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Bill Hall Makes Pitching Appearance, Baseball History

Ed. note: this commentary originally appeared at, by editor Jon Bois)

In case you missed it, during the Red Sox's 12-5 loss to the Royals on Friday night, Bill Hall pitched the ninth inning.

Yes, that Bill Hall, the proud owner of one of the stranger career arcs in recent history. In 2006, Hall hit 35 home runs while starting most of the season as a shortstop -- not a position where we normally see power hitters. Immediately afterward, he regressed, and these days he's most often described as a utility player (entering Friday, he'd already played five different positions in 2010).

As it turns out, Mr. Hall's pitching appearance made baseball history. The significance of this history is up to you to decide, but here it is:

Pitching appearances by non-pitchers, while uncommon and generally hilarious, aren't terribly rare. According to Baseball-Reference's handy list, it's happened plenty of times in 2010 alone. The thing is, Bill Hall pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

This certainly isn't unprecedented, until you consider that Hall is the owner of a 35-homer season. Nick Swisher -- who has also clubbed 35 in a season -- pitched a scoreless inning in 2009, but he gave up a walk. Jose Canseco was rocked during his infamous appearance. Dave Kingman also had a tough time during his two appearances in 1973. Rick Ankiel, the modern era's most famous pitcher-turned-hitter, hasn't hit more than 25 home runs in a season.

This is what I'm getting at: only one other man in baseball history has a) pitched a perfect inning and b) hit 35 or more home runs in a season. His name was Babe Ruth. And that bum never played middle infield, either.