FanPost

Cubs pitchers who played other positions, Part 1

Say the name "Travis Wood" and the picture that first comes to mind for many Cubs fans is the catch that he made just before crashing into the ivy while playing left field against the Mariners on July 31, 2016.

Wood is among 27 different Cubs pitchers since 1901 who have played at least once at another position on the field. They did so 168 times, 104 in the outfield and 64 in the infield.

...

The most recent to do so were Steve Cishek and Brian Duensing, in the same game, at Milwaukee on June 13, 2018.

Cishek came in to pitch the eighth inning with the Cubs trailing, 1-0. After he gave up a leadoff single, he was moved to left field, with Duensing taking over on the mound.

Duensing fashioned a 4-pitch strikeout, then he and Cishek swapped positions. Following a groundout to the right side, the 2 exchanged roles again. Duensing got a fly out to end the inning.

...

The last Cubs pitcher to enter a game in the field and stay there was Wood, who played left for the final 2 innings of an 11-4 loss at Colorado on Aug. 21, 2016.

That was the last of 3 times he appeared in the outfield, all in left. Thirteen pitchers have played left a total of 21 times. Ten, including Cishek and Duensing, did it just once.

Three have played center, 22 times, 2 of them once.

And 12 have played right, 61 times, 7 of them once.

Eleven played only once in the outfield, regardless of position. Just 1 of those 11 played a single game in the infield.

...

Following are the fascinating stories of some of the pitchers who played in the field.

..........

RUBE WADDELL

The Hall of Fame pitcher is the only Cubs pitcher who played 1 game not on the mound and it was in the infield.

He did it in 1901, just over 2 months after the Cubs had purchased the 24-year-old left hander from the Pirates.

On July 2, at New York, he was pressed into service at first base.

The Chicago Tribune explained the circumstances:

"[Manager Tom] Loftus' Remnants, rather soiled from being roughly handled on the National league bargain counters, closed a record-breaking Eastern trip by losing to New York this afternoon by a score of 6 to 3, making their record two victories and thirteen defeats. The two victories were scored over Brooklyn in one afternoon. . . .

"The Remnants were more soiled than usual. [Charlie] Dexter hurt his hand and [Jack] Doyle's second understudy, Waddell, played first. Cupid Childs returned from Baltimore and got in at second.

"There was no spirit in the game, it being too hot to play even if Chicago had felt like playing."

....

After 5 innings, the Giants led, 5-1.

"It was getting hopeless," the Tribune said, "but the Remnants made a bid in the sixth which might have done some good, but Waddell, after rapping out a double, ran away and got caught at third, so [Frank] Chance's hit and Child's martyrdom in getting soaked in the ribs produced nothing.

"Waddell forgot to cover first base in the sixth and let [George] Van Haltren land safely, and his forgetfulness gave New York its sixth and last run."

...

Waddell appeared in 15 more games as a Cub, all as a pitcher, none after Aug. 28, and finished 14-14, with a 2.81 earned run average.

In December, he jumped to Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League. The following June, he joined the Athletics, for whom he would go win at least 21 games that year and the next 3. Over 6 seasons with the A's, Waddell was 131-82, with a 1.97 ERA. He spent 3 final years with the Browns and retired at 193-143, 2.16.

..........

ORVAL OVERALL

The early Cub with euphonious name is the only Cubs pitcher since Waddell to play first base exactly once.

On Aug. 15, 1910, the Cubs led, 12-0, after 8 innings in a drizzling rain at Brooklyn.

"Peerless Leader" Frank Chance had doubled, walked and driven in 2 runs. He also had made an unassisted double play and collaborated with Johnny Evers on another.

"Chance took himself out of the first game and let Overall play first base in the ninth inning," said the Tribune. "The P. L. wanted to wipe some of the rain out of his eyes."

The Cubs made 2 more runs in the ninth. Overall made an unknown out.

Mordecai Brown completed an 11-hit shutout in which he walked none and struck out 4. The Cubs have had 9 shutouts in which they allowed at least 11 hits, with a high of 14 in 1913. They gave up 13 in a game in 1938 and 12 in games in 1974 and 1983.

...

Less than 2 weeks later, Overall made his second and last appearance in the field, in a remarkable game at the West Side Grounds in Chicago.

The Cubs made 16 hits against the Giants, 10 of them in 6 innings against Christy Mathewson. But 4 Cubs pitchers surrendered 22 -- 6, 7, 5 and 4, in order -- and yielded 18 runs: 5, 4, 5 and 4.

...

The Giants led, 5-2, in the top of the third and had runners on second and third with nobody out. The next batter hit a line drive that grazed the pitcher's glove, then was speared by second baseman Johnny Evers. He stepped on second, then threw to Heinie Zimmerman at third to complete a triple play.

In the sixth, a balk was called on the Cubs' third pitcher. Evers gave the umpire an earful and was ejected.

Two innings later, Zimmerman was tossed, too, for arguing a called third strike. In the top of the ninth, Solly Hofman moved to third from center, Frank Schulte shifted to center from right, and Overall played right. The Giants scored 4 runs in the inning.

...

"Then in the last half of the ninth Chance decided to make the scorers all the trouble he could by hanging up a new record," the Tribune reported. "Every available Cub was sent in, [pitcher King] Cole being the last man who could be used when he went to bat for [second baseman John] Kane with two men out.

"The only men on the Cub roster not used were [Jack] Pfiester, who is out of town, and [Mordecai] Brown and Chance himself, neither of whom was in uniform.

"If King Cole had happened to kick himself out of the game before he got out or had been knocked out by a stray pitch the Cubs have had to forfeit the game, for there wasn't another of them to put in."

They used 15 position players, 4 only as pinch hitters, plus 4 pitchers, for a total of 19 men.

..........

JACK TAYLOR

Taylor's Overview page at baseball-reference.com identifies him as "pitcher and third baseman."

Over 10 big league seasons, he did play third in 15 games, 13 of them during his 8 years as a Cub. But he also played 3 in the outfield and 2 each at first and second base.

In 1902, he played in the field 18 times, including the only 2 games of his career at first base, in both games of a doubleheader.

The 28-year-old right hander also pitched in 37 games, posting a 23-11 record. His 1.29 ERA, ERA+ of 206, 8 shutouts and 0.953 WHIP all were the best of any pitcher in either league.

...

Taylor was exclusively a pitcher in his first 28 games. Then, on Aug. 13, second baseman Bobby Lowe was thrown out of a game at Brooklyn in the top of the eighth inning. Taylor filled in for Lowe in the bottom half of the eventual 4-2 loss.

Four days later, Taylor led off and played right field in both games of a doubleheader at home against the Giants, going 1 for 7 in a 14-inning, 3-2 loss, then 1 for 3 in a 7-inning defeat.

It was an event in the first inning of that second game turned Taylor's non-pitching appearances into a regular occurence.

...

"Chicago, for some reason, defied custom and went first to bat," said the Tribune, "and the first inning was passing without event, when [Steve] Brodie, the third man out for New York, fell over [Frank] Chance as the latter was stooping to field the throw to first

" 'Husk' was stretched out at full length on the grass, and a doctor was called for. Dr. Pervis of the Cook county hospital staff pronounced the injury a bruise of the 'ilium.'

"Chance had been getting better up to that point, but when he heard the verdict he knew it must be something dangerous, and retired from the game. Out of sympathy for Chance, who had found some new place to get hurt, a committee of fellow players demanded to know what the 'ilium' was. They gleaned that it was the crest bone of the pelvic cavity.

"With this assurance, Chance later was able to sit up and notice things. He will not be out of the game long and may play today.

Menefee then went to first, making three pitchers in the game, including Jack Taylor, who was stationed out in right field because Davy Jones has typhoid fever."

...

Chance did not play the next day. "[Jock] Menefee was on first," the Tribune wrote, "because the bruise on Chance's 'ileum' made it impossible for him to stoop for low throws without further injury."

In fact, Chance did not return until Sept. 1, missing a dozen games. After playing that day, he missed 13 more, before returning Sept. 13 to play in all of the team's final 13 games.

During Chance's prolonged absence, Menefee played a total of 16 games at first, second, third and right, while pitching twice.

...

On Aug. 28 and 29, Taylor started at third base in the final 2 games of a series at Pittsburgh.

On Sept. 1, he pitched a 6-hitter at Philadelphia to earn the Cubs a split of a Labor Day doubleheader. Chance had played first in Game 1, then Menefee in Game 2.

But when the teams met for 2 more games the next day, it was Taylor who manned first base.

...

"Chicago was first to score in the first game," the Tribune explained. "Tinker singled in the second inning, stole second, and scored on a hit by Taylor."

Taylor, batting seventh, had 2 more hits off Ham Iburg, but the rest of the Cubs combined for only 4. The Phillies scored 4 runs in the fifth and the game ended 4-1.

In the field, Taylor had 6 putouts and took part in 2 double plays, a conventional one with second baseman Lowe and an unusual one in which he took a throw from shortstop Johnny Evers, then fired to Tinker at third for the second out.

It was the first of 5 straight games that Tinker would play at third before returning to shortstop.

...

In Game 2, Tinker tripled and scored in the second, but also committed 2 errors, raising his total to 70, in 107 games.

The Cubs led 2-0 midway through the third, but the Phillies tallied single runs off Menefee in the third and fourth, then 3 in the sixth to gain a 5-2 lead.

The score was 7-3 when Taylor was hit by a pitch when he led off the ninth. He advanced to third on a single and a walk, then trotted home on another walk for the game's final run.

...

Taylor rested the next day, when the Cubs lost at Brooklyn to drop below .500, at 58-59.

Then he played third base in 9 consecutive games, right field in 1, pitched, played once more at third and pitched 2 more times before the season ended.

Over the final 2 months, he spent 17 games in the field and 12 on the mound.

...

In 1903, in addition to going 21-14, 2.45, in 37 games, Taylor made 2 appearances in the field.

On July 2, in a 7-2 loss at Philadelphia, he started at third base in place of Tommy Raub, who switched to catcher, replacing injured Johnny Kling.

Four weeks later, on the 30th, Taylor took over from Evers at second during an unknown inning of a 15-0 drubbing by the Reds at home.

..........

OTHERS AT FIRST BASE

Menefee ultimately played 23 games at first base for the Cubs, 8 more than all other pitchers.

Two others played first besides Taylor, Overall and Waddell.

.........

FRANK CORRIDON

The right hander was 23 when he made his Major League debut at Cincinnati on Opening Day, April 15, of 1914. He pitched all 10 innings of a 5-5 tie, allowing 7 hits, walking 4 and striking out 5.

When the teams met again, 2 days later, the Cubs trailed, 10-2, when Frank Chance hit an inside-the-park home run in the top of the eighth.

The next day's Cincinnati Enquirer said:

"Another debutant, in the person of Pitcher Corridon, took Captain Chance's place at first base in the eighth inning after the champion base runner had winded himself making the circuit of the bases on a fluke four-bagger to center field."

Chance returned to action in the Cubs' next game, but as catcher, substituting for Johnny Kling, while Corridon played first base.

Corridon went 0 for 5 in that game, then 0 for 4 the next, while Chance rested.

Corridon played first again once in late May, then twice in June. The last of the 3 was on June 20, at Cincinnati.

...

"The game started out pleasantly," the Tribune reported, "and all was harmony for three innings until Umpire [August] Moran made some of his decisions contrary to the pleasure of the visiting team, and then several lusty howls were made by Colts, and outcome was that Catcher Kling was ordered out of the game and Capt. Chance took Kling's place behind the bat, and Corridon was sent in to cover first base.

"Corridon only figured in the game until the close of the inning, and then Manager [Frank] Selee ordered [Otto] Williams, his utility man, to relieve him at first."

Corridon did not bat, leaving him 1 for 11 as a first baseman, the hit a double after he had spelled Chance at Philadelphia on June 4.

...

On July 19, at home, Corridon started in right and went 2 for 4, both singles, as the Cubs walked off the Phillies, 1-0.

That made him 3 for 6 as an outfielder, as he had singled and struck out while playing left on May 27 in a 3-2 win at home against the Cardinals.

"The home team suffered a still further handicap by the injury of Kling, who was compelled to do substitute duty again for [Jack] McCarthy in left field," the Tribune said.

"Kling turned an ankle sliding for second in the fourth inning, and, after limping through a couple more rounds, was obliged to retire, Corridon taking his place.

"Corridon got a fly mixed up with the sun and dropped it, but, like all of Chicago's misplays, it did not count in the run column."

...

After his 2 hits on July 19, Corridon never played the outfield or anywhere else for the Cubs, as the next day they traded him to the Phillies.

As a pitcher, he was 5-5 as a Cub, with an ERA of 2.64. He started 21 games and completed 20, including a shutout. He finished 3 other games, working a total of 194.2 innings.

For the Phillies, Corridon was 59-48, 2.61, in 5-plus seasons, including 18-14, 2.46, in 1907 and 14-10, 2.51 in 1908.

He had a career-best 2.11 ERA in 1909, while going 11-7. On Jan. 20, 1910, he was traded to the Reds, who 2 weeks later sent him to the Cardinals.

A 6-14, 3.81 performance that season ended his big league career at 70-67, 2.80, with 99 complete games in 140 starts.

He had 24 decisions in an unknown number of games in the minors in 1911 and 1913, then retired at age 32.

...

DUTCH RUETHER

After Vic Saier broke his leg on April 15, 1917, the 23-year-old rookie lefty played first for 5 consecutive games, then gave way to veteran Fred Merkle, who had been purchased from Brooklyn in the wake of Saier's gruesome injury.

Those were Ruether's only games in the field for the Cubs other than as a pitcher. On the mound, he was 2-0, with a 2.48 ERA, in 10 games, 5 of them starts, only 1 of which he completed: his big league debut, on April 13, in which he beat the Pirates, 6-1, on 6 hits, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts.

He lasted only 4.2 innings in a start at Pittsburgh on June 23, relieved twice at Cincinnati on July 2 and 4, then was placed on waivers and picked up by the Reds.

...

Ruether went 19-6, with a 1.82 ERA, to help Cincinnati win the pennant in 1919. He continued to pitch for the Reds, then 3 other teams, for 8 more years. He won 21 games for the Robins, today's Dodgers, in 1922, and 18 for the Senators, in 1925. He won at least 10 games in each of his last 9 seasons, capped by 13 for the 1927 Yankees, and ended his career 137-95, with a 3.50 ERA and a WAR of 29.1.

..........

TOMORROW: More pitchers who did more than pitch

FanPosts are written by readers of Bleed Cubbie Blue, and as such do not reflect the views of SB Nation or Vox Media, nor is the content endorsed by SB Nation, Vox Media or Al Yellon, managing editor of Bleed Cubbie Blue or reviewed prior to posting.