Stark: Who’s that mystery position player on the mound?

From SABR member Jayson Stark at on June 11, 2014:

As George Herman Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and even Tyrus Raymond Cobb could tell you, this wouldn’t be the first year in baseball history when every time you looked up, it’s seemed as if a position player was trudging toward the old pitcher’s mound.

But now that we’ve got that out of the way …

There has never, ever been a season like this in mystery-pitcher history.

And trust me: As America’s foremost demented authority on position players who show up on a mound near you, I can assure you this is shaping up as one of those seasons for the ages.

Oh, not necessarily the golden ages. But whatever. History is history. And here’s what we’ve seen already this year:

  • We’re up to 12 different pitching appearances by men who normally don’t pitch for a living, by far the most before this date in the expansion era (1961 to present).
  • In fact, there has been only one year in that expansion era in which more than 12 position players pitched all season. (And that was last year, when it happened 14 times.)
  • We’d gone 22 consecutive seasons (since Doug Dascenzo in 1991) without seeing any position player pitch twice in the same week. Then, of course, it happened this year two weeks in a row, thanks to the special-pitching-guest-star exploits of the Dodgers’ Drew Butera and then the Tigers’ Danny Worth.
  • And three teams — the Brewers, Tigers and Brewers — have already used position players to pitch in multiple games. That hadn’t happened this early in a season since 1989.

So, obviously, something is happening here. The question is: Um, what exactly? Is it a coincidence? A unique confluence of ugly events? Or possibly even (gasp) a trend?

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Originally published: June 11, 2014. Last Updated: June 11, 2014.