Johnny Roseboro

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John Junior Roseboro

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Biographical Information[edit]

Johnny Roseboro was the Los Angeles Dodgers catcher for a decade, playing in four World Series with them. He won two Gold Gloves and was named to three All-Star teams while with the Dodgers, as well as being named an All-Star team once while playing for the Minnesota Twins. However, he is most remembered by some for being involved in an on-field altercation with Juan Marichal.

After being signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, Roseboro began his pro career with the Sheboygan Indians in 1952, hitting .365. He missed the 1954 season due to military service, but after less than five years in the minors, he reached the majors in June 1957. After backing up Roy Campanella in his first big league season, he became the starting backstop the next year after Campanella had a car accident that ended his career (the same year the Dodgers moved west to Los Angeles).

Roseboro has his best year at the plate for the Dodgers in 1961, hitting a team-high 18 home runs and driving in 59 runs. He was behind the plate for a pair of no-hitters thrown by Sandy Koufax in 1962 and 1963. During his career, he struggled at the plate in his World Series appearances, but he hit a three-run homer in the first game of the 1963 Fall Classic against the New York Yankees.

Perhaps the most remembered game of Roseboro's career came on August 22, 1965. Playing the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park, he was behind the plate with Juan Marichal batting. After a throw back to pitcher Koufax allegedly struck Marichal's ear, Marichal hit Roseboro in the head with his bat. A bench-clearing brawl ensued, Marichal was ejected and ultimately suspended, and Roseboro left the game with a blood-soaked towel pressed against his head and would need 14 stitches to close a two-inch gash on his head. Many years after the incident, the two players actually became friends.

Roseboro soon recovered from the altercation, and his .272 average in 1967 was one of the best on the Dodgers club. After that season, he was dealt to the Twins, and he was their regular catcher for two years, including their division-winning 1969 club. He ended his career as a player-coach for the Washington Senators in 1970.

Although a catcher, Roseboro had some speed, hitting 44 triples in his career and finishing in the top ten in the National League in triples twice. He also stole 67 bases in his career.

After his playing days, Roseboro was a member of the Senators staff in 1971 and the California Angels bullpen coach from 1972 to 1974.

Roseboro's son, Jaime Roseboro, was a minor league outfielder.

Roseboro appeared in the Dragnet TV movie pilot as Sgt. Dave Bradford in the 1960s. He also appeared in a couple of other television shows. He died in 2002 at the age of 69.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • John Roseboro and Bill Libby: Glory Days with the Dodgers and Other Days with Others, Atheneum Books, New York, NY, 1978.
  • John Rosengren: The Fight of Their Lives: How Juan Marichal and John Roseboro Turned Baseball's Ugliest Brawl into a Story of Forgiveness and Redemption, The Lyons Press, Guildford, CT, 2014. ISBN 978-0762787128

Related Sites[edit]