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The Spectrum Club December 28, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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This year, I get to induct two more players into the prestigious* Spectrum Club.
*not a guarantee

The Spectrum Club is the elite group of players who play, in one season, at both ends of the Defensive Spectrum. At the end of a season, a player is inducted if he pitches in at least one game and appears as designated hitter in at least one game. As it stands, that leaves about ten pitchers who only served as placeholder DHs but never made a plate appearance on the rolls, but that’s okay.

Three players have joined the Spectrum Club twice – Jeff Kunkel in 1988 and 1989 for Texas, Mark Loretta in 2001 for the Brewers and 2009 for the Dodgers, and Wade Boggs in 1997 for the Yankees and 1999 for Tampa Bay. Baltimore leads the club in inductees with six.

This year’s first inductee is Aaron Miles of the Cardinals, who actually pitched twice (August 3 in a loss to  Houston and September 28 in a loss to Pittsburgh). Making it more impressive, Miles DHed only once, in an interleague win over Kansas City on June 26. Miles is an experienced pitcher, having tossed twice in 2007 and once in 2008. Tony Larussa has quite the commodity there, and I bet he wishes he’d had Miles on hand for that crazy 20-inning game against the Mets on April 17.

The second player to join the club is Andy Marte of Cleveland. Marte DHed twice, once on July 10 in a loss to the Rays and once on September 7. His single inning pitched came as part of the Best Game Ever, a July 29 loss to the Yankees in which the Yankees lost their DH and Marte struck out Nick Swisher.

Who’s the smart money on for Spectrum Club inductions in 2011? Joe Mather and Felipe Lopez are both reasonable hitters and both pitched for Tony Larussa in the Mets-Cardinals game. If Lopez stays with the Red Sox, he might be called on to DH an odd late game, and Terry Francona has been known to use position players in emergencies. Ike Davis may well be asked to DH interleague games for the Mets, and he was a closer in college, so he’d be a solid emergency reliever. If I had to guess, though, I’d figure that the next Spectrum Club inductee will be Nick Swisher getting his second induction for the Yankees.

Appearances as Pitcher and DH June 17, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Earlier this year, Felipe Lopez pitched in relief for the St. Louis Cardinals in their 20-inning game against the Mets. Last year, he also played DH during an interleague game for Arizona. That made me curious how many players have at least one appearance each at DH and pitcher. I generated this table at Baseball Reference to check.

Several of these – for example, the bottom two in the list – were pitchers who started games at DH to allow their managers to insert hitting specialists when the DH came up. This led to a rule that the DH has to come to bat at least once unless the opposing team changes pitchers.

More interesting are the three at the top of the list – Jeff Kunkel, Wade Boggs, and Mark Loretta – all of whom have two seasons in which they both DHed and pitched. Loretta pitched an inning in 2001 and a single out in 2009, with Kunkel pitching for Texas in 1988 and 1989 and Boggs pitching for the Yankees in 1997 and the Rays in 1999. Hopefully the Cards will find an excuse to DH Lopez at some point this year just to even things out.