Utility player history was made Saturday night at Target Field.
Andrew Romine, a reserve player for the Detroit Tigers, became the fifth player in baseball history to play all nine positions in his team's win over the Minnesota Twins (DET 3, MIN 2). Manager Brad Ausmus Romine would play all nine positions Sunday, though with rain in the forecast Sunday, he decided to do it Saturday instead.
Here is a recap of Romine's evening:
- 1st inning: Left field. Caught a line drive and fielded a single.
- 2nd inning: Center field. No defensive chances.
- 3rd inning: Right field. Fielded a single.
- 4th inning: Third base. Caught a foul pop-up.
- 5th inning: Shortstop. Turned a 4-6-3 double play.
- 6th inning: Second base. No defensive chances.
- 7th inning: Catcher. Caught for four batters (one out) before moving back to second. He allowed a passed ball.
- 8th inning: Pitcher. Threw five pitches and got a ground out, then moved to first base. He caught a throw from the second baseman on a 4-3 putout.
- 9th inning: First base. He fielded a ground ball for the final out of the game.
Romine moved to first base in the eighth inning because had the Twins taken the lead in the bottom of the eighth, there might not have been a bottom of the ninth for the Tigers to play defensively. The score was only 3-2 at the time, so the game was close. Ausmus moved Romine to first in the eighth to make sure he played the position before the end of the game.
The 31-year-old Romine is a natural shortstop, though he has settled in as a versatile utility man since joining the Tigers back in 2014. Prior to Saturday night, he'd played every position other than catcher at some point this season, and that includes throwing two-thirds of an inning in a blowout loss on July 26. It's not like the Tigers just let him sink or swim. He's moved around the field plenty in his career.
The only new position Romine played Saturday was catcher. He'd never caught in his pro career before, not even in the minors, so the Tigers had him catch some bullpen sessions earlier this week to prepare for Saturday. Here is Romine behind the plate with a big "I can't believe I'm doing this" grin:
In case you're wondering, yes, Romine did get a catcher's mitt from his younger brother, Yankees backup catcher Austin Romine, to use in the game according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.
Interestingly enough, when Romine entered the eighth inning to pitch, the Tigers led 3-2. It was a save situation! Romine recorded one out and qualified for a hold.
Since saves became official in 1969, Andrew Romine is first position player ever to enter a game in a save situation.— Doug Kern (@dakern74) October 1, 2017
Not counting comedian Will Ferrell, who played nine positions for nine different teams as part of a charity event during spring training in 2015, Romine is the fifth player in baseball history to play all nine positions in a single game. Here are the four men who had done it previously:
- Bert Campaneris, Athletics: September 8, 1965
- Cesar Tovar, Twins: September 22, 1968
- Scott Sheldon, Rangers: September 6, 2000
- Shane Halter, Tigers: October 1, 2000
So Romine is the fifth player in history to play all nine positions in a game, but only the second Tiger to accomplish the feat. Also, this is the third time the Twins have been involved in player playing all nine positions in a single game. Tovar did it for them in 1968, and they were the opposing team in the Halter and Romine games. Huh.