Hitters Pitching

Over this past weekend, three position players pitched in big-league games. Utility infielder Skip Schumaker made his third career pitching appearance (second for the Dodgers this year), while White Sox outfielder Casper Wells and Mets backup catcher Anthony Recker each made their first. Schumaker’s first pitch was a 90-m.p.h. strike on the black, and Wells did this to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera:


Poor Recker will always be near the top of the Mets’ all-time leader board in ERA, walks per nine innings, and home runs allowed per nine innings, but at least he’s behind Derek Bell, Matt Franco, and Todd Zeile in ERA.

This of course got me thinking about Giant position players who have been called on to pitch.  Surprisingly, for a team with such a long history, this hasn’t happened very often.  The last time was on July 4, 1991, at Candlestick Park. You can check out the box score here. It was a Trevor Wilson gem: five innings, five earned runs.  Wilson was followed by Jose Segura, who promptly surrendered six runs in an inning-and-a-third.  Jeff Brantley gave up two runs in the eighth, and so Roger Craig decided to let infielder Greg Litton have a turn. (Craig would let Litton play every position but center field over the course of the 1991 season.)

Litton got Steve Finley to ground out to second on the first pitch of the ninth inning.  But Jeff Bagwell hit the next pitch to deep center field for a triple.  Litton then walked Luis Gonzalez and Ken Caminiti to load the bases.  Shortstop Rafael Ramirez popped out on a foul ball caught by Litton’s battery-mate, Terry Kennedy, and the crowd could at least hope the infielder would dodger a bullet and be the only Giant that day to pitch a complete inning without giving up a run.  Instead, Litton walked center fielder Gerald Young on four pitches, scoring Bagwell and allowing the Astros to pad their lead, now 14-3. Second baseman Casey Candaele ended the inning with a pop out to Matt Williams at third. The Giants would score three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but lose, 14-6.


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