Scott Sheldon: Hey coach, put me in!
Johnny Oates: Where?
Oates: Uh…sure bud.
And so the legend of Scott Sheldon was born…
In an away game against the Chicago White Sox on September 6, 2000, Texas Rangers utility infielder Scott Sheldon, apparently a man of many positions, put a notch in his belt that only two others (at the time) had been able to do.
With the Sox providing a good old fashion butt whooping (10 – 1) after 4 innings of play, Manager Johnny Oates decided it would be a good time for Sheldon to really get involved in the game. So in the bottom of the fourth, the sequence began…
Catcher (4th Inning) –> First Base (5th Inning) –> Second Base and Shortstop (6th Inning) –> Right Field and Center Field (7th Inning) –> Left Field, Relief Pitcher, and Third Base (8th Inning) –> ballgame. Final Score: White Sox 13 – Rangers 1
The idea originally took shape in a spring training game of that year. Sheldon would end up playing 8 positions, but did not tow the rubber. It was after that game that Johnny Oates decided this would be the year he would make it happen.
And before doing it against the White Sox, Oates had originally planned on it happening the week after the White Sox game at home in Texas…I guess he couldn’t wait.
The crazy thing, if you notice in the sequence above, is it only took the positional “superstar” 4 innings to accomplish the extraordinary feat. 4 freaking innings to play 9 positions!
When the dust settled in Chicago, Sheldon would become the third player in the big leagues to play all 9 positions in a single game. He would eventually be joined later that year by Shane Halter (Detroit Tigers). The only two players to precede Sheldon and Halter were Bert Campaneris (Kansas City Athletics) and Cesar Tovar (Minnesota Twins).
Sheldon would later say, “It’s something to be proud of.” I would agree.