Today marks the one-year anniversary of an incredible Baltimore Orioles position-player-pitching feat.
On this day in 2019, Baltimore Orioles jack-of-all-trades earned a save pitching in the 16th inning against the Angels. This might not seem too notable, but Wilkerson became the first position player to do this in the history of the MLB.
With his unlikely record-setting moment, I am going to unofficially declare July 25 as Stevie Wilkerson Day.
Sadly, we fans will not get to see Wilkerson play on his unofficial day, because he is another one of the players that was not selected for the Orioles 30-man roster. He’s not even included in the 40-man roster. The only place you can see Wilkerson’s name is the non-roster invitee list where he shares space with Adley Rutschman, Dilson Herrera, and other men who probably couldn’t do any worse than the men on the roster did last night against the Red Sox.
But I digress …
On July 25, 2019, the Orioles and Angels remained tied through the 15th inning. After the Orioles scored two runs in the 16th off of a Jonathan Villar two-run home run, the Orioles were out of pitchers for the bottom of the inning.
This was where Wilkerson took the mound, after playing center field for the entire game. He didn’t do too well at the plate that day, going 1-7, but he did earn an RBI in the eighth by getting Villar home on a ground-rule double.
By the time the team got to the 16th inning, they had already used eight pitchers. With a game the next day, Brandon Hyde had to keep a few arms fresh. So, he put Wilkerson in. The unlikely closer never threw a pitch that was faster than 55 MPH, but that was enough for the O’s to get the 10-8 win.
Wilkerson faced three tough batters, Brian Goodwin, Kole Calhoun, and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. With the slow pitching, the bombers couldn’t get more than easy fly balls off Wilkerson, which was all the O’s needed.
This feat is so rare because position players are usually used when the team is losing or winning by a significant amount. They are never used in situations where a game is on the line.
Along with the setting the new record, the Orioles broke a notable one of their own for the 2019 season. Prior to that win, the Orioles were 0-62 when trailing after seven innings.