Remembering Sal Maglie, Gotham’s Barber

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



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].


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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