The highly hair-gelled fan favorite Brandon Crawford was pulled into pitching duty as the Giants rode out their 13-3 win over the Chicago Cubs Sunday, and Crawford now has a 0.00 career ERA.
There was much highly unusual activity on the San Francisco Giants pitcher’s mound during this weekend’s three-game home series against the Chicago Cubs. First, we had a drag queen on the mound, as San Francisco Drag Laureate D’Arcy Drollinger threw out the honorary first pitch for Saturday’s Pride Day game.
Then another very unconventional development happened on that same mound Sunday. The Bay Area News Group reports that the Giants' longtime veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford got to pitch the garbage time ninth inning of a 13-3 win over the Cubs. Crawford is now in his 13th season with the Giants, and had never before played any position except shortstop prior to Sunday’s fun but successful stunt.
Now pitching for the San Francisco Giants, number 35: Brandon Crawford 🧡🖤 pic.twitter.com/2m1VXVvOpd— KNBR (@KNBR) June 11, 2023
“I always give pitchers a hard time about it not being that hard. So I think I proved today that it's not,” Crawford joked to MLB.com after the game. “They probably don't love that I have a zero ERA, because I'll continue to give them a hard time about it.”
Laugh it up, fuzzball, but Crawford’s outing actually started a little shaky. As seen in the pitch-by-pitch below, he walked his first batter, allowed the second batter to single, and nearly hit the batter with a pitch twice. But he found his groove.
As KPIX sums up Crawford’s one inning of work, “Crawford's first six pitches were balls before he got an 82 mph slider in for a called strike to Nico Hoerner. Hoerner hit a bloop single to center three pitches later. After Christopher Morel grounded into a fielder's choice, Ian Happ flew out and Dansby Swanson fouled out.”
Here is every Brandon Crawford pitch in his first pitching appearance pic.twitter.com/8Wz8eODyA2— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 11, 2023
Game over. Brandon Crawford now officially has a 0.00 career ERA as a pitcher.
Brandon Crawford's career 0.00 ERA is tied for the best in MLB history pic.twitter.com/Qsz8Cr6RjJ— KNBR (@KNBR) June 12, 2023
“I doubt many guys have played only shortstop for 1,600 games and pitched one game,” Crawford told the Bay Area News Group afterwards. “So I’m on a list there by myself, I think.”
Brandon Crawford played 1,564 games in the field, ALL at shortstop, before Sun— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) June 12, 2023
That’s the 2nd-most fielding games at ONLY 1 position prior to 1st pitching app among players to debut since 1900, behind only:
Mark Grace: 2,113 gms at 1B before pitching 9/2/02
h/t @EliasSports https://t.co/pPdRNr9YWi
In fact, he is indeed the only shortstop in Major League Baseball history with that distinction (or at least as far back as the statistics go to 1900). Though there is a slight exaggeration in his numbers. MLB’s Sarah Langs dug through the history books to find that Crawford had played 1,564 games, all of them exclusively at shortstop prior to Sunday.
Though he is not the record-holding infielder. He’s second to then-Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace, who played 2,113 games at first base before pitching one inning in 2002. But that was the tail-end of a 19-1 loss to the Dodgers, so you’d kind of rather have Crawford’s outing.
Image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the top of the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Oracle Park on June 11, 2023 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)