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Diamondbacks Game Preview #126: 8/28 @ White Sox

Let's look at the most super-utility of super-utiliity guys...

Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Daulton Varsho - RF Romy Gonzalez - 2B
Alek Thomas - CF Josh Harrison - 3B
Josh Rojas - 2B Jose Abreu - DH
Christian Walker - 1B Andrew Vaughn - 1B
Jake McCarthy - LF Gavin Sheets - RF
Stone Garrett - DH AJ Pollock - LF
Sergio Alcantara - 3B Elvis Andrus - SS
Cooper Hummel - C Adam Engel - CF
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Seby Zavala - C
Zach Davies - RHP Dylan Cease - RHP

As I mentioned yesterday, Eduardo Escobar is currently the only active player to have played all nine spots on the diamond plus DH. That's a rare feat: only 11 players in baseball history have done so, and quite a few of those only achieved it through the gimmick of playing nine positions in one game. That includes the last before Escobar, Andrew Romine, who nine-peated on September 30, 2017, as a member of the Tigers. Four others had run the diamond in a game before Romine, going back to Bert Campaneris on Sep 8, 1965. All of them did it in September, this being pretty much the definition of a stunt reserved for a meaningless game at the end of the season.

Of the others, perhaps the most impressive is Scott Sheldon, who pulled it off in 2000, despite not entering the game until the fourth inning. But Escobar has needed no such trick, doing so legitimately. Well, at least relatively so. His appearance behind the plate came as a Twin in 2017, when regular catcher Chris Gimenez was called on to pitch the last inning of a 12-3 blowout. Eduardo strapped on the gear (in the end, Gimenez’s chest protector was the closest fit!), in a 1-2-3 eighth, giving him a catcher's ERA of 0.00. I am curious as to whether it was he or Gimenez who was actually calling the pitches in that frame...

But perhaps the most impressive was another former Diamondback, Jake Elmore - the kind of guy to turn up in DbacksEurope's series about random players. The ASU grad was our 34th round pick in 2008, and debuted for Arizona in August 2012, playing second and short down the stretch. That winter, he was selected off waivers by the Houston Astros, and this is where our story really starts. He not only played all 10 positions in his career, he speed-ran them in ONE SEASON. despite spending almost the entire first half of the year in the minors (he made just three appearances before June 26). Outside of gimmick gamers like Romine, that's unique, and amazingly, Elmore needed only 24 appearances to complete the feat.

It began on July 24 when he played in RF. By the end of the month he had crossed 2B and LF off the list, and in August he suddenly started to appear all over the place. SS on the 6th; 3B on the 10th; 1B on the 14th. Then P and C on the 19th, after Houston's starting catcher was knocked out by a foul ball, and the other was already playing designated hitter. Jake also tossed a perfect ninth, causing manager Bo Porter to remark, “Elmore should probably be in the icetub, icing every part of his body." On the 23rd he added DH to his resume, giving him nine of the ten positions in less than a month. But he had to wait until September 10th to finish the set, appearing in CF.

He's now hitting coach for the Clearwater Threshers, a Phillies minor-league affiliate. Elmore's career may not have been Hall of Fame worthy, but he'll always have this record, which may never be legitimately broken.