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The José Oquendo Game - A Hunt and Peck


Jose Oquendo

José Oquendo was known for many things. He was a Cardinals coach for almost two decades. He played on the team for ten seasons. He is known for his savant-like ability to coach infielders. He could truly do it all and that reputation earned him the nickname The Secret Weapon.

(Such a cool nickname.)

One evening thirty-one years (and one day) ago José Oquendo really did do it all.

It was May 14, 1988. The Cardinals starter Cris (no H) Carpenter was staked to a 3-0 lead before allowing four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Cardinals answered to take a 5-4 lead, but the Braves answered back in the seventh to tie the game. 5-5 would be the score for the next eleven innings.

In a game that goes nineteen innings, a lot of weird stuff happens. Players are often called upon to play positions they do not usually play. Forced to have a starting pitcher play in the outfield, Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog even pulled the ole “LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF” defensive switch depending on batter handedness to try to keep Jose DeLeon from having to make any plays in the field.

We have seen position players pitch before. Usually this is in a mop-up role for an inning though. In the top of the sixteenth inning with the game knotted at 5, Jose Oquendo moved from first base to pitcher. He pitched three scoreless innings before giving up two runs in his fourth inning of work. José Oquendo took the loss that game, but his effort that day made him a legend.

I cannot find any video of this game, but here is one of Oquendo playing every position!

25th anniversary: The Jose Oquendo Game | The Hardball Times

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