When Position Players Take the Mound
Notable Position Players Pitching
Ted Williams | August 24, 1940
With the Red Sox down 11-1 to the Tigers, Ted Williams took the mound for the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits in a 12-1 loss at Fenway Park. "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived" proved to be a serviceable pitcher.
Rocky Colavito | August 13, 1958
One of just 16 players in MLB history to hit four home runs in a single game, outfielder Rocky Colavito came in from right to pitch the last three innings for the Indians in a 3-2 loss to the Tigers. Colavito allowed three walks, no hits and no runs, with Cleveland starter Hoyt Wilhelm taking the loss.
Rocky Colavito | August 25, 1968
In the first game of a doubleheader, with the Yankees down 5-0 to the Tigers in the fourth inning, outfielder Rocky Colavito was called on to pitch off the bench. Not only did he throw 2.2 scoreless innings, but New York rallied to score six runs with Colavito on the mound, earning him the win in a 6-5 Yankees victory. Colavito would later contribute to a 5-4 win in the second game with a home run.
Jose Canseco | May 29, 1993
With the Texas Rangers losing 12-1 to the Boston Red Sox, Jose Canseco asked his manager if he could pitch the eighth inning. What resulted was a couple of runs and season-ending Tommy John surgery for Canseco.
Wade Boggs | Aug. 19, 1997
With the Yankees down 12-4, Wade Boggs pitched a shutout eighth inning against the Angels, making history with 16 perfectly placed knuckleballs. The New York Times reports Boggs saying, ''It's something I've always wanted to do in my career and I never really had the opportunity... I was Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough all rolled into one.'' Chanting his name, fans of both teams at Anaheim Stadium gave Boggs a standing ovation.
Gary Gaetti | Sept. 20, 1997; July 24, 1998; July 3, 1999
MVP of the 1987 World Series Champion Twins, Gary Gaetti pitched three games in his career. He faced 14 batters and allowed five hits, two runs, and one homer. The third baseman pitched for both the Cardinals and the Cubs.
Wade Boggs | Aug. 10, 1999
In his 18th and final season, Boggs pitched the final inning and a third for the Devil Rays in a 17-1 loss to the Orioles. Boggs managed not to walk a single batter, but did allow one run on three hits.
Derek Bell | Aug. 22, 2000
Derek Bell is perhaps the only player to throw an ''eephus pitch,'' and then exit the field to a standing ovation for Best Comedic Performance. With the Padres leading 11-1, the Mets gave the ball to Bell in the eighth inning. With his pitches clocking in as low as 47 mph, Bell walked three batters, allowed three hits and five runs. It wouldn't have been so bad if another positional player (Brent Mayne) hadn't pitched his team to victory on the same day.
Brent Mayne | Aug. 22, 2000
Colorado's Brent Mayne held the Braves scoreless for an inning, enabling the Rockies to take the win in the bottom of the 12th. Mayne, who had never pitched at any level, was the first positional player to be credited with a win in 32 years.
Bobby Bonilla | April 17, 2001
Six-time All-Star and three-time recipient of the Silver Slugger award, Bobby Bonilla, playing his last season for the St. Louis Cardinals, relieved Steve Cline in the top of the ninth against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He allowed three hits, two runs and one homer, bringing the final to 17-4.
Steve Finley | Aug. 30, 2001
After a 13-5 loss to the Giants, about the only notable thing that stood out for the Diamondbacks was the scoreless ninth pitched by centerfielder Steve Finley. Said manager Bob Brenley, ''When you've got Steve Finley on the mound in the ninth, it's been one of those days.''
Mark Grace | Sept. 2, 2002
Three-time All-Star and four-time Golden Glove Award winner Mark Grace pitched the last inning for the Diamondbacks in a 19-1 blowout against the Dodgers. Grace subsequently allowed catcher Dave Ross to hit the first home run of his career. Said Grace, ''Obviously he can hit 65 mph fastballs.''
Todd Zeile | Sept. 14, 2002 and July 26, 2004
Third baseman Todd Zeile had a decent record after his first pitching outing against the Dodgers, in 2002, when he faced only three batters, allowing one hit but forcing a double play and striking out Wilkin Ruan. But two years later, while playing for the Mets, Zeile left the mound having allowed five runs in a single inning. His team lost 19-10 to the Yankees, the third time in franchise history the Mets had allowed 19 runs.
Jeff Cirillo | Aug. 20, 2007
Two-time All-Star and .300 hitter Jeff Cirillo pitched a scoreless ninth in a 9-0 blowout against the Brewers. The third baseman was the second Arizona position player to pitch in less than a week, following Augie Ojeda, who pitched a scoreless inning against Florida.
Nick Swisher | April 13, 2009
First baseman Nick Swisher stepped in as pitcher for the first and only time against the Tampa Bay Rays in a 15-5 loss for the Yankees. He pitched a scoreless inning, inducing two fly outs and striking out Gabe Kapler. That day he became the only Yankee to homer and pitch in the same game since Lindy McDaniel in 1972.
Cody Ross | April 26, 2009
At the tail end of a six-game losing streak, the Florida Marlins sent outfielder Cody Ross to the mound. Drawing from his previous experience as pitcher in high school (he pitched a perfect game against for Carlsbad High in New Mexico), Ross held off the Phillies in the ninth inning, facing four batters and allowing one run.
Michael Cuddyer | July 25, 2011
Michael Cuddyer made his pitching debut during the Twins' 20-6 loss to the Rangers. The All-Star, who also played first and right field, allowed two hits and a walk, but was one of only two Twins' pitchers to emerge without allowing a run.
Chris Davis | May 6, 2012
As the designated hitter, Chris Davis went 0 for 8, striking out five times and grounding into a double play. As the designated pitcher he fared much better. Davis outdueled the Boston's Darnell McDonald, another position player, by pitching two scoreless innings and getting the win as the Orioles outlasted the Red Sox 9-6 in 17 innings. It was the first major league game since 1925 in which each club put a position player on the mound.
David Murphy | June 4, 2013
David Murphy may have gone 0-for-4 in the Rangers 17-5 loss to Boston, but he was able to do what five other Texas pitchers could not -- pitch an entire inning without allowing a run. Murphy came in from left field in the eighth to make his first career pitching appearance and kept Boston from scoring after Daniel Nava hit a leadoff double. Most notable was Murphy's strikeout looking of Mike Carp, who had gotten on base in all four of his plate appearances in the game, including a home run, before facing Murphy.
Mitch Moreland | May 6, 2014
The Rangers' most effective pitcher in a 12-1 loss to the Rockies was actually an outfielder. To save his bullpen given the lopsided score, manager Ron Washington sent Mitch Moreland to the mound for the eighth. Moreland set the Rockies down in order, tossing around 94 mph. It was the first time Moreland pitched since 2008 , in a minor league game.
Lyle Overbay | May 19, 2014
A career first baseman, 37-year-old Lyle Overbay pitched for the first time in his 14-year major league career in a 9-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Overbay volunteered for the duty while the Brewers were suffering through a five-run eight inning at the hands of Atlanta. He induced an inning-ending pop fly.
Adam Dunn | Aug. 6, 2014
Throwing low-80s slop, Dunn, who pitched in high school in mid-1990s, gave up the White Sox's 16th run on a walk and a pair of singles. However, he also got Elvis Andrus to ground out on a 3-1 pitch, forced a fly out from Rougned Odor and, just to cap it all off, got J.P. Arencibia to foul out on the only pitch he saw in the inning. Somehow Arencibia had no trouble with the White Sox's everyday pitchers, but fouled out against a player who has served primarily as a DH in four seasons with the White Sox.
Jeff Francoeur | June 16, 2015
Francoeur pitched the last two innings of the Phillies' 19-3 loss to the Orioles in Baltimore. Francoeur retired all three batters in the seventh after Baltimore scored in each of the first six innings. In the eighth, though, he walked three, hit a batter and allowed two runs. "I kind of got to experience everything that a pitcher probably experiences over a year in two innings," Francoeur said.
Jonny Gomes | Aug. 28, 2015
With his team down 13-3 to the Yankees, Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, making his first career appearance as a pitcher, gave up two runs in the ninth, including a homer to Chris Young leading off the inning. Gomes raised his arm in celebration and raced to the dugout after striking out pitcher Bryan Mitchell to end the inning. Atlanta lost 15-4.
Cliff Pennington | Oct. 20, 2015
Blue Jays infielder Cliff Pennington relieved in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the ALCS, becoming the first primarily position player to pitch in the postseason. Greeted by cheers at the Rogers Centre in Toronto with his team down 12-2, he allowed two hits and two runs (credited to Mark Lowe) and got one out against the Royals. Kansas City won 14-2.
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