ear.' The umpire must have heard this. And later, Roseboro repeated it to Orlando Cepeda . That is why I want him present when I meet Warren Giles.
"When I came to bat on Sunday, the first pitch was a perfect strike. The second one was a little inside. Johnny Roseboro deliberately dropped the ball so he could get behind me. Then he threw the ball back to Koufax real hardnobody ever throws the ball back to the pitcher that hardand it ticked my ear. I might expect Koufax to throw at me but I did not look for someone to throw at me from behind me. Then I turn around and I say, 'Why did you do that?' He did not say a word. He just took off his mask, and came toward me. I was afraid he was going to hit me with his mask, so I hit him with my bat. I am sorry but many times our players on the Giants are hit by pitches and sometimes hurt, and nobody says anything then."
So 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 went 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.
Have you ever wondered how good an instructor Ted Williams was? In Baseball Digest (November 1995, Mike Blake, 'Stars from 1970s Recall Special Baseball Moments', Page 56) Roseboro said, " Ted Williams taught me more about hitting my last year in Washington than I had picked up my entire career elsewhere. I learned more with him that season than everywhere else. I think what a big waste of time my career was in L.A. Their hitting instructors were supposed to be the best, but they never taught me to think at the plate. Ted Williams advocates hitters thinking up there and then teaches discipline and pitch selection, saying that the pitcher has to come to you and you are in control, not he pitcher; make him do what you want, not let him make you do what he wants."