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Pitchers Who Played Other Positions, Part 1

These lists include only pitchers who played in the field, or were listed in the starting lineups at non-position positions. Pitchers who merely pinch-ran (many) or pinch-hit (Rick Honeycutt) for the listed DH are not included. Same goes for pitchers who started in the majors at other positions (e.g., Brooks Kieschnick) and pitchers who moved to other positions (e.g., Babe Ruth).

Pitchers in the starting lineup at other positions for fluky reasons, and who never actually played there:

1 and 2. Scott Elarton and Jose Lima, Houston Astros, June 13-July 23, 1999.

Larry Dierker, the Astros manager, had a seizure in the dugout in the bottom of the 8th with the count 1-0 on Jeff Bagwell; the game was immediately suspended. The game was resumed on July 23; Elarton nominally replaced CF Carl Everett (on the disabled list) and Lima replaced 3B Ricky Gutierrez (also on the DL). Both were replaced by the time the Astros took the field in the top of the 9th.

3. Pedro Martinez, Los Angeles Dodgers, September 20, 1993.
4. Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers, September 15, 1993.

Both Martinez and Hershiser were listed at 3rd base, batting 2nd in the order, and were pinch-hit for in the top of the 1st inning by Dave Hansen, who was attempting to break the Dodgers single-season pinch-hit record.

5. LaMarr Hoyt, Chicago White Sox, September 29, 1984.

Hoyt was listed at left field, batting 2nd in the order, and was pinch-hit for by Jerry Hairston, Sr., who was attempting to break the White Sox single-season pinch-hit record.

6. Sammy Stewart, Baltimore Orioles, 1 game in 1983.

Credited with one game at DH in 1983, but I can’t find the box score.

7, 8, & 9. Dennis Leonard, Jim Colburn, and Andy Hassler, Kansas City Royals, August 29, 1977.

The game was a makeup for a July 25 “rainout” at Yankee Stadium, a game which had been postponed by the Yankees due to “rain, wet grounds, and a bad weather forecast” four hours before game time, though it never rained much, if at all. The Royals contended that Yankees postponed the game because Billy Martin’s managerial status was in limbo [George Steinbrenner that night would issue 7 guidelines to assess whether any Yankee manager would keep his job: “1) Is the win-loss record OK?; 2) Does he work hard enough?; 3) Is he emotionally equipped to lead men?; 4) Is he organized?; 5) Is he prepared for each game? 6) Does he understand human nature?; 7) Is he honorable?”]. The postponement led to a rule change, putting the umpires, not the home team, in control of deciding whether or not a game should be postponed during the last series between two teams.

The Royals wanted the makeup game to be play at the end of the season, if necessary, but the Yankees insisted that the game be played August 25, a scheduled off-day for both teams. By compromise, the Yankees paid the Royals the cost of diverting their chartered jet from Baltimore (where the Royals had played the previous day) and the game was scheduled for 2 p.m., not the night game that Steinbrenner had wanted.

Still, the Royals were not happy. Joe Burke, Royals general manager, argued that “nothing compensates us for the time. Our players would’ve chipped in and given the Yankees the money, just to have the day off.”

Royals manager Whitey Herzog had a unique way of protesting the decision to play. Contending that union rules forbade using players 20 calendar days in a row (though that rule was waived for makeup games), he benched Hal McRae, Al Cowens, and John Mayberry, all of whom had played the last 19 games, and submitted a starting lineup with 3 pitchers in their place: Leonard at DH and batting 2nd, Colburn at RF and batting 4th, and Hassler at 1B and batting 5th. Of course, no one thought that those pitchers would actually play, and Yankee public address announcer Bob Sheppard refused to announce the Royals’ starting lineup. In the 1st inning, all three were replaced as expected. The Yankees went on to win 5-3, scoring 2 runs in the 8th inning.

Sheppard wrote a limerick in Herzog’s honor:

In bush managerial pique,
He submitted a lineup unique,
But the tactic confusing
Couldn’t keep him from losing
Though the game was a bit of a squeak

10. Dave Goltz, Minnesota Twins, August 1, 1977.

Goltz was listed at DH, batting 6th, and pinch-hit for by the regular center fielder Larry Hisle, in the 1st inning. Hisle had left the Twins’ previous game in the 7th inning with an ankle injury, and his status was doubtful when the lineup was made. Though he played the entire game, Hisle was unable to put any weight on the ankle, and would miss the Twins’ next 7 games.

11. Steve Mingori, Cleveland, one game in 1972.

Credited with one game at LF in 1972, but I can’t find the box score.

12. Jim Perry, Minnesota Twins, August 9, 1970.

Perry was listed at LF, batting 3rd, as a placeholder for Harmon Killebrew, who was travelling to Anaheim from his father-in-law’s funeral in Idaho the day before. Killebrew made it to the stadium on time, via a helicopter from LAX to Disneyland, and pinch-hit for Perry in the 1st.

13, 14, & 15. Chris Short, Jim Owens, and Don Ferrarese, Philadelphia Phillies, June 29, 1961 (Game 1 of doubleheader).

The Phillies didn’t know whether the Giants would start a lefty or righty pitcher, so they submitted a lineup with Short at catcher, batting 7th; Owens at RF, batting 3rd; and Ferrarese at CF, batting 1st. See the Chris Short entry here for the complete story.

16, 17, & 18. Mike Pappas and Jack Hashman, Baltimore Orioles, September 11, 1958 and Hal Brown, Baltimore Orioles, September 12, 1958.

Paul Richards, manager of the Orioles, was fond of oddball strategies (see the Dorish entry here).

The previous day, he had pinch-hit for light-hitting CF Jim Busby in top of the first inning. He soon realized that he could do so with weak hitters in future road games without losing that player for the game, by listing a pitcher at that position and pinch-hitting for him if need be in the top of the first, then replacing the pinch-hitter with the fielder in the bottom of the inning.

On the 11th, Pappas was listed at 2B, batting 7th; Harshman was listed at CF, batting 5th. Harshman would be pinch-hit for in the top of the first, and Pappas was replaced between innings.

On the 12th, Brown was listed at 3B, batting 5th. Prior to the bottom of the 1st, he was replaced by Brooks Robinson without spending any time in the field.

I’m not sure why Richards abandoned this strategy.

Pre-1957 example. Walter “Lefty” Stewart and Earl Whitehill, Washington Senators, July 11, 1933.

Washington manager Joe Cronin didn’t know whether the White Sox would start a lefty or a righty, so Stewart and Whitehill were in the lineup as placeholders. See entry #5 in this post for details.

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One thought on “Pitchers Who Played Other Positions, Part 1

  1. Special mention should be made of Earl Weaver’s 1979 use of the “phantom DH”, where a pitcher he had no intention of using was placed in the starting lineup as DH. This apparently occurred 21 times. I particularly remember the occasion where Tippy Martinez — attending a funeral — was listed as the DH against the Blue Jays; the Toronto manager made a wry pre-game comment, something to the effect that there should be a rule requiring a player in the starting lineup to be within 500 miles of the ball park at the start of the game.


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