On this day back in 1954, the Baltimore Orioles, playing their first season in Charm City after decamping from the Mound City as the Browns, set a then major-league record for pinch hitters used in a nine-inning game.
Baltimore manager Jimmie Dykes tried to pull out all the stops in the first game of a doubleheader at home against the White Sox by sending up eight different pinch hitters. However, it all went for naught as the White Sox won the game by an 11-6 mark. The White Sox compounded the misery by taking in the nightcap by a 14-8 margin. The doubleheader, billed as a "twi-light twi-light night doubleheader" finished at 1:06 am.
In the first game, the White Sox started righthander Mike Fornieles against righthander Lou Kretlow of the Orioles. The Orioles knocked Fornieles out of the game in the first, although they managed just two runs. Lefty Jack Harshman came in and that was the precipitating event in setting off the pinch hitter bonanza.
The White Sox tallied single runs in the second and third and then four in the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, trailing 6-2, Dykes opted to have another pitcher, Don Larsen, bat for Kretlow. Larsen would bat .250 in 1954, but he struck out against Harshman.
Dykes then went for pinch hitter #2, right handed Chuck Diering, who batted for lefty Cal Abrams. Diering grounded out and Baltimore failed to score in the fourth.
The Orioles threatened again in the fifth and when catcher Clint Courtney's spot came up, Dykes sent in pinch hitter #3, backup catcher Les Moss, who fouled out.
Lefty second baseman Bobby Young was next up, but he came out for pinch hitter #4, Chico Garcia. He flied out and the O's went scoreless again.
The White Sox scored five times in the sixth and now led 11-2, but the Orioles started a rally in the bottom of the sixth. Billy Hunter pinch hit (#5) for reliever Jay Heard. (This would be the second and final appearance in the majors for Heard.) Hunter walked.
The Orioles offense kept rolling along as eventually the #5 hitter Vic Wertz came up. And Dykes pinch hit for him with Bob Kennedy (#6). Kennedy got a single.
But this turned out to be a big inning and the Orioles eventually got back to the #9 spot in the order, which was occupied now by the pinch hitter Hunter. However, the lefty Harshman had been replaced by righthander Harry Dorish. So Dykes pinch hit for the guy who had pinch hit earlier with lefty Eddie Waitkus (#7), who struck out, ending the inning and the Orioles settled for four runs.
The game settled down and Dorish kept the Orioles off the board the rest of the game. In the eighth inning though, the pitcher's spot came up again in the person of Mike Blyzka. Gil Coan (#8) pinch hit for him and flied out.
The Orioles hold on the pinch hitter record lasted a little over five years. On September 22, 1959, the Los Angeles Dodgers used nine pinch hitters in a 11-10 loss at St. Louis. The starting pitchers in that game, Sandy Koufax and Larry Jackson combined to face 12 hitters and retired two of them. The NL mark of nine pinch hitters in a 9-inning game has been reached twice since then. The AL mark of 8 has been reached twice more.