One of baseball’s enduring lures is its quirkiness and its veneration of oddities, bloopers, and incredulous stats. Fans of the game are entertained by those moments etched in the record books or thrown on the scrapheap of ineptitude or irrelevance. One of its most interesting oddities occurred on September 15, 1971.
September 15, 1971
Robin Yount is a hall-of-famer; one of the best players of his generation. Yount was a power-hitting shortstop who later moved to the outfield and became one of the few players to win the MVP award at two different positions.
Larry Yount is Robin’s older brother. He is not in the Hall of Fame, never won an MVP award, and is not recognized as one of the all-time greats.
However, he is in the record books.
Field of Dreams and Yount
Fans of the Field of Dreams, will remember the character Moonlight Graham. Most people probably know that he was based on a real person, Archibald “Moonlight” Graham. Though the movie changed some of the dates, Graham replaced the New York Giants right-fielder for defensive purposes in the top of the ninth during a game against the Brooklyn Superbas in 1905. He was on-deck when the last out was made in the bottom of the ninth and never got to bat. That was the last major-league opportunity he would ever have.
W.P. Kinsella, the author of the book noticed Graham’s unusual entry in The Baseball Encyclopedia and included him as a character in his book.
Yount’s career was perhaps even more unusual. As a twenty-one year old rookie with the Houston Astros in 1971, he injured his right shoulder on his first warm-up toss. Because he had been announced as the new pitcher for the Astros, he was officially in the game and consequently in the record books.
He never got another chance in the big leagues. What does he tell his friends and his children? Sure, I made it to the Show. Never gave up a run!
He is officially the only pitcher to appear in a game (according to the record book) and never face a batter.
One game played. No batters faced. No plate appearances. No strikeouts, walks, hit batters, runs allowed. Nothing. If W.P. Kinsella hadn’t passed on a couple years back, perhaps a new book with a new character straight out of baseball’s odd history would be in the offing.