Marichal will be on hand for statue giveaway

Giants' Hall of Fame pitcher honored to be recognized Sunday

Marichal will be on hand for statue giveaway

SAN FRANCISCO -- For those who never saw Juan Marichal pitch, the statue outside AT&T Park's Lefty O'Doul gate, which captures his high-kicking motion, is the next best thing. Marichal himself will be on hand for the series finale against the Washington Nationals on Sunday, when 20,000 replicas of the statue will be distributed to fans.

"It means so much to me," Marichal said Saturday. "I'm so proud to come to San Francisco and to talk to so many people who came to see the statue."

Marichal, who resides in the Dominican Republic, noted with amusement that when he visits San Francisco and strays near his statue, he's inevitably surrounded by fans who ask to be photographed with him and his bronze image.

"It's something that makes me feel good," the Hall of Fame right-hander said.

To say that Marichal, 77, continues to follow the Giants avidly is an understatement.

"I love the Giants," said the six-time 20-game winner, who recorded a 238-140 mark for San Francisco from 1960-73. "I want them to do well, no matter what."

Marichal will be rooting fiercely Sunday for Madison Bumgarner, whom he admires.

"I love his style," Marichal said. "He can throw the ball most of the time where he wants it, and that's what you need to be a winner."

Marichal should know. He averaged 1.8 walks per nine innings during his illustrious career, bettering Bumgarner's corresponding figure of 2.1.

Marichal resisted sentimentality about the place where he did most of his pitching, Candlestick Park, which has been flattened by wrecking crews. The "Dominican Dandy" posted an astounding 122-58 mark at the Giants' previous home, garnished with a 2.67 ERA, 26 shutouts and 119 complete games in 223 appearances.

Compiling those statistics, Marichal said, "wasn't easy, with the wind blowing and the dirt flying all over. I didn't pay too much attention to the weather, because wind or not, I had to do my job."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.