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Gehrig, Stillman & Ryal – At Your Service

Posted by Steve Lombardi on March 27, 2010

One of my favorite sorts via Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index Batting Game Finder - left-handed throwing "shortstops" who batted lead-off in a game since 1920:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF ROE
1 Royle Stillman 1975-09-12 BAL DET W 6-4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Royle Stillman 1975-09-17 BAL BOS W 5-2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
3 Royle Stillman 1975-09-27 (1) BAL NYY L 2-3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Mark Ryal 1987-09-04 CAL NYY L 4-8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Lou Gehrig 1934-07-14 NYY DET L 11-12 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0   0 0 0 0  
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/27/2010.

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It's a trick - where the visiting team lists a "SS" as their lead-off hitter in the game - and he's not really a "SS." And, after the player bats in the top of the first inning, when his team takes the field in the first inning, the real "SS" replaces him in the game. Lou Gehrig did this to extend his consecutive games played streak. And, Earl Weaver used it a few times to avoid one Mark Belanger PA in a given game. Gene Mauch picked it up and used it once too.

But, technically, for the record, because of the line-up card rules, yes, these left-handed throwing "shortstops" appeared in a game where they hit lead-off. Gehrig, Stillman and Ryal. How's that for a law firm? And, if you liked this list, here's another to check out.

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 27th, 2010 at 3:56 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Gehrig, Stillman & Ryal – At Your Service”

  1. Kahuna Tuna posting as Baab Tabb Kucab Says:

    Gehrig, Stillman and Ryal. How's that for a law firm?

    Not bad, not bad at all. (Even if it is a triple trochee.) For sheer euphony, though, it finishes a distant second to Pulsipher, Pittsley and Plunk.

  2. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I recall reading that the one involving Gehrig occurred on the day on which he was getting married.

  3. FWIW, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig gives the date of Gehrig's marriage as 29 September 1933.

  4. Reportedly, Gegrig was "wracked by lumbago" and that's why they pulled the SS lead-off stunt with him. If you do a search of books, via Google, you'll see many references to this.

    BTW, in looking this up, here's another nice LH/SS feature that I found:

    http://www.immaculateinning.com/2008/08/left-handed-shortstops.html

  5. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    AS #4 referred to, Gehrig had serious back trouble, so manager Joe McCarthy listed him in the line-up as the "shortstop" and batting first, to extend Gehrig's consecutive-game streak, which was over nine years old by this time. Gehrig never actually took the field as SS, since NY was on the road and batting first. Gehrig singled, and was promptly replaced by Red Rolfe, who also took over his usual position of shortstop. A neat little piece of trivia.

  6. Why not do the same trick with pitchers? Start with a "pinch hitter", then bat your normal 1-8 hitters in the 2-9 spots. After the top of the 1st, replace the "pinch hitter" with your pitcher. You now have your regular lineup in place, in the usual order. The only difference is that the pitcher is batting 1st rather than 9th. This should be particularly easy in September, after the rosters have expanded.

  7. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Because the PH would have to face one batter before he can be replaced.

    Those Gehrig stories just show how ridiculous consecutive-game streaks are.

  8. There are more details of the lefthanded shortstop shenanigans (as well as details on lefthanded second basemen and third basemen) in a blog post I did a while back:
    http://prestonjg.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/left-handed-throwing-second-basemen-shortstops-and-third-basemen/