In 2000, both of these men had a game in which they played all nine positions, Halter on October 1 for the Tigers, and Sheldon on September 6 for the Rangers. Some excerpts from a Houston Chronicle account of Halter’s feat:
DETROIT – Shane Halter did just about everything on a wild final day of the season at Comerica Park.
Halter became the fourth major-leaguer to play all nine positions in a game, went 4-for-5 at the plate and capped his adventure by scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Minnesota Twins 12-11 on Sunday.
“You think about getting the opportunity to play all nine positions. What’s outstanding is to get the win on top of it – at home, come from behind,” Halter said. “Some things happened today that were awesome, and hopefully they can carry into next year, and we can continue the things we did the second half of the season.”
Halter, who had done everything but pitch for the Tigers this year, became the second person to play all nine positions in a game this season. Texas’ Scott Sheldon did it Sept. 6 against the Chicago White Sox.
The only other players ever to do it were Bert Campaneris of the Kansas City Athletics in 1965 and the Twins’ Cesar Tovar in 1968.
Halter’s position switches and the back-and-forth flow of the game caused Detroit manager Phil Garner and Minnesota’s Tom Kelly to use 42 players combined, tying an AL record.
Halter walked Matt LeCroy, the only batter he faced, in the eighth.
“I’ve never faced a position player as a pitcher, not even in the minors,” LeCroy said. “I was more nervous facing him than one of their regular pitchers.”
Tom Gage of The Detroit News had a hometown account of the game:
The Tigers’ season ended Sunday with a rollicking 12-11 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Manager Phil Garner called it the most fun game he’s ever managed.
First of all, there was Shane Halter, who became the first Tiger to play all nine positions in one game and the fourth major-leaguer to do it.
“But I bet he’s the first ever to play all nine and get four hits in the same game,” said Brad Ausmus, who played first and third in addition to his regular duties behind the plate, as Halter made his rounds.
“I don’t ever want to make a travesty of the game on my watch,” Garner said, “but I don’t think this did. I could tell that the fans were really getting into it from about the third inning on.”
Halter started the game at first base, then went to third in the second inning. After that he moved to right, center, left, shortstop, catcher, pitcher and second. As a pitcher, he walked the batter he faced, catcher Matt LeCroy, in the eighth.
“I definitely spiked some pitches,” Halter said about throwing the ball in the dirt a couple of times.
As for Sheldon’s game, the Florida Times Union reported it like this:
CHICAGO — Scott Sheldon couldn’t believe it when he saw Texas Rangers catcher Randy Knorr shake his head, signaling Sheldon to pretend he was brushing off a sign.
What was Knorr thinking? They didn’t have any signs. Heck, Sheldon barely had any pitches! He’s a utility infielder. The closest he’d ever gotten to pitching before was an inning or two in the annual University of Houston alumni game.
So Sheldon just threw the ball, his almost-slow-motion changeup good enough for a strikeout. Then he moved to third base — and into baseball’s record books.
Sheldon, who’d played only 22 games in the majors before this season, became the third player in baseball history to play all nine positions Wednesday night. It was the only highlight for the Rangers in a 13-1 drubbing by the Chicago White Sox.
“I had a blast,” Sheldon said. “It went by so fast, but there are so many memories I’ll take from this.”
Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez homered as the White Sox scored seven runs in the first inning.
“After it got to be 10-1 . . . I thought it was the perfect night to do it,” Texas manager Johnny Oates said.
After playing eight positions in a spring training game — Sheldon didn’t pitch — Oates decided he was going to give Sheldon a shot at the real thing during the regular season.
He called Sheldon over in the third inning and told him to go for it.
“He deserves it,” Oates said. “For a guy that doesn’t have a lot of major league service, he can say how many thousands of men have played professional baseball and only three have done it?
“It’s something to be proud of.”
He entered the game as a catcher in the fourth and moved to first in the fifth. Sheldon played second base and shortstop in the sixth, moved to right field to start the seventh, before moving to center with one out. He started out the eighth in left, then came on in relief with one out and struck out Liefer. His final position was third base.
The decision by Oates to make a dull Texas season a little more interesting went largely unnoticed by the crowd of 15,622, which annoyed the Rangers manager.
“No one in the stands realized that history was being made,” Oates said. “There was no announcement, nothing.”
Sheldon was just relieved that it was over and no damage was done.
“It’s so hard to keep your mind on one position,” he said. “You’re trying to figure out where you’re going to move and what you’re responsibilities are there. You’ve got 1,000 things going through your mind.”
And the Houston Chronicle had its own report on the game:
“I don’t know so much the history of it,” Sheldon said after Texas’ 13-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. “To know only two other guys have done it, that kind of doesn’t sink in.”
Sheldon had only one ball hit at him all night, and he didn’t make any errors. He struck out the only batter he faced, getting pinch hitter Jeff Liefer to whiff on a changeup clocked at 67 mph.
“Did we get an out? Thank you,” Sheldon said, smiling, when someone made fun of his pitching skills. “I wasn’t trying to throw hard. I was just trying to throw strikes and get out of there.”
Though Liefer knew Sheldon had been moving around the field, he never thought he’d see him on the mound.
Sheldon is a utility player by trade, having started at four different positions so far this year and having made two appearances as a catcher.
After he played Sheldon at eight spots in a game against Texas’ Class AAA club in spring training – Sheldon didn’t pitch – Oates decided he would try it during the regular season.
Oates originally targeted the Rangers’ next homestand to do it. But after the White Sox scored 10 runs in the first two innings, he figured this was as good a game as any.