Will Ferrell Follows in the Footsteps of Campy, Cesar and a Detroit Tiger [Video]
You may have heard that as a publicity stunt for his new movie Get Hard, Will Ferrell played all 10 baseball positions in five spring training games with various Major League Baseball teams in Arizona this week.
But have you heard about the odd baseball back story behind his feat? Two guys named Cesar and Campy and, later, a Detroit Tiger did what Ferrell did, but in regular-season games that counted in the standings.
As you can see in this photo gallery, Ferrell had more fun than compiling good statistics in his time on the field Thursday. Clowning for the cameras, got the attention needed to plug his new film, Get Hard.
Back on September 8, 1965, Bert Campaneris walked out onto the field in Kansas City for pretty much the same reason. His owner, Charley Finley, had an idea to get some people in the seats during a miserable, 103 loss season for the Athletics: he asked the multi-talented Campaneris, affectionately known as "Campy," to play all nine positions in that night's game.
Campy did exceptionally well in the effort, even pitching ambidextrously, throwing lefty to left-handers, and switched against right-handers. In that inning, the eighth, Campy allowed two walks, one hit and one run. He eventually was injured following a collision at home plate, while making a tag in the ninth as a catcher. The A's lost the game to the California Angels in the 10th inning 5-3.
The stunt worked. Campaneris became the first player ever to play all nine positions in a game, and the attendance was over 21,000 for a team that was averaging about 10,000 fans a night down the stretch.
Campaneris is best known to Detroit Tiger fans as the guy who hurled a bat in anger at Tiger pitcher Lerrin LaGrow after being plucked by a pitch in the 1971 American League playoffs.
Three years later, on September 22, 1968, the Minnesota Twins found themselves in a similar position. Failing to get wins, the Twins attendance had plummeted, so they decided to let their most valuable player, Cesar Tovar, try and replicate Campy's stunt, with one difference. Tovar would play the nine positions in the order they appear on the score card. So, in the first inning, Tovar would pitch (position number 1), and the second, he would catch, and so on.
Their opponent that day was the Athletics (now playing out of Oakland), which meant Tovar first pitch would be to the A's lead off hitter, Bert Campaneris. After retiring him on a popout, Tovar got out of the inning giving up only a walk. In the second the stunt almost hit a snag when according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Tovar spent the majority of his inning at catcher in a "semi-crouch as the shin guards were too long for his stubby legs."
The Twins went on to win 2-1.
No one attempted the feat again until 2000, when two players did it. Scott Sheldon of the Texas Rangers did it as an after thought when coming off the bench in a 13-1 blow out loss to the Chicago White Sox. Manager Johnny Oates was thinking about letting Sheldon try it later in the season, but with the game out of hand, he moved the idea up. Sheldon was playing in only his 23rd big league game.
“He deserves it,” Oates told ABC News. “For a guy that doesn’t have a lot of major league service, he can say how many thousands of men have played professional baseball and only three have done it?"
Last, but not least, was Detroit Tiger Shane Halter who did it on the final game of the 2000 season at home against Minnesota. In a wild 12-11 win, Halter got more action at all of his positions than any of the others, making put outs and assists at many of them.
Here's a look at his big game.