FanPost

Cubs pitchers who played other positions, Part 2

Second in a series of posts about Cubs pitchers since 1901 who have played other positions in the field. The first post focused on those who played first base.

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CARL LUNDGREN

As you might expect, the middle infield position have been manned by the fewest pitchers.

Only 4 men have played second base, a total of 7 times, and just 1 has played shortstop, a total of 2 times.

Lundgren is the only pitcher who played both.

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The right hander spent his entire 8-season career with the Cubs.

In each of the first 3 years, 1902-04, he lost 9 games, but his win total rose steadily, from 9 to 11 to 17.

After a 13-5 mark in 1905, he went 17-6 in 1906 and 18-7 in 1907. His career record at that point was 85-45, with a 2.20 earned run average, and 116 complete games in 133 starts, including 18 shutouts.

Then his arm went dead, and in 1908 he finished 6-9, 4.22, on a team that otherwise was 93-46, and on which no other starter had an ERA higher than 2.27. He was left at home on late-season road trips, then did not pitch as the Cubs won their second straight World Series.

He pitched 4.1 innings in 2 games early in 1909, then was waived. Brooklyn claimed him, but only to send him to the minors, where to toiled for 3 years before retiring, after 1912, at age 32.

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Back in 1902, Lundgren had made his big league debut on June 19, going the distance in a 7-5 win at Cincinnati. Two of the runs were unearned. He allowed 9 hits.

After losing his next 2 starts, he shut out the Giants in a 7-inning game on July 8, then beat them again 5 days later, giving up 1 run on 8 hits.

The day after that, the Orphans, as the Cubs were called at the time, were scheduled to host the Brooklyn Robins.

"Joe Tinker showed up at the park on crutches," the Chicago Tribune explained, "with one foot cramped all out of shape and a report from his doctor to the effect that he had strained one of the ligaments in his ankle so badly that he would be out for several weeks, if not for the rest of the season.

"Manager [Frank] Selee looked over his list of patients, and finding none of them ready for battle chose Pitcher Lundgren to cover short. Just as he was beginning to think he would have to do a uniform himself to make up the full quota Outfielder [Jack] Hendricks reported for duty and was assigned to the right garden."

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Hendricks went 2 for 3, including a triple, and Lundgren was 0 for 3, with a strikeout, as the Orphans won behind the 7-hit pitching of Jack Taylor.

"The visitors had few chances to make runs and let those few escape,' said the Tribune. "In the fifth, with [Charlie] Irwin at second and 1 out, Taylor fanned his rival for slab honors, passed [Jimmy] Sheckard, and made [Willie] Keeler hit one straight at Lundgren."

That was among 4 chances that Lundgren handled flawlessly, including a popup.

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He started at short again the next day, with less success:

"The first four Brooklyn players to face Jock Menefee at the West Side grounds yesterday afternoon caught the ball squarely on the seams and planted it in safe territory.

"Then Menefee managed to stop the next two men, but another base hit and slip by Lundgren allowed four of the visitors to complete the circuit of bases and the downfall of the Colts was accomplished."

Only 2 of the runs actually scored in the first, on a 2-out single by Irwin.

In the fourth, with 2 out and Keeler on first, Bill Dahlen hit a grounder to Lundgren: "The ex-college pitcher fielded the ball well enough but made a bad throw to first and 'Bullhead' was safe, while Keeler reached third. Dahlen immediately purloined second and came home with Keeler when Ahearn [true name: Hughie Hearne] smashed out a double."

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Lundgren faltered at the plate, too.

"Selee's men might have won the game in the fifth," the Tribune declared, "had either Lundgren or [Germany] Schaefer been able to hit the ball."

They scored 3 runs in the inning, closing to within 6-4. "Then with one out and with Hendricks on third and [Johnny] Kling on first, Lundgren struck out and Schaefer hit right into [second baseman Tim] Flood's hands, forcing Kling and retiring the side.

"After this the Colts discontinued operations on the scoring line," while the Robins scored twice more to win, 8-4.

The Colts had 15 hits, including at least 2 by 6 players. Lundgren was 0 for 5 and finished with 3 of the team's 4 errors.

Mike Jacobs, called up from Davenport, Iowa, of the Class B "Three-Eye" League, was at shortstop 24 hours later for the series finale. Lundgren never played short again.

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He did return to the infield once, however.

On Oct. 4, 1906, in their next-to-last game of the season, the Cubs recorded their 115th victory of the year.

"The Spuds won another game today, taking the first game from the Pirates, 4 to 0," the Tribune said, using its pet name for the team owned by Charles Murphy.

"Handicaps do not seem to have any effect on the new champions, for, with two-thirds of the regular infield missing, Chance and his men won easily."

Shortstop Joe Tinker and third baseman Harry Steinfeldt "have been given a leave of absence for a few days," the paper noted. "Evers was moved over to third and Lundgren was at second, while [Solly] Hofman played a star game at short."

Lundgren was credited with 3 putouts and 2 assists, and made no errors -- nor did any of the Cubs.

They scored single runs in the fourth and fifth, and the score remained 2-0 through the eighth.

"Chance started a batting rally in the ninth with a two bagger to deep left. [Doc] Gessler rolled out, and with the infield and outfield playing in close, Lundgren planted a long fly in deep center over [Ginger] Beaumont's head, bringing in Chance.

"Lundy later scored on Evers' infield hit and a wild throw by first baseman [Joe] Nealon."

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Lundgren's double was the last of 8 he hit in 537 plate appearances in his career. He had 3 triples but no home runs. The RBI was his 26th. He added 1 each in his final 2 season, which consisted of 25 games, all on the mound.

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BOB SMITH

Smith shares his combination of first and last names with no fewer than 6 other Major Leaguers -- 7 if you include Bobby Smith.

But this Bob Smith, a right hander, pitched in the big leagues for 13 years, despite being 3 days short of his 28th birthday when he made his debut, with the Braves, as a pinch runner on April 19, 1923.

That year and the next, he batted .251, then .228 in 121 games at short and second. In 1925, his age-30 season, he played 35 games in the infield and 1 in the outfield, but pitched in 13. After that, he pitched 422 times and played elsewhere just 8.

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As a pitcher, from 1925-30, he had a 59-82 record, with a 4.09 earned run average, while completing 83 of 143 starts, 8 of them shutouts. His ERA+ was 101.

On Oct. 14, 1930, Boston traded him to the Cubs, along with Jimmy Welsh, for Bill McAfee and Schulmerich. It was not exactly an earth-shaking deal.

In 1931 Smith lowered his ERA to 3.22 as he won a career-high 15 games and lost only 12, for his first winning record since he had been 5-3 in 1925.

But in 1932, as the Cubs won the pennant, Smith was only 4-3, 4.61. He appeared in 34 games, only 2 fewer than the previous year, but made just 11 starts, down from 29.

His final start was on Sept. 5, when he gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 4.1 innings. He relieved in 4 later games, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits in 6.0 innings. Four of the 6 came in the last of the games, on Sept. 22, at home against the Pirates.

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Two days earlier, in front of 38,000 delirious fans, the Cubs had clinched the pennant by beating Pittsburgh in Game 1 of a doubleheader.

"One look at the box score will tell you all you need to know about the second game," the Tribune said. "Manager [Charlie] Grimm was so happy that he went much further than his previously announced rest program.

"He made all the replacements he had promised. Then he relieved [Billy] Herman in the second inning after Herman had preserved his record of being in every game since joining the Cubs."

The Cubs lost the meaningless contest, 3-0, managing only 3 hits and 1 walk. Smith was 0 for 3, with the team's only strikeout. But he had a putout and 6 assists on defense. One of the assists was on a 6-4-3 double play. He did not play again in the regular season.

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Smith pitched the final inning of Game 1 of the World Series at New York, giving up a run on 2 hits and a walk as the Yankees rolled to a 12-6 win that ignited a 4-game sweep.

On the last day of November, Smith was among 4 players sent to the Reds for veteran Babe Herman.

Herman lasted 2 years with the Cubs; Smith, only a year and a half with the Reds before they cut him loose. He returned to Boston, where he went 24-42, with a 4.24 ERA before retiring after 1937, at age 42.

For his career, he was 106-139, 3.94 -- and an ERA+ of exactly 100.

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The 2 times that Jack Taylor played second base, in 1902 and 1903, were described in the previous post, as were his 13 games at third base.

The only other games in which a pitcher played second were 2, by Jock Menefee, in 1901 and 1902. Menefee also played 2 at third base, both in 1902.

His tale will be told in a later post in this series.

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FRANK MORRISSEY

A 26-year-old right hander, Morrissey had 2 singles and 3 walks in 25 trips to the plate for the Orphans in 1902. Whether he batted right or left handed is lost to history.

What is known is that on Sept. 20 he played third base in every inning of both games of a doubleheader at Cincinnati, going 0 for 4, then 1 for 3 plus a walk, as the Orphans swept the Reds, 4-0 and 3-1.

Germany Schaefer had been the team's regular third baseman from the first week of June until Aug. 24. He missed 18 games, returned to play in 4, then missed the final 10, beginning Sept. 18.

Jack Taylor played third that day. A rainout then resulted in the 2 games on the 20th in which Morrissey manned the position.

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The Tribune's coverage has little say about Morrissey's day:

"In the fourth [of Game 1], with one out, [Larry] Schlafly tripled to center and Morrissey fouled to [third baseman Harry[ Steinfeldt. Evers bunt single and Schlafly scored."

In Game 2, "In the seventh, with one out, [John] Dobbs singled to center, but was forced at second by Chance. [Pitcher Bill] Phillips let Kling's bunt go through him and Tinker struck out. [Center fielder Cy] Seymour misjudged Schlafly's three bagger and Chance and Kling scored. Morrissey fouled out to Steinfeldt."

Morrissey had had 1 assist in the first game. In the second, he had 2 putouts, no assists and was charged with 2 of the Orphans' 3 errors.

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Morrissey had made his pitching debut for the Cubs on Sept. 3, surrendering 13 hits in a 4-0 loss at Brooklyn. He had lost, 2-1, on 8 hits, at Boston on the 8th, then pitched a 4-hit, 7-2 win at New York on the 11th.

The day after his 2 starts at third base, Morrissey started Game 2 of a doubleheader at home against the Pirates and lost, 4-1, with all the runs unearned. He allowed 9 hits.

On Oct. 4, at St. Louis, he yielded 4 runs, all earned, on 9 more hits, in a game halted after 7 innings with the score tied.

That made his record for the year 1-3, with a 2.23 ERA.

And that marked the end of his association with the Cubs. They did not put him on their protected list and he wound up pitching the next season for Manchester, N.H., of the New England League, a team he first had played for in 1899 and from which he came to the Cubs in August 1902.

He never pitched in the big leagues again but kept pitching in the minors until 1911, at age 35.

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GENE LILLARD

Run a search at baseball-reference.com for Cubs who were "Typically a pitcher" and select all positions except pitcher, pinch hitter and pinch runner.

Among the results will be Gene Lillard, who played 3 games at third base and 4 at shortstop as a Cub, as well as pitching in 20 games, including 7 starts.

But all of Lillard's games in the infield came before he ever threw a pitch from the mound -- 3 years before!

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Lillard was 22 on May 8, 1936, when he made his big league debut, drawing a walk as a pinch hitter in the Cubs' 11-9 loss at home to the Cardinals.

He pinch hit again the next day, then once more 3 days later. That time, he batted for Stan Hack and grounded into inning-ending double play. He stayed in the game, playing third, and flied out in the top of ninth. The Cubs lost to the Giants, 5-4, on a 2-out RBI single in bottom.

From May 26-29, Lillard played in all 4 games of a series at home against the Reds.

He started at shortstop in the opener, a 10-4 win, and went 2 for 5, including an RBI double that scored the third of the Cubs' 7 runs in the third inning. He came home 2 batters later on a double by Hack, then singled in the seventh and scored on 2-run double by Billy Herman.

The next day, again at short, Lillard grounded out, struck out and hit into double play before being pinch hit for in the ninth inning of 5-3 loss.

In the third game, he replaced Woody English at short after English was hit by a pitch during a 3-run bottom of the third. He was 0 for 2 as the Cubs won, 11-5.

Lillard started in place of English in the series finale. He reached on error, had an RBI groundout, singled and scored on groundout, then flied out in 8-1 win.

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His only other games in the field were June 8 and 9, when he started at third against the visiting Dodgers.

The first day, he was at the top of the batting order and went 1 for 5, with 2 strikeouts, in a 10-4 win. He also made 2 errors.

The next day, batting eighth, Lillard was 0 for 3, with a walk and 2 strikeouts. The Cubs swept the series, 4-3, on a no-out, bases-loaded walk in the ninth.

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In his 7 games in the field, Lillard was 4 for 24, with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts.

He did not play in the Cubs' next 20 games. He also sat out 15 from between July 9 and 23,then 34 between July 30 and Sept. 1.

He has no minor league record for 1936, and there is no mention of an injury in any stories in the Tribune during those months. He apparently simply was not used.

Lillard pinch hit 5 times during September, making 2 hits, to finish the season with a slash line of .206/.270/.235.

He spent the next 2 years in the Pacific Coast League before making it back to the Cubs in 1939 --as a pitcher.

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In his first 2 appearances, April 26 and 30, Lillard pitched back-to-back, 1-run complete games in which he allowed 8, then 10 hits.

In his next 4 starts, he surrendered 23 runs, 19 earned, on 21 hits in just 18.2 innings, an ERA of 9.16.

The rest of the season, he pitched 14 times, but started only once, on July 9 at Cincinnati. He was removed after facing 6 batters, of whom 4 made hits and 1 walked.

He ended the year 3-5, with a 6.55 ERA and a WHIP of 1.891, largely due to 36 walks (8 intentional) in 55 innings. He struck out 31.

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On Dec. 27, the Cubs shipped Lillard to the Cardinals, with little-used third baseman Steve Mesner and cash, for rookie pitcher Ken Raffensberger.

Raffensberger was just 7-10, with a 3.53 ERA, in 2 seasons as a Cub, then went 112-144 in 13 seasons split between the Phillies and Reds.

Lillard was pitched in only 2 games for the Cardinals, on May 15 and 20, 1940. He threw only 4.2 innings during which he allowed 7 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks. Then he was dispatched to the minors, ending his big league career after 44 games over 3 seasons: 22 as a position player and 22 as a pitcher.

In the minors, he played a remarkable total of 2,142 games, 1,319 of them after his final big league contest, but only 79 as a pitcher. He played for 10 different farm teams in 1941-42, then 1946-54. He was 40 when he retired after dividing his final season between Fresno of the California League and Calgary of the Western International League.

In the majors, he batted .182 and slugged .205. In the minors, .303 and .525.

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TOMORROW: Pitchers turned outfielders

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