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Elephant Rumblings: A plea for Chad Pinder Day

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Minnesota Twins v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

Way, way back in 1965 Kansas City Athletic Bert Campaneris was the first MLB player to achieve what was then a unique feat: playing all nine positions on the field in the same game. The always colourful Charlie Finley had cooked up the idea late in a go-nowhere season and the promotional night served its purpose well, getting over triple the average attendees to show up for the special event. Campaneris was in his sophomore season with the club, and spent a majority of his time at shortstop, with occasional fill-in appearances in left field. But in early September, Campy covered the entire field in a single game, even if his final positional change to catcher sent him to the ER.

Last week, the Oakland Athletics ultra-utility player Chad Pinder pitched the 9th inning of a blowout game against the Minnesota Twins. It was Chad’s first time taking the mound at the MLB level, and leaves catcher as the only position that Pinder hasn’t fielded in the bigs. But why not give him a chance to squat behind the dish for a few at bats this year? You know what, why not let Pinder follow in Campaneris’ footsteps and become the sixth ever player to play all nine positions in one game?

Pinder’s prowess across the field has been proven time and time again over his seven years with the A’s. Every time Bob Melvin or Mark Kotsay have slotted Pinder into a different position than what he fielded the night before, Chad has adapted and done his best to showcase his malleability. Pinder’s value has only risen within the team as he is able to slot into anyone’s everyday spot to give them a game off, and works through an intense amount of practice to stay ready for the unique demands of each position.

The 2022 A’s prospects this year don’t look too much better than those of the ‘65 KC A’s, who had a 59-103 record, and it’s Pinder’s last year with the team before becoming a free agent. Everything seems right to celebrate a player who has done everything he can to contribute to the team. The makeup of the 2022 squad even makes it pretty easy to envision how it could all shake out with minimal need for bench bats:

Your theoretical starting defensive lineup for Chad Pinder Day (using the current roster):

  • P: Whichever starter is due for the day
  • C: Christian Bethancourt
  • 1B: Sheldon Neuse
  • 2B: Elvis Andrus
  • 3B: Kevin Smith
  • SS: Chad Pinder
  • LF: Seth Brown
  • CF: Cristian Pache
  • RF: Ramon Laureano

Chad starts the 1st at short, then swaps with Andrus for 2B in the 2nd putting Elvis back at his natural position. Neuse and Pinder then swap in the 3rd to clear 1B, and then he exchanges with Bethancourt in the 4th. Having checked catcher and most of the infield off his to-do list, Pinder heads to the outfield. Bethancourt goes back to catching, Brown covers 1B, and Pinder spends the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings making his way from left to right across the outfield, shuffling spots with Pache and Laureano as needed. In the 8th, Chad takes 3B from Smith, sending the latter to cover 1B while Brown goes back to LF. Finally in the 9th, Pinder takes the mound to lower his ERA from its current 27.00. Obviously this would happen at a home game, which would guarantee there would be a top of the 9th inning for him to pitch.

If followed as detailed, Pinder’s progression would be: SS > 2B > 1B > C> LF > CF > RF > 3B > P

While it would be prudent to follow in Finley’s footsteps and wait until the A’s have been mathematically eliminated from the division lead/playoffs to try such a feat, perhaps we could see Chad Pinder Day in September or late August.

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