Imperative Baseball Debate: What Is The Funniest Pitching Appearance By A Non-Pitcher?

Shortstop Wilson Valdez's pitching appearance on Wednesday night was a remarkable one, but on the scale of amusement, human white flag Paul Janish has him beat. Who is the funniest of a funny fraternity?

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RESULTS: The Funniest Pitching Appearance By A Non-Pitcher

This morning, you and I embarked on a quest to determine the funniest pitching appearance by a non-pitcher in baseball history. There is a lot of strong competition for this title, so let's get straight to it.

Jose Canseco (suggested by everyone in the entire world). This is my fault. Canseco wins this contest in a walk, obviously, and I meant to add a "besides Jose Conseco" condition to this exercise. I forgot, of course. Regardless, if you answered Canseco, the guy who begged to enter the game as a pitcher and immediately managed to foul up his rotator cuff, you are correct.

He will never be as funny as he was that day. Lord knows he's tried.

Mark Whiten (suggested by @TheRobMorse). Whiten pitched an inning for the Indians against the Athletics in 1998. He gave up the run, but somehow managed to strike out the side. Whiten is probably most famous for being one of 15 players in baseball history to hit four home runs in a single game, so I figured this would make for a slam-dunk piece of trivia.

I was wrong. Three of the 15 men to hit four homers in a game (Bobby Lowe, Rocky Colavito, and Whiten) were non-pitchers who made at least one pitching appearance in their careers. A fourth -- Jim Delahanty -- was the brother of Ed Delahanty, another non-pitcher who pitched. What the hell?

Cody McKay (suggested by and @mrmaguda). We have a weird one here. This guy, the son of Cardinals first-base coach Dave McKay, played only 37 games in his entire career -- a cup of coffee in 2002 and a stint in 2004. And yet, he played as a pitcher, a catcher, a first baseman, and a third baseman. Those are four very different positions.

Also strange: he made his lone pitching appearance in only his third game. In that game, he pitched two hitless innings. I can't in good conscience call this the funniest pitching appearance. It creeps me out too much.

Mark Grace (suggested by many). In 2002, Grace made the first and only pitching appearance of his career, and offered several yuks in the process by performing a dead-on imitation of teammate Mike Fetters. Video is not available on YouTube, and our lives are worse for it.

Dave McCarty (suggested by @BobbyJames11). McCarty, the patron saint of obscure journeymen (oh damn, maybe that should be our next debate), struck out three Orioles, including Rafael Palmeiro.

Also: I don't want to startle you, but how many baseball players named Dave can you name? Plenty, right? Now, how many of those are active? ZERO. Our nation's supply of Daves is dwindling at an alarming rate.

(UPDATE: Astute reader Dylan M. has pointed out that I completely forgot to account for Dave Bush. There you have it. I think that's the only one I'm missing. Then again, every time I try to consider this issue, I invariably think of Dave Martinez and then start thinking about how weird the 2001 Braves were.)

Gene Michael (suggested by meo627). This one gives Canseco's appearance a serious run for its money. In 1968, Michael made his lone pitching effort for the Yankees against the Angels. His line: 3.0 IP, 5 R, 0 ER. Here's how the top of the 8th went down.

Fregosi reaches first on error.
Reichardt bunts, is thrown out, Fregosi advances to second. (1 OUT)
Kirkpatrick singles, Fregosi to third.
Knoop is hit by pitch, bases loaded.
Repoz strikes out. (2 OUT)
Egan hits ground-rule double. Fregosi and Kirkpatrick score, both runs unearned.
McGlothlin doubles, Egan and Knoop score, both runs unearned.
Hinton singles, McGlothlin scores, run unearned.
Cottier flies out. (3 OUT)

It's especially strange, because he seemed destined to be a pitcher from the get-go. His name was Gene, which is such a pitcher's name, and his career OPS was .572. In another life, perhaps.

Thanks again for your help, friends. I feel as though we've learned a lot today. Seriously, remind me to make the next Imperative Baseball Debate about journeymen.

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