R.I.P. to Dave Marshall, a backup outfielder who played in parts of seven seasons in the major leagues. He died on June 6 at the age of 76, less than 48 hours after his wife of 25 years died. Carol Marshall, 82, had been suffering from multiple sclerosis and passed away on June 4. During his playing career, Marshall played for the San Francisco Giants (1967-1969), New York Mets (1970-1972) and San Diego Padres (1973).
Dave Marshall was born in Artesia, Calif., on January 14, 1943. He attended Lakewood High School in Lakewood He was an all-star outfielder there and was signed by the Los Angeles Angels in 1963, after a year at Long Beach City College. He spent three years in the Angels organization, and he had some decent seasons there. He batted .252 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs for the Hawaii Islanders and Tri-City Angels in 1964. He did have his struggles, though, and part of that stemmed from a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. His obituary notes that the injury bothered him for the rest of his playing career.
Marshall was traded to the Giants in April 1966 for infielder Hector Torres. Assigned to the AA Waterbury Giants, he had his best year at the plate to that point, with a .287 average and 67 RBIs in 122 games. He moved up to AAA with the Phoenix Giants in 1967, and he hit .294 with 8 home runs, as well as 13 doubles and 12 triples. He earned a call to the majors that fall, but he appeared in just one game as a pinch runner before hurting his shoulder.
Marshall hit .400 during Spring Training in 1968 and made the Opening Day roster as a backup in left and right field, as well as a pinch-hitter. He had 27 pinch-hitting appearances in 1968, and that was a career low for him. He had 50 pinch-hitting appearances in 1970 and a total of 207 in his career. One of his pinch hits on June 26, 1968, broke up a no-hitter in the 8th inning by the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale and drove in the Giants only run in a 2-1 loss. It was Drysdale’s 200th career win.
“I don’t mind pinch-hitting at all,” Marshall said in 1968. “When you go up there you’re pretty sure they won’t walk you. You’ll get a chance to hit.”
Marshall credited the Giants’ hitting coach Hank Sauer with turning him from a middling prospect to a major-leaguer. The two worked together every spring after Marshall joined the Giants, and Sauer taught him to wait longer on pitches and to hit for power.
Marshall hit .264 for the Giants in 76 games, with 1 home run and 16 RBIs that year. He played in 110 games for San Francisco in 1969, but his batting average dropped to .232. Both of his home runs that year broke ties in games that the Giants went on to win. Marshall had a knack for clutch home runs. Though he hit only 16 in the majors, 6 came with the score tied, 3 tied a game and 2 more gave his team the lead.
The Giants traded Marshall to the defending World Champ Mets in December 1969. He made quite the impression with his new team, His first Mets home run (on April 28, 1970) was a grand slam off the Giants’ Gaylord Perry, as he helped beat his old team 5-2.
“I just don’t hit home runs,” he said afterward. “In fact, I’d never hit a grand slam before in my life, not even in high school or junior high or the little leagues. I was looking for a fastball inside, but Gaylord Perry got it high and up.”
By his own admission, Marshall wasn’t going to get much playing time, considering the other Mets outfielders included Cleon Jones, Tommee Agee, Art Shamsky and Ron Swoboda. Still, in the time he had, he homered 6 times and drove in 29, ending the year with a .243 average and .402 slugging percentage. He hit .238 in 100 games in 1971 and improved to .250 in ’72.
Marshall was traded to San Diego for pitcher Al Severinsen prior to the 1973 season. He hit .345 in April 1973 and started 7 of the team’s first 16 games. After that month, he was used primarily as a pinch-hitter and didn’t have much success in the role. After 3 hits in May and 1 in June dropped his average to .286, the Padres sent him to the Hawaii Islanders, which by then was the Padres’ AAA team. The White Sox acquired his contract at the end of the season. He failed to make the White Sox in Spring Training in 1974 and was given his release, ending his career.
In 490 games across seven seasons, Marshall had a slash line of /.246/.333/.338. Along with the 16 long balls, he had 41 doubles and 4 triples among his 258 career hits.
Upon his retirement, Marshall was involved in the ownership of three restaurant bars in Manhattan. He moved back to the West Coast in 1985 and worked in security, first for the operator of the famed Queen Mary ship and later for the ship itself. He spent many years working at the Long Beach Convention Center as the parking manager; his obituary called him the downtown Long Beach “parking czar.” He was said to be a familiar figure downtown, driving his orange golf cart and chatting with passersby. He sustained several injuries, including a fractured skull, in 2018 in a golf cart accident and never fully recovered. When his wife, Carol, came back to their home to be placed on hospice care, they were in adjoining hospital beds.
“They are in a better place, and they are together. They are happy together and that’s the best thing,” Marshall’s son, Dave, told the Press-Telegram.