My buddy John and I got talking the other day about players who double at two positions that require radically different skillsets. Craig Biggio, for example, was a rarity in that he played catcher AND secondbase, two positions you rarely see paired together. And played them well. Not to mention that he played centerfield as well.
What I wanted to see was how many players in modern day baseball had played at catcher AND shortstop within the same year. My chosen limit was at least 10 games at both positions. Between the the years 1901 and 2009, only seven players fit that description.
Using Baseball Reference’s Play Index, here is the list of players I came up with:
(The games played were Martinez SS-54 C-14, ‘42 Bragan SS-78 C-22, ‘44 Bragan SS-51 C-35, McAllister SS-46 C-18, Roberts SS-33 C-22, Sandlock SS-22 C-47, Slocum SS-17 C-19).
All seven (well six, as Bobby Bragan is listed twice) seem to be the uber-utility types playing at least four different positions in their particular season. It’s no surprise that none were fantastic hitters (though Roberts did hit 10 HR) but I’m sure their managers found their versatility useful.
I guess the most unusual was Bragan himself who not only did it twice but managed to put in over 20 games at catcher each year in addition to his normal shortstop.