Just looking at the final score, there wouldn’t appear that anything amazing happened during the Detroit Tigers’ 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night. But if you happened to be watching the game, you likely noticed something extremely out of the ordinary. Tigers utility man Andrew Romine made history by becoming only the fifth major league player to play all nine defensive positions in a game.
“I’m just happy that we won,” Romine told Fox Sports Detroit after the game, still in disbelief that he managed to pull off the feat and earn the “W.” “I think it will kick in a little bit when I go and sit down with the guys in the locker room, but relief, happiness, you name it, I’m feeling it.”
“It was so much fun,” he added. “That was awesome.”
The idea for the 31-year-old to have such a night was two years in the making, according the Detroit Free Press, which published a story about Romine’s plans before the game Saturday.
Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus struck up a conversation with Romine in 2015 about the last player to accomplish the feat, noting it was also a Tiger, Shane Halter, who did it in 2000. It was then that Romine decided he also wanted to do it, and with the Tigers well out of playoff contention, Saturday proved to be the right time for the experiment.
Romine began his evening in left field, and, via some managerial gymnastics that saw players being shuffled around like cards, he wound up making his way through the nine positions, although he didn’t remain in each one for an entire inning. He played only a part of an inning at catcher, his first time ever playing the position in the majors, and pitched to just one batter, Miguel Sano, to start the eighth inning. Romine’s mound outing began dicey, but he shaped up at the end of a 3-1 count to induce a groundout to third from Sano. Because the score was so close, however, Ausmus pulled Romine after that.
Despite the short stints behind the plate and on the mound, what Romine did still counts, especially for Tigers fans who mostly appeared to appreciate having something to finally cheer for as their team’s subpar season winds down. Detroit is 64-97 with just one game to go, but it still made up a catchy hashtag for the occasion, #RomineAllNine.
Even Twins fans were on board.
The five big league players to play all nine defensive positions in a game are:
- Bert Campaneris, Kansas City Athletics (Sept. 8, 1965)
- Cesar Tovar, Minnesota Twins (Sept. 22, 1968)
- Scott Sheldon, Texas Rangers (Sept. 6, 2000)
- Shane Halter, Detroit Tigers (Oct. 1, 2000)
- Andrew Romine, Detroit Tigers (Sept. 30, 2017)