With his postage stamp sized ads in the back of Baseball America promising injury-free results (ok, I don’t have the current BA in front of me, so maybe the ads say “I coulda fixed Mark Prior in ten minutes), former relief maestro Dr. Mike Marshall is tired of being treated like “a kook.” From the St. Petersberg Times’ Dave Schieber (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).
The title of his 1978 Ph.D. dissertation was hardly the stuff of standard dugout banter: “A Comparison of an Estimate of Skeletal Age with Chronological Age When Classifying Adolescent Males for Motor Proficiency Norms.”
Yet Marshall’s study of kinesiology early in his career led him to a surprising discovery. He developed a motion that ended the immense stress on his elbow, allowing him to pitch well with little rest.
Today, Marshall’s approach to hurling a hardball has become the pitch of his life. He delivers it with urgency and passion, peppered with technical terms and physiological explanations.
He has an exhaustive Web site (drmikemarshall.com) outlining his findings in the microscopic detail of a man who once turned down a full scholarship to study neurosurgery.
He has produced a 21/2-hour, double DVD training video that spells out every element of his research, emphasizing the physical harm done by the traditional “reverse rotation” delivery.
Simply put, Marshall says he can eliminate all pitching-arm injuries from Little League to the majors if people in the game – GMs, managers, coaches, pitchers – would adopt his method.
The thing is, the only real interest so far is from the two dozen high school and junior college pitchers who come from all over the country each year to master the technique.
It is a motion that stirs emotion in Marshall.
“The reverse rotation is destroying pitching arms, and you think I can get a single major-league pitching coach to understand that or a single GM to call me up and ask me to come talk to them?” he says, his normally even-toned voice rising.
“Not at all. They’re dealing with some fantasy Earth-is-flat reality. You can’t convince them to do otherwise. And I don’t know how to beat this wall of ignorance. The problem is, I know how to eliminate all pitching-arm injuries. I know how to do it. I swear to God I do.”
This, by the way, is only the 2nd time Dr. Marshall has been featured in this space during the past 8 months. Chances are, he’ll pop up again before October.