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Category:Phantom Major Leaguer

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Players listed here spent time on an active roster of a Major League team but never appeared in an official game.

This undesired status has come about in three main ways.

Early-season surplus - until 1968: This is probably the most populous and unexplored category of phantom major leaguers. For decades, big-league clubs tended to bring quite a few extra players north with them from spring training -- as many as 40 players could remain on the roster until May 15, by which time teams had to cut down to 25 men. (In general practice, the maximum was 30-32). The regulation changed in between the 1956 and 1957 seasons, but even the new requirement called for a maximum of 28 men by Opening Day.

The May cutdown was eliminated ahead of the 1968 season; the 25-man roster had to be set by Opening Day.

Roster expansion after September 1: This rule remains in effect today. It has given many players their only taste of "The Show" -- but some, the most notable being Bill Sharman, did not get to fulfill that chance.

Temporary mid-season call-ups: Terrel Hansen is a typical example here. Another way it can happen is through the 26th Man Rule (part of the 2011 Basic Agreement), which allows teams to call a player up for a day as roster insurance for a scheduled doubleheader. Arnold León is such a player.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Rob Neyer: "Phantom Major Leaguers", The National Pastime Museum, February 29, 2016. [1]
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