Someone told me about this today, and I had to share it – this was published by Sports Illustrated, and you can read it in their online archives. Good timing considering some of the questionable hitting we are seeing from AL pitchers in NL parks.
THE WEIRDEST AT BAT
Jose Nunez, a righthanded pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays who had never batted in the pros before, stepped in against the Phillies’ Kevin Gross in an exhibition game in Clearwater, Fla. Before Gross could throw a pitch, the third base ump motioned for Nunez to take off his warmup jacket. Then Nunez returned to the lefthanded-batter’s box and was told by plate ump Dave Pallone that he was wearing a righty’s helmet—the earflap covered his left ear rather than his right, which faced the pitcher. So Nunez turned the helmet around on his head and wore it catcher-style. No, no, said Pallone, get a lefty’s helmet. No, no, said Nunez, who moved across the plate to bat righthanded.
When Gross began his delivery he saw Nunez bent over the plate, looking back into catcher Lance Parrish’s glove.
“What are you doing?” asked Parrish.
“I want to see the signs,” said Nunez.
“O.K., what pitch do you want?”
A fastball it was, and Nunez lined it foul. He turned to Parrish and said, “Could you make that a changeup instead?”
At that, Pallone doubled over in laughter, and Gross needed a few minutes to compose himself. Finally, on a 2-2 count, Nunez grounded out to short.
Jose Nunez actually played in the NL for one season – with the Cubs in 1990 – and went 0 for 11 with a walk and one RBI. I’ll bet he knew how to stand at the plate by then.