Andrew Romine became the fifth player in baseball history to play all nine positions in one game, helping the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Saturday night.
Romine, a 31-year-old utilityman, played catcher for the first time in his career and got one out on the mound. He was the first player to accomplish the feat since Shane Halter for Detroit against Minnesota on Oct. 1, 2000.
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Buck Farmer (5-5) pitched five strong innings for the win and Shane Greene recorded his ninth save.
With the last-place Detroit Tigers finishing up a lost season and the Minnesota Twins locked in as the second AL wild card, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus played Romine at every spot on the diamond during Saturday night’s game at Target Field.
Perfect fit to pull off feat
The idea for Romine to duplicate the achievement originated two years ago when Ausmus and Romine were discussing Halter’s historic performance and decided the versatile Romine would be the perfect fit to pull it off for these Tigers.
“I think because only four people have done it, he can put his name in the record books,” Ausmus said.
Romine’s mother, wife and two sisters were flying in for the game. His wife, travelling from California, had to move her flight up a day because it was previously assumed Romine would play each position in Sunday’s regular-season finale.
Ausmus opted to move the stunt to the season’s penultimate day because of the threat of rain on Sunday. Romine had wanted to do it in front of the home fans during the Tigers’ last homestand, but the team decided against it because of how many games were left in the season.
“I think there were some in the front office that felt like it wasn’t the right time,” Romine said.
Romine covers it all
Romine started in left and worked his way across the outfield before moving to third base in the fourth inning. He played shortstop in the fifth, second base in the sixth and catcher in the seventh, when he caught Blaine Hardy for four batters and then switched back to second base.
He pitched to Miguel Sano in the eighth, and the All-Star slugger bounced to third on a 3-1 pitch. Romine topped out at 87 mph on the stadium’s radar gun.
After retiring Sano, Romine moved to first base, his ninth position of the night.
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He joined Bert Campaneris, Cesar Tovar, Scott Sheldon and Halter in the exclusive group of players to have played every position in a game.
Romine also reached twice at the plate with a hit in the second inning and a walk in the fifth to start a two-run inning. Jeimer Candelario hit an RBI single and scored on Alex Presley’s fielder’s choice.
Romine began his career as a lightly used infielder with the Los Angeles Angels, but has improved his hitting a bit since moving to Detroit in 2014 and earned more opportunities in a part-time role. He was batting .235 with four home runs and 25 RBIs this season and had played every position but catcher, the only spot he had yet to play in his career.
“Everybody just keeps telling me, ‘Catch it,”‘ said Romine, recalling his teammates’ advice.
Twins manager Paul Molitor wasn’t as enthused about the spectacle but understood why Romine would want to pull it off.
“I’m not a huge fan of it,” Molitor said. “I guess if your team’s in that position, then go ahead and let it fly. It’s not a big deal. I’m sure maybe it’s been on his bucket list for a while.”