I was watching a Blue Jays game the other night with Omar Vizquel starting at shortstop and Drew Hitchison starting on the mound. Vizquel, of course, is the oldest player in the AL this year, and Hutchison the second youngest, after Mike Trout. Vizquel and Hutchison also started for the Jays on April 26th (before Trout’s season debut) when Hutchison was the youngest player to appear in an AL game.
Anyway, following up from the post a few days ago on tenured teammates, I started thinking about other times when the youngest and oldest player in a league have been teammates. After the jump, I’ll take a look at this curiosity.
Using B-R’s season “Other Leaders” page, these are the teams to have the youngest and oldest players in the league on the team’s roster. This doesn’t necessarily mean that both players were on the team roster and the same time during the season. The legend is as follows:
- GREEN – players appeared together in one or more games
- BLUE – players were in starting lineup for one or more games
- PURPLE – both players are pitchers, and one relieved the other (appeared consecutively as pitchers) in one or more games
- RED – one player is a pitcher, and was pinch-hit for by the other player in one or more games.
- BROWN – one player is a pitcher and entered the game one or more times after the other player pinch-hit for the previous pitcher
After coming up with this list, my first thought was to make this a quiz – “What have the Mariners and White Sox franchises each done 5 times that only one other franchise has done more than twice?” But, I’m not that mean.
Some musings on this list:
- On Oct 1, 1950, Luke Appling played his final career game, and recorded his final hit. Next to him on the diamond was Joe Kirenne making his career debut, and getting his first hit. Both played the entire game. On the same day, the NL’s youngest and oldest appeared together for the first time for Chicago’s other team, with Harry Chiti collecting the first two hits of his career.
- Nolan Ryan and Ivan Rodriguez started for the Rangers 20 times (out of Ryan’s 27 starts) in 1992. Lastings Milledge and Julio Franco did the same 10 times for the 2006 Mets.
- Hoyt Wilhelm has the distinction of showing up on this list for both leagues, and in the same season.
- The Johnny Evers game was an end-of-the-year shenanigan, 7 years after his last appearance and 12 years after last playing semi-regularly. Both players, though, were on the field to finish the game.
- Though Vic Davalillo and Fernando Valenzuela both played only in the final 3 weeks of the 1980 season, they managed to appear together 5 times, three of them with Valenzuela following Davalillo into the game after the latter had pinch-hit for the pitcher.
One other unusual find is this game from 1953. Not related to teammates, but the oldest and youngest players in the league (Satchel Paige and Bob Miller) were opposing starters (Paige got the win, the last of his career). Don’t know if that has happened any other time – guess I’ll have to find out.