Juan and John at the Wexner Center

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

In the history of baseball, few days are more infamous than Aug. 22, 1965. In San Francisco, the Giants played the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Giants player Juan Marichal, a native of the Dominican Republic, had hurled several threatening pitches at Dodgers batters and one had hit shortstop Maury Wills. When Marichal was up at bat, Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, from Ashland, Ohio, returned a pitch to Sandy Koufax that nicked Marichal in the ear.

Roseboro and Marichal traded words and then Marichal attacked Roseboro with his bat, inciting a brawl that lasted 14 minutes.

From Los Angeles, young fan Roger Guenveur Smith watched as his childhood hero was battered on television.

That young fan grew up to become an actor and performance artist. More than four decades later, Smith created "Juan and John," a one-man piece that interweaves the Marichal-Roseboro fight and their eventual reconciliation with the era's current events (the Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic, the Watts Riots, etc.).

Smith, who presented his "A Huey P. Newton Story" at the Wexner Center in December 1998, returns for four performances of "Juan and John."

The play is about baseball, of course, but it's also about violence and vengeance, race and reconciliation, family and forgiveness.

Juan and John

Thursday-Sunday, April 7-10

Wexner Center Performance Space

1871 North High St., Campus