Posted by Raphy on February 25, 2008
Very often there are players who make an appearance in a game for a particular moment. Their manager decides that their skills are needed for a brief moment in the game, but no longer. They are asked to pinch hit and take a seat or to pinch run and then come out of the game. The pinch hitters' evenings are supposed to last for one plate appearance, the pinch runners' not even as long. This is the norm. Occasionally however, the bizarre happens. A deluge of offense allows the team to bat around and the pinch hitter gets to have an encore performance; the pinch runner a chance to actually pick up a bat. Let's take a closer look.
Using PI to find all the players who appeared in a game only as pinch runner and had at least one plate appearance or those who appeared as pinch hitters and had at least 2 PA's presents two problems.
1) The information for games in which there is no play by play data available doesn't seemed to be marked accurately regarding this stat. 2) Any player who pinch hits or runs for a DH is not assigned the DH position even in subsequent at bats.
The first point is minor and we'll work around it. The second is major and will prevent us from examining any AL games since 1973 .
1) Here are the instances from 1957-1972 in which a pinch runner has had a PA. As you can guess from their low scores, the McCarver and Murrell games are probably errors, and in fact following the game links shows you that Retrosheet does not have the play-by-play data for those games. I believe that the others are legitimate.
I think the winner in this category has to be John Cangelosi. Cangelosi wasn't particularly successful in these games, but he played in an amazing amount of them. Even discounting his 3 seasons in the AL and all his interleague games, Cangelosi managed to do this an amazing 6 times in his career, including thrice in 1987!
EDIT: As is discussed in the comments, there is a way to find all the "unexpected plate appearances" in any season by using the "Team Batting Event Finder", searching for all Plate Appearances and setting the position to "??". Here are the results for 2007. Of course, once you are doing that, you can further limit your search. For example you can find the grand slams of Willie McGee and Bill Robinson in their second go around after pinch hitting.