Saturday, September 4, 2010

Strandlund to play all nine positions on Sunday

The Seals have announced that Victoria native Charlie Strandlund will play all nine positions on Sunday afternoon against the Edmonton Capitals. The versatile Strandlund will play a different position every inning, something that has been done at the major-league level only four times. Strandlund, who has played mainly at second base this year, has pitched in relief on four separate occasions for the Seals.

The feat was first accomplished at the major-league level by Bert Campaneris of the Kansas City A's on September 8th, 1965. The idea was the brainchild of the A's owner Charlie O. Finley. Campaneris started the game by playing at his natural position, shortstop, and then he played an inning at second base, third base, left field, centre field, right field, first base, pitcher and then catcher. He made five put-outs and had one assist on the night and did not commit an error. He also only gave up one earned run in his inning on the mound, but the most impressive aspect was that he pitched ambidextrously. Campaneris pitched as a southpaw to left-handed batters and as a righty to right-handed hitters.

Since Campaneris turned the trick, three more players have appeared in all nine positions in a game in the majors: C├ęsar Tovar for the Twins in 1968, Scott Sheldon for the Rangers in 2000 and Shane Halter for the Tigers in 2000.

Standlund has been riding the pine for the last month of the season. In the month of August, he only had four plate appearances, but he got the start at second base on Saturday night to shake off the rust before his big day on Sunday. In Saturday's game, Strandlund went 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .200 and on-base percentage to .280 (incidentally, the frequently-used Jerry Madueno has a .164 average and a .190 on-base percentage).

It's going to be a lot of fun to see Charlie turn the trick on Sunday afternoon. If you don't already have tickets, I suggest you come on out to Royal Athletic Park to witness a piece of local baseball history being made. From a personal  standpoint, I'm particularly interested to see this play out. I came up with the idea while watching Strandlund pitch against the Chico Outlaws on the 14th of August. I have confidence that Charlie will make us all proud.