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One-Game Wonders: Pitchers who made exactly one career appearance for Oakland A’s

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Michael Feliz is the latest to join the list

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On Sept. 20, the Oakland A’s claimed reliever Michael Feliz off waivers. On Sept. 27, they designated him for assignment. During his week with the team, he pitched in just one game.

It’s still possible Feliz could find his way back to Oakland, either by staying in the organization after this latest DFA or otherwise returning in the future. For now, he joins an odd list in the depths of club history, as a pitcher who appeared in exactly one game for the A’s during his career.

Since the team moved to Oakland in 1968, there are 28 players who have registered precisely one career pitching appearance. However, half of those are position players who took the mound in emergencies, most recently outfielder Ka’ai Tom and first baseman Mitch Moreland this summer. Only 14 are actual pitchers.

Mike Kilkenny

  • Date: May 13, 1972
  • Stats: 1 inning, 0 runs

The A’s acquired Kilkenny from the Tigers on May 9, and then traded him to the Padres on May 17. His one appearance came against the Red Sox, and he tossed a perfect 8th inning to help mop up during a loss. The second batter he faced was future Athletic Tommy Harper, and the third batter was future Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, who had just turned 38 but still made the All-Star team that year.

The Canadian lefty spent five seasons in the majors, once shutting out the Angels on the same day his wife gave birth, but most of his 410 innings came before arriving in Oakland. He ended up playing for four teams that summer, as the Padres later sent him to Cleveland in June. Unfortunately for him, his Detroit career began one year after they won the 1968 World Series, and then in ‘72 the A’s went on to win it after his brief cameo. Just missed twice!

Rich Wortham

  • Date: July 23, 1983
  • Stats: 0 innings, 1 run, 1 BB, 3 hits

After a decorated amateur career, Wortham spent three years with the White Sox in 1978-80 without much success. After bouncing around the minors for a couple years, he was signed before the ‘83 season by an A’s team that wasn’t much good at the time. He pitched once for them, his first appearance in the majors in three years and also the last of his MLB career.

The lefty got the call in July, with Oakland trailing the Orioles 6-1 in the 9th inning, and he didn’t retire any of his four batters. The first two hit singles, then future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr followed with an RBI single, and fellow future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray drew a walk. Wortham was pulled and the rest of his runners were stranded. Baltimore starter Storm Davis threw a complete game to earn the win and the Orioles won the World Series that year, and then Davis later won another ring with the A’s in 1989.

Jeff Shaver

  • Date: July 6, 1988
  • Stats: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 HBP

This was Shaver’s only MLB appearance for any team. He spent his entire pro career in the A’s organization, with six seasons in their minor league system, and made it to the majors once in 1988.

Oakland was trailing Cleveland 8-6 in the 8th inning. The right-hander pegged his first batter, future A’s coach Ron Washington, then retired the next three straight, including Julio Franco to end the frame. Oakland went on to make the World Series that year, though they didn’t win it.

Joe Bitker

  • Date: July 31, 1990
  • Stats: 3 innings, 0 runs, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 1 hit

A few years after being drafted out of Sacramento City College by the Padres, Bitker signed with the A’s in 1989. He made his MLB debut in 1990 but only pitched once, then later that summer he was one of two Players To Be Named Later in a trade with the Rangers for future Hall of Famer Harold Baines. Bitker pitched a few times for Texas in 1990-91.

His one game for the A’s came in July. Oakland was trailing the Mariners 5-0 in the 7th, and the right-hander entered for mopup duty. His first batter doubled to drive in an inherited runner, but he retired eight of his next nine batters to finish off the game. A lineout by future Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez ended that 7th inning, then a walk in the 8th was eliminated by a double play, and future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr grounded out in the 9th.

Scott Baker

  • Date: July 17, 1995
  • Stats: 3⅔ innings, 4 runs, 3 Ks, 5 BB, 5 hits, 1 HBP

The brand-new Marlins took Baker from the Cardinals in the Nov. 1992 expansion draft, then a few days later sent him to the A’s as the PTBNL in a trade for championship shortstop Walt Weiss. Three years later he got the call to the majors, his only career appearance for any team.

The Brewers lit up a 38-year-old Dave Stewart, and Oakland trailed 8-2 after two innings, so Baker came on for long relief. The lefty pitched a scoreless 3rd, but issued too many free passes after that. He began the 4th with a pair of walks, including one to former Athletic Kevin Seitzer, and both came around to score on RBI singles. He began the 5th with a HBP and it came around on a sac fly, and in the 6th a one-out walk came around to score on a double. The A’s lost 13-4.

Ramón Fermin

  • Date: Aug. 6, 1995
  • Stats: 1⅓ innings, 2 runs, 1 BB, 4 hits

After several years in the A’s minors, Fermin made his MLB debut at age 22. But he only pitched once, and the next spring he was sent to the Tigers as part of a trade for veteran outfielder Phil Plantier, and never appeared in the majors again.

The right-hander’s one game came against the Mariners, with Oakland trailing 10-5 in the 8th inning and two runners on base. His first three batters hit RBI singles, including one by future Athletic Mike Blowers, and then a rookie named Alex Rodriguez grounded out to end it. Fermin stayed in for the 9th and allowed one more run, including a single by Edgar Martinez.

Paul Fletcher

  • Date: Aug. 16, 1996
  • Stats: 1⅓ innings, 3 runs, 1 BB, 6 hits

After a handful of appearances for the Phillies in 1993-95, Fletcher signed with the A’s entering 1996. His one appearance came in the first game of a doubleheader against a ridiculously stacked Orioles squad, and he never pitched in the majors again after that.

The right-hander entered in the 7th inning with Oakland trailing 6-2. All six runs had scored in that inning, and there was still a runner on base with two out. First up against Fletcher was Cal Ripken Jr, who doubled, but the next batter was retired to end it. In the 8th, Eddie Murray led off with a double, sparking a three-run rally that included a walk by future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and a two-run single by Not Hall of Famer Rafael Palmeiro, finally ending on a groundout by Ripken. He faced 10 batters, and four were HOFers (Ripken twice, Murray, Alomar), plus other stars like Palmeiro, and Bobby Bonilla, and Brady Anderson (during his 50 HR season).

Marcus Jones

  • Date: July 17, 2000
  • Stats: 2⅓ innings, 4 runs, 1 K, 3 BB, 1 HR, 5 hits

Rather than a late-game mopup outing, Jones is on this list for making a start. The A’s were visiting the Rockies at pre-humidor Coors Field but a game got rained out, forcing an unexpected doubleheader the next day. Jones was called up to make an emergency spot start, and that turned out to be his only MLB appearance.

The right-hander allowed a solo homer in the 1st inning, which was the custom at the time at Coors, and made it through a scoreless 2nd. But in the 3rd he got knocked around for three more runs, including an RBI single by future Hall of Famer Larry Walker, and a double by Hall Of Fame candidate Todd Helton.

Jon Ratliff

  • Date: Sept. 15, 2000
  • Stats: 1 inning, 0 runs

After seven seasons in the minors, Ratliff signed with the A’s entering 2000 and finally made the majors, for one game. He’s one of 11 players featured in the 2020 book The Cup Of Coffee Club, by author Jacob Kornhauser.

It was mid-September, and Oakland was battling to make their first postseason trip in nearly a decade, which they ultimately did by winning the division. On this day they led the last-place Devil Rays 17-3 after eight innings, so Ratliff got the 9th. It took him only 12 pitches to breeze through a perfect frame and finish the game, with the final out being catcher Toby Hall, not a historically significant player but a personal favorite of mine as a fellow Hall.

Chad Reineke

  • Date: Aug. 5, 2009
  • Stats: 5 innings, 4 runs, 1 K, 2 HR, 7 hits, 1 HBP

This one is another spot start, as Reineke came up when Dallas Braden was scratched due to a rash on his ankle. Reineke had pitched a few times in 2008 for the Padres, and would again in 2010 for the Reds, but this was his only A’s outing.

The right-hander faced the Rangers. He mostly held his own, but David Murphy hit two homers against him, accounting for three of his four runs. He exited with the lead and Oakland won the game, but the bullpen blew a save in the late innings so the win was credited to a reliever. Click here to revisit our Game Thread!

Rich Thompson

  • Date: April 23, 2012
  • Stats: ⅔ innings, 0 runs, 1 hit

The 2012 A’s employed four Australian players — closer Grant Balfour, swingman pitcher Travis Blackley, infielder Luke Hughes, and for one game, Thompson. He’d spent the previous five seasons with the Angels and thrown 100 innings for them, and Oakland picked him up off waivers in mid-April. He also has an Olympic silver medal from 2004.

The right-hander pitched once for the A’s, against the White Sox, with countryman Hughes playing third base behind him. Oakland was trailing 3-0 in the 9th, in a jam with the bases loaded and one out, and he went lineout, single, foulout to escape the inning with just one inherited runner scoring. He went back to the minors a week later and that was his last MLB game. Here’s our Game Recap.

Jeremy Accardo

  • Date: Sept. 27, 2012
  • Stats: 2 innings, 2 runs, 1 K, 4 hits

This was the final appearance of an eight-year MLB career. Accardo debuted with the Giants in 2005, then went to the Blue Jays for several seasons and even saved 30 games in 2007 as Toronto’s closer. After stops in Baltimore and Cleveland, he signed on with Oakland during the 2012 pennant race.

The righty’s one game came against the very Rangers team that the A’s were chasing and would eventually catch. But Oakland was trailing this one 7-4 when he entered in the 4th, and his second batter was future Athletic Elvis Andrus, who hit an RBI single. Andrus stole a base and later scored, then Accardo kept it quiet through the end of the 5th. Those two runs made the difference, as the A’s lost 9-7, but they still won the division over Texas in the end. Here’s our Game Recap.

Josh Lindblom

  • Date: April 2, 2014
  • Stats: 4⅔ innings, 2 runs, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 5 hits, 1 HBP

Before Lindblom became a star in Korea’s KBO League, he pitched once for the A’s. Their second game of the 2014 season was postponed by rain, the first rainout at the Coliseum in 16 years, so they brought him up to make a spot start in a doubleheader the next day. He’d been acquired the previous winter in a trade that sent former 1st-round draft pick Michael Choice to the Rangers for outfielder Craig Gentry.

The start came against Cleveland, and Lindblom kept them off the board until a two-run homer by Mike Aviles in the 4th inning. The righty got two more outs in the 4th before being lifted with the A’s in the lead, but they lost when Jim Johnson blew the save in the 9th. Lindblom faced former Athletic Nick Swisher twice and retired him both times. Here’s our Game Thread and Game Recap.

After leaving Oakland, Lindblom spent several years playing in Korea, and in 2019 he won the KBO’s league MVP award and his team won the Korean Series championship. He returned to MLB in 2020 and now pitches for the Brewers.

Michael Feliz

  • Date: Sept. 22, 2021
  • Stats: ⅓ innings, 0 runs, 1 BB, 1 hit

The A’s were Feliz’s fourth team of the summer, after also pitching for the Pirates, Reds, and Red Sox. He’s worked more than 200 innings over seven MLB seasons, but this year he didn’t catch on anywhere for long. With Oakland’s pitching staff worn out at the end of a long campaign, they claimed him off waivers in late-September and gave him a try.

His one game came against the Mariners, who weirdly dominated the A’s all summer. With Oakland trailing 4-1 in the 8th, he led off the inning by inducing a flyout but then put his next two runners on base before being pulled. A few days later he was DFA’d. Click here for the Game Thread.

***

Most of these performances weren’t very good or memorable, which isn’t a surprise considering the nature of the list. They combined for a 7.24 ERA in 27⅔ innings, spread over three spot starts and 11 mopup relief appearances. But all of these players suited up for the Oakland A’s during their careers, however briefly, and they’re now a part of team history.