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Intentionally left behind?
2007-05-09 19:16
by Bob Timmermann

As I was playing around with Baseball-reference's Play Index tool, I was wondering if any player had a season where his only time at bat resulted in an intentional walk. Perhaps I should wonder about different things. But that's another story.

There was one player whose only turn at the plate consisted of watching four pitches sail wide.

On April 24, 1962, Ozzie Virgil of the Orioles came up as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth with two outs against the Twins. The Orioles had rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the ninth and had pulled to within 4-3 with runners on second and third.

Orioles manager Billy Hitchock sent Marv Throneberry up to pinch hit against Twins reliever Joe Bonikowski. Twins manager Sam Mele countered by sending in southpaw Dick Stigman to face the left-handed Throneberry. So Hitchcock called on the right-handed Virgil to bat for Throneberry. Not one to be outmaneuvered, Mele had Stigman intentionally walk Virgil to load the bases and face left fielder Boog Powell, a 20-year old rookie. Powell singled to score the tying and winning runs.

At the end of April, Virgil was sent back to the minors as the Orioles had a surplus of infielders. He was only up because at the time, teams were allowed to carry three extra players out of spring training until May 1 when they had to cut down to 25.

Virgil never got called back up by the Orioles that year or ever. He didn't make it back to the majors until 1965 with the Pirates. Virgil is probably better known as the first player from the Dominican Republic to play in the majors as well as being the first black player to suit up for the Detroit Tigers.

Also of interest, a list of 31 players since 1957 who received an intentional walk in their first major league game. The last player to pull off that feat was Jeff Salazar of the Rockies on September 6, 2006 against Washington.

2007-05-09 19:57:45
1.   overkill94
Not to be confused with this Ozzie Virgil

the one I remember from my baseball card collecting days of the late 80's

2007-05-09 20:26:36
2.   Ali Nagib
But seriously, has anyone else ever done this?:

And first pitch no less.

2007-05-09 20:33:43
3.   Bob Timmermann
Fred Van Dusen also did it, but he saw more than one pitch.

Van Dusen didn't get hurt.

I actually linked an article about Greenberg and Van Dusen earlier this year.

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