Monday, December 29, 2008
Currently, there have been a grand total of 464 position players who have also pitched in the majors, pulling the ultimate double-duty. And further evidence that the DH is an abomination and needs to go the way of the dinosaur.
Of those 464 players, 385 pitched in 8 games or less. That eliminates the guys who did some mop-up duty, or end-of-season work for a star player, or spot starts in the era of reduced rosters. Of the 79 position players who pitched 9 games or more, 68 played in the 19th century, or didn't make my criteria of 1000 games played and 9 games pitched, or 150 games pitched and 500 games played. There was only 1 player who pitched in exactly 9 games, and he's a Hall of Famer, so that's the cutoff. Hey, its my criteria.
The numbers I'm using are OPS+ plus ERA+ divided by 2. It's not scientific, and definitely not saber-friendly. But it's just for illustration purposes and doesn't mean anything at all.
So here is a list of the 11 men who have pitched semi-regularly or regularly in their careers.
Roger Breshnahan - C
1446 games / 9 pitched
A Hall of Fame catcher who played a minimum of 8 games at every position on the diamond. All 9 of them. Take that Ceasar Tover. In addition to his catching duties, he also pitched 9 games, starting 6 of them, with 3 complete games and 1 shut out. One of the most versatile men to ever play the game. Above average in hitting and pitching.
(126 + 107) 117
Rube Bressler - LF - 1B
1307 games / 105 pitched
Pitched early, and went to the field later, even though his hitting wasn't spectacular. But neither was his pitching. One of the rare Throws: L; Bats: R, players. A member of the 1919 Reds. Average player who got 19 seasons in the majors.
(110 = 81) 96
Ben Chapman - OF
1717 games / 25 pitched
A 4-time All Star OF'er with the Yankees, he missed 3 years during the war. Might have been a Hall of Famer if he hadn't missed the time and would have a lot of those round number career milestones. Plus all those championships with the Yankees. Stole a lot of bases in the 30's when not many were doing it. Did all his pitching in his last 3 years after coming back from the war. Didn't really do well. Good hitter, and bad pitcher.
(114 + 83) 99
Johnny Cooney - CF - RF - 1B
887 games played / 159 pitched
Pitched early, and not badly, but not by the standards of the day. Went to hitting and didn't perform quite as well. Got 20 seasons with his versatility. 7 Shut Outs, 6 Saves, 2 Home Runs, 30 Stolen Bases. An average player.
(86 + 106) 96
Jimmie Foxx - 1B
2190 games / 10 pitched
A Hall of Famer, and maybe the 2nd greatest 1B of all time. Got lost behind Gehrig and Ruth and Greenberg, but he was a monster. Not enough fans know about this guys. Pitched in 10 games, with 9 of them in his last season. But he makes the list. 534 Home Runs and 3 Most Valuable Award's.
(163 + 255) 209
A little skewed obviously, but he was a great one.
Frank Isbell - 1B - 2B - OF
1113 games / 17 pitched
Another one of those versatile players who spent at least 2 games at every position on the diamond. Didn't really hit much and was an average pitcher. Only played 10 seasons.
(89 + 99) 94
Charlie Jamieson - LF
1646 games / 13 pitched
Long time LF'er for the Indians, he put up a couple of decent years, but mostly average. Hit over .300 for his career with some walks, but no power at all. Not a good pitcher, but they gave him several chances to find out.
(101 + 51) 76
Babe Ruth - RF - LF
2273 games / 163 pitched
You've probably heard of this guy. Why do people want to still insist he isn't the greatest player in the history of the game? 'Nuff said.
(207 + 122) 165
Numbers are not skewed.
Cy Seymour - CF
1341 games / 140 pitched
Got some playing time at the end of the 19th century, but not enough to disqualify him from the list. Probably the last of a by-gone era. Good hitter and average pitcher. 25 game winner and a career .300 hitter. Pitched early and moved to CF because of his hitting. See, there was a precedence.
(119 + 100) 110
George Sisler - 1B
2012 games / 24 pitched
Hall of Famer. Good hitter and good pitcher. Second behind Ruth in the double-dipping ability. The saber community is ripping this guy apart and would like to have his Hall membership revoked. C'mon, he's one of only 2 Browns in the Hall. Leave him be.
(124 + 124) 124
Bobby Wallace - SS - 3B
2311 games / 57 pitched
The other Brown in the Hall. An average hitter. A good pitcher early, then moved to Short. Probably a good fielder, which why the switch was done.
(105 + 126) 116
So that's it. 11 men in the history of the game who have either played 1000 games and pitched 9 or more, or pitched over 100 games with 500 played. Not a lot at all.
Some guys who don't make the list.
They just didn't get enough games at one or the other to qualify.
Some honorable mentions:
432 games as an outfielder/first basemen with the Angels and Indians in the '60's, while also getting a chance to pitch in 29 games, mostly in relief. He was a throwback to another era.
257 games as an outfielder/pinch hitter, and 74 as a pitcher. The last of a kind. We may never see anyone like him again. A little below average in both.
Special mention to these guys:
They all pitched exactly one game in thier career, getting the start and a complete game.
And my favorite pitcher of all time:
Who got 2 innings in 1977, and posted an ERA+ of 29, which was worse then his career OPS+ of 42.