Cubs pitchers who played other positions, Part 4

Fourth and last 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; the second, those who played second, third and short; and the third; those who played left and center field.


Twenty-seven Cubs who typically were pitchers have played at least once at other positions on the field.

One of those 27 did so far more than any of the others.

John "Jock" Menefee pitched in 63 games between 1901 and 1903, starting 58, completing 52, finishing 5 and averaging 175.2 innings. His record was 28-32; his earned run average, 3.06.

But when he wasn't pitching, he played 6 other positions, all but catcher and shortstop, sometimes more than 1 in a game, for a total of 73 times.

That's more than 40 percent of all 168 appearances by pitchers other than on the mound.

It's 50 more than the second most such appearances, 23 by Bob Wicker, all in the outfield.

Menefee played 46 in the outfield, twice as many as Wicker. He played 23 at first base, 17 more than runnerup Frank Corridon. He played twice at second base and twice at third.

He played left field 6 times; center field, once; and right field in a remarkable 39 games. That last number alone is 70 percent more than Wicker's second-best total of 23.



The 6-foot, 165-pound right hander turned professional in 1891, at age 23, with a team in Erie, Pa., about 165 miles north of his birthplace in Belle Vernon, south of Pittsburgh.

The next year, he pitched for Wilkes-Barre, Pa., then made his Major League debut with the Pirates, allowing 6 runs (5 earned) on 10 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings.

He was with Louisville, another National League team, in 1893 and part of 1894, then returned to the Pirates.

But after allowing 8 runs on 2 hits and 7 walks in 2 games in 1895, he was cut loose.

He did not make it back to the majors this time until 1898, at age 30, and then for just 1 bad start as a Giant: 9.1 innings, 8 runs (5 earned), 11 hits and 2 walks.


If he played in 1896, there is no record of what he did. By 1900, now 32, he was a member of the Orphans, as the Cubs then were known. He went 9-4, 3.85, in 16 games, completing 11 of 13 starts.

Nearly a decade earlier, in 1892-93, Menefee had played 8 games in the outfield. He was strictly a pitcher in his first season in Chicago, but in his second, 1901, he found himself at first base twice, at second once and in left, center and right 5, 1 and 18 times, respectively, for a total of 27 games in the field.

A year later: 18 at first, 1 at second, 2 at third, 1 in left and 21 in right.


Menefee's first out-of-position appearance was his one and only in center field.

On June 16, 1901, the Orphans hosted the Giants. When center fielder Danny Green was called out at first on a close play in the fourth inning, "Green was wild and ran all around the field," the Chicago Tribune reported. "He started to his position in the next inning, but [umpire Elmer] Cunningham chased him out to the clubhouse. Green stood in center for several minutes trying to tell Cunningham what he thought, but the wind was against him."

Manager Tom Loftus told Menefee to replace the banished Green, and Menefee had an eventful day thereafter.


In the eighth inning, New York scored twice to tie the game at 4.

"With the bases filled, [Curt] Bernard hit safe to center," said the Tribune. "Menefee hurried the play and got the ball to [catcher Mike] Kahoe just as [Charlie] Hickman slid. Kahoe had to reach a little for the ball, and the fraction of a second let Hickman reach the plate at least as soon as the ball touched him."

In the 10th, the first Giant reached base on an error. "Then Menefee . . . went over into right to help [Frank] Chance, who was lame, and muffed Hickman's fly, which should have been easy for Chance."

The error, Menefee's second, left runners on second and third, but they were stranded on a short fly, a strikeout, an intentional walk and another short fly.


"In the eleventh the Chicago rooters rose with a roar of delight when Menefee, who had reached third on a hit and [second baseman Ray] Nelson's throw, slid crashing into [catcher Frank] Bowerman at the plate. There was a grand rush off the field and wild applause, but Cunningham waved Menefee out, and, in spite of the kick [i.e., argument], held to his decision."

Chance, despite his lameness, made a spectacular catch in the 12th on a long drive by Hickman.

"By desperate springing, [he] grabbed the ball just as he reached the foul line, and, staggering ten feet across foul ground, he crashed against the fence, shoving his arm through the wire netting over the bleacher barrier and dropping the ball.

"Cunningham had a choice between calling it a hit and allowing a home run or declaring Chance held the ball long enough to get a putout, and he called Hickman out."

The deadlock continued until the game was halted by darkness after 14 innings.


Menefee was 2 for 4, a pair of singles, in the game. He had the same numbers 4 days later, June 20, but both were doubles, and this time he played left in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Beaneaters, today's Braves. He was in left again the next day, when he made another double and was hit by a pitch.

On June 25, at Brooklyn, "Both teams were crippled, and before they finished their argument both were more so. [Second baseman Cupid] Childs touched a runner too hard, sprained his wrist, and quit, leaving Jocko Menefee to fill the gap."

Menefee made outs in his only 2 at bats, but had 1 hit while playing left in both ends of a doubleheader on July 27 at Philadelphia.

The next day, he started at first but at some point returned to left, swapping roles with Chance. Menefee drove in 2 runs in the game with a single and also was hit by a pitch.

At that point, Menefee had played 7 games in the field, going 8 for 24. In those games, the Orphans were 0-6-1.


Menefee stuck to pitch for more than a month, until July 21, when Chance injured his finger in practice prior to a game at home against the Giants. He soldiered through 6 innings, then was replaced by Menefee, marking his first appearance in right field.

He made an out in his only trip to the plate, but stole a base. His slash line for the season: .290/.347/.362, with 20 hits, including 5 doubles, in 69 at bats.

Menefee manned right through the next 4 games, until Chance was healthy again, then in 12 more games from Aug. 21 through Sept. 2.

He made 1 final off-the-mound appearance, on Oct. 6, the final day of the season, a 9-5 loss at home to the Pirates.

"[Orphans starter Tom] Hughes came in for a severe roasting from the bleachers," the Tribune wrote. "He was the only twirler available, as Menefee was playing first in the shift occasioned by the absence of [Barry] McCormick, who was nursing a lame ankle."

Menefee went 0 for 5 to the year at .257/.327/.329. His 39 hits (31 singles, 5 doubles, 3 triples) drove in 13 runs.


The next season, 1902, Menefee had 15 RBI and made 50 hits, but only 4 doubles and 1 triple, as his numbers fell to .231/.303/.259.

He was 1 for 4 at the top of the order at Philadelphia on June 13 while playing left in place of Jimmy Slagle, who had a sore foot.

Then he manned right in 9 games between June 30 and July 16.

When Chance was injured on Aug. 18, Menefee took over at first, as described in the first post in this series. He played there 18 more times through Sept. 13.

During that same span, he played right in both games of a doubleheader on Aug. 24, then second base the next day and third in the Orphans' next game, 3 days later, before returning to first the day after that.

On Sept. 21, he was at first for Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Cardinals, then in right for Game 2. Five more appearances in right concluded his odyssey. The last 2 came as the Orphans won twice at St. Louis on the final day of the season.


Menefee was 35 when the 1903 season began. Whether because of his age, or some other reason, he was stationed elsewhere than the mound only twice.

On May 7, with the Cubs leading the Cardinals, 9-0, in the sixth, he gave Chance a breather, replacing him at first.

Exactly 2 months later, "Chicago's Colts were further crippled . . . by the absence of Chance from first base," the Tribune reported, "which compelled Manager [Frank] Selee to make another infield switch, and the team offered Philadelphia a poor argument in the first game of their series of four.

"The score at the finish was 6 to 3 and the Phillies had the game practically clinched all the way. . . Raub was stationed at third, Evers returned to his own spot, and Menefee filled in at first."

Batting second, Menefee had 1 of the Orphans' 5 hits. In the field, he made 11 putouts.

He appeared in 12 more games as an Orphan, all as a pitcher.


Menefee's non-pitching appearances came in 71 distinct games, in which he batted .217/.294/.272. The Orphans' record in those games: 30-39-2.



A 28-year-old right hander, Walter Merrill "Pop" Williams was 11-16 with a 2.49 ERA in 1902, his first season with the Orphans. All of his 32 games were starts and he completed 27 of them, 1 a shutout.

In his first start of 1903, he gave up 3 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings. Then he was sold to the Phillies.

He played right field 6 times as a rookie. The first time, on June 11, he batted cleanup, going 0 for 4. He batted first, second, third twice and eighth in the other games, which came between July 11 and Sept. 1, half of them Aug. 20-25.

All, oddly, were against Boston or Philadelphia. He was 2 for 4 once against the Phillies and 3 for 6 against the Beaneaters.

In all 6 games, Williams was 7 for 28, all singles. He walked once and struck out 4 times.



Williams' 6 games in right were double the 3 by Teachout, who had the third most appearances at the position among Cubs pitchers.

Teachout, a lefty, was 11-4, 4.06 in 40 games, 15 of them starts, for the Cubs as a 26-year-old rookie in 1930. He was 1-2, 5.72, in 3 starts and 27 total games the next year, then ended his brief big league career with 1 inning as a Cardinal in 1932.


When he made his debut in right field, on Sept. 4, 1931, his name was featured in a headline that stretched nearly across the entire first sports page of the next day's Tribune:


Irving Vaughan's account of the game began:

"Cincinnati, O., Sept. 4. -- The Cubs, now balanced precariously between third and fourth places, were just the shell of their former selves again today. They didn't have the pitching that could begin to fool those who should have been fooled.

"So with a young pitcher trying to play the outfield and the $35,000 Hack Wilson on the side lines awaiting final sentence, the Chicagoans were driven back by the talented Reds, 12 to 3. It was the fifth time in a row that the Rhinelanders had done this same thing to the prides of Wrigley Field."


"The pitcher picked to do some outfielding was Bud Teachout," the story said later. "The vacancy arose suddenly when Vin Barton was called to Toronto by the death of a brother. Wilson was the only other fly chaser available.

" 'Hack knows he is through as a Cub, so it would hardly be fair either to himself or the team to play him,' was [Manager Rogers] Hornsby's only comment on the surprising move. There was no hostility involved.

"In the next breath Hornsby added that 'so long as Teachout has been able to do nothing as a pitcher and yet possesses all around ability, nothing could be lost by trying to develop him into a fly chaser.'

"The ex-collegian didn't have to catch anything today, but he wore himself weary pursuing the hostile drives."


The Reds outhit the Cubs, 21-11. Teachout singled in his first at bat, sending a runner to third, who then scored on a sacrifice fly. The next batter singled, but Teachout overran second and was tagged out.

Still, the Cubs trailed by only 2-1 until the Reds erupted for 8 runs in the third.

Teachout was hitless in his final 3 at bats, striking out once.

In the ninth, with 1 out and nobody on, Hornsby sent Wilson up as a pinch hitter. He fouled out to the catcher.


The next day, Teachout grounded out in his first 2 at bats, but the second advanced a runner to third who then scored on a sacrifice fly. He bunted into a forceout in the seventh and grounded out again leading off the 10th.

The Reds won, 4-3, on a 2-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the inning.


The Cubs raced home after the defeat to host the Pirates the following day, Sunday, as they often did while baseball was prohibited on the Sabbath in Pennsylvania.

Teachout led off the second with a single and was the first of 2 runners who scored on a 1-out hit by Gabby Hartnett.

He was retired in his next 2 at bats, then called out on strikes in the eighth with a runner on first and nobody out. That runner eventually came home, bringing the Cubs to within 5-4, but that's how the game ended.

It also ended Teachout's career in the outfield. In the 3 games, he was 2 for 12, with 2 strikeouts.



Seven Cubs pitchers played right field exactly once: Tom Hughes (in 1901), Frank Corridon (1904), Ed Reulbach (1906), Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown (1907), Orval Overall (1910), "Big Jeff" Pfeffer (1910) and Claude Hendrix (1917).

Brown, Corridon and Hendrix each also played 1 game in left. Hughes, Reulbach, Pfeffer and Overall never played another game in the outfield -- although Overall played 1 at first base. His games there and in right were described in the first post of this series.



His lone appearance came under extraordinary circumstances, at New York on July 2, 1901. The game "was played in slow, dilatory fashion," according to the Tribune, "and the spectators and players alike shriveled up under the furnace-like heat."

The story continued:

"[Orphans first baseman] John Doyle, some time of New York, now leading [Manager Tom] Loftus' team in its rout, furnished the incidental divertissement by climbing into the right field bleachers, beating up an abusive spectator, and starting a small riot before the police could eject him.

"The man had been hurling personalities at Doyle, who stood it until the sixth inning, when he made a leap into the bleachers and captured his man. The crowd interfered, and aided by [Giants owner Andrew] Freedman's police, who are always reading to throw out a visitor, expelled Doyle.

"The Remnants' Captain injured his hand during the fight and quit the field."

With Doyle gone, Frank Chance shifted from right to first and Loftus sent Hughes to right. He singled in his only at bat, but the Orphans still lost, 6-4, despite Topsy Hartsel's 3 hits, the last a home run -- 1 of only 18 that the Orphans hit all season.



During a 12-7 win at Brooklyn on Sept. 26, 1906, "[Manager] Chance gave Tom Walsh an opportunity to do the catching place of [Johnny] Kling after the game was safe, and [Frank] Schulte was allowed a rest, Reulbach taking his place."

Schulte had homered and singled in 3 at bats before Reulbach pinch hit for him. Reulbach struck out, then did so again in his other trip to the plate.



"There was a lot of in and out business," the Tribune said of the Cubs' 7-6, 4-1 sweep of the Cardinals on June 26, 1907. "Mike Kahoe waded into the curtain raiser at first base, and Mr. Brown toiled some in right field. Mordecai wedged in because [umpire] Hank O'Day dropped [Del] Howard into the saltpeter tank for fussing about a strike in the sixth round. Del came back thoroughly cured for the second base, and his first basing was fine."

Brown made an out in his lone at bat after Howard's ejection.



When the Cubs beat the Phillies, 3-1, on Aug. 30, 1910, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound right hander played right for the home team and batted sixth, between Harry Steinfeldt and Heinie Zimmerman.

"Almost every pitcher on Manager Chance's staff was in line for the slab job yesterday," the Tribune said, "but Mordecai Brown was picked to win. . . . Behind him was the most patched up team the locals have presented this year.

"In addition to [Frank] Schulte's absence on a sad errand, [Jimmy] Sheckard was not sufficiently recovered from the terrific bump he received the day before to return to his position.

"[Joe] Tinker still was nursing his bum hand and the reserve forces were reduced by the fact [John] Kane was carrying one wrist in bandages on account of the wrench it received in Monday's doubleheader.

"The P.L. patched up an outfield with [Ginger] Beaumont in left and Frank [sic] Pfeffer in right. The infield was untouched from the day before with subs at short [Zimmerman] and first [Jimmy Archer]. Consequently, there were only three regulars in position behind the three-fingered hurlers. They were Steinfeldt, Evers, and [center fielder Solly] Hofman.

"But the way that team played ball, the three regulars could have been dislocated and still the grand old machine would have run right along as if every individual part of it were interchangeable with every other part."


The game was scoreless until the bottom of the eighth, when Evers drew a walk and eventually came home on a single by Archer. An error on a ground ball then loaded the bases.

"Pfeffer came up and justified Manager Chance's choice of right fielder by making a single through center, giving Hofman and Archer time to count."

In the ninth, [Johnny] Bates led off with a smash almost in to the right field stand, but Pfeffer held him at second. Bates was allowed to advance, then score, on 2 groundouts, after which Brown completed his 7-hitter."

The Cubs were idle for the next 6 days, by which time Schulte was healthy again, going 3 for 4 and playing right field while Pfeffer watched from the dugout.



The Cubs trailed, 3-0, in the eighth inning at New York on May 26, 1917. After Fred Merkle hit a leadoff double, Manager Fred Mitchell told Hendrix to pinch hit for center fielder Max Flack. He had dropped a fly ball with 2 outs and nobody on in the top of the inning. The next batter had singled, scoring a run.

Hendrix singled, too, with Merkle stopping a third. He came home moments later while Hendrix was forced out at second.

An error put the tying runs on base, but 2 popups snuffed out the rally.

Hendrix stayed in to play right, with Harry Wolter shifting to left, and Les Mann from left to center. Hendrix made no plays, but watched a mammoth solo home run sail over the fence behind him for the final run in the 4-1 defeat.

Wolter singled with 1 down in the Cubs' ninth, but Larry Doyle and so did Merkle, ending the game, as Hendrix waited in the on deck circle.

To this day, more than 104 years later, Hendrix remains the last Cubs pitcher whose only outfield appearance was as a right fielder.

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