Friday, November 2, 2007

Pitchers Out of Position Since 1957

An emailer was curious about pitchers playing out of position. I knew Bill Wegman spent an inning in right field and Ron Guidry spent a few innings in center field for the Yankees during his career, but I wasn't sure how many pitchers did that. I tried to look it up with the Baseball-Reference Play Index, but I didn't know how to go about it. I finally settled on looking for players that had spent at least 1% of their games on the mound and 1% in the outfield. I figure pitchers generally don't play out of position on the infield, and if one did, too bad. The list captured a lot of utility players (like Scott Spiezio) who pitched in one blowout game, but you can see the full list here. You can tell which position was a player's primary position by seeing which number is listed first in the last column.

After trying to clean up the list, I think I've got all the actual pitchers. Here they are:

Ruben Gomez1957NYG*1/9
Bobby Shantz1958NYY*1/8
Hal Jeffcoat1958CIN*1/8
Jack Harshman1958BAL*1/8
Don Ferrarese1961PHI*1/8
Jim Maloney1961CIN*1/7
Jim Owens1961PHI*1/9
Bennie Daniels1963WSA*1/79
Al McBean1965PIT*1/7
John Upham1968CHC/178
Steve Blass1968PIT*1/7
Tom Burgmeier1968,1969,1980CAL*1/7
Jim Perry1970MIN*1/7
Jim Rooker1970KCR*1/7
Wayne Granger1970CIN*1/7
Steve Mingori1972CLE*1/7
Jim Colborn1977KCR*1/9
Terry Forster1977PIT*1/9
Gene Garber1978ATL*1/8
Kent Tekulve1979PIT*1/7
Ron Guidry1979,1983NYY*1/8
Bobby Castillo1980LAD*1/79
Dave Stieb1980TOR*1/7
Bob Welch1982LAD*1/79
Fernando Valenzuela1982LAD*1/79
Rick Langford1982OAK*1/78
Don Robinson1984PIT*1/7
La Marr Hoyt1984CHW*1/7
Jeff Dedmon1986ATL*1/7
Jeff Robinson1986SFG*1/9
Jesse Orosco1986NYM*1/9
Randy Bockus1986SFG/*179
Todd Worrell1986,1987,1989STL*1/9
Roger McDowell1986,1991NYM*1/79
Keith Comstock1987SFG*1/9
Ricky Horton1987STL*1/9
Jose DeLeon1988STL*1/79
Frank Williams1989DET*1/79
Les Lancaster1990CHC*1/7
Jeff Nelson1993SEA*1/7
Randy Johnson1993SEA*1/7
Ricky Bones1993MIL*1/9
Bill Wegman1995MIL*1/9
Chuck McElroy1999NYM*1/7
Rick Reed1999NYM*1/9
Scott Elarton1999HOU*1/8
Brooks Kieschnick2003MIL*1/D7
Jason Simontacchi2004STL*1/7
Noah Lowry2007SFG*1/9

The positions column tells you where the pitchers spent time in the field. The reason I chose 1957 as the cutoff was because anyone curious about these guys should be able to look them up on Baseball-Reference, go to their batting gamelogs (available if you scroll down to the batting section of their page), and see exactly when they appeared elsewhere in the field. For example, Randy Johnson's 1993 batting gamelog is here and you can see he spent an inning in left field on October 3. You can even get the box score for the game.

One last thing, does anyone know the John Upham story? As you can see on the list, he's the only pitcher who doesn't have an asterisk next to the number 1, indicating he did not spend over half his games on the mound. He appeared in 21 games in his career, seven times on the mound, twice in the outfield, nine times as a pinch hitter, and three times as a pinch runner. He even spent an entire game in center field in 1968 (box score). He didn't get much time at bat or on the mound for his career, but I thought it was interesting.

Oh, I should also mention it's entirely possible I missed someone because of the clumsy way I looked up the list. If you know I did, drop me a line!

UPDATE: My dad emailed me to tell me about Sam McDowell, a Cleveland lefthander in the 60's and 70's. On July 6, 1970, McDowell was moved to second base during a game for one-third of an inning and then returned to the mound to finish the game. Curiously, he actually recorded a putout, ending the top of the eighth inning. Also, on September 2, 1970, he was moved to first base for two-thirds of an inning until returning to the mound for the rest of the game. Oddly, the team he faced in both games was the Washington Senators, and the pitcher to replace him both times was Dean Chance.

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