Who was a six-time all-star, six-time AL stolen base leader and three-time World Series champion in the late 1960s and 1970s? Unless you are an avid Oakland Athletics fan, you would be hard pressed to get the right answer of Dagoberto Campaneris Blanco. Better known as “Bert” or “Campy,” he was a Cuban American professional baseball player who played shortstop for four America League teams.
Aside from being a great baserunner, solid fielder and a world champion, Campy made history 51 years ago today when he became the first player to play every position in a Major League game.
In 1965, the Kansas City A’s were on track to a 103 loss season; so in a ploy to get fans in the stands they had “Campy Campaneris Night” on September 8th, 1965. In every inning he played a different position, starting with his normal shortstop position in the first. For the next eight innings he played: second, third, left, center, right, first, pitcher and then caught in the ninth. In the eighth inning, he pitched right and then left handed, only giving up one hit, one run and two walks, while also recording a strikeout.
He batted three times during the game, scored a run, walked once, stole a base and struck out once. In the field, he recorded five put-outs and had one assist in the field, as he snared a fly ball in center and muffed one in right.
The A’s lost in the 13th inning, 5-3, but not before major drama occurred in the ninth inning. When Campy was behind the plate, California tried to execute a double steal as he threw the ball to second baseman Dick Green, who rifled it back to Campy with a runner on his way home. With the score tied 3-3 and two outs in the ninth inning, the runner’s only shot at scoring was to run over Campy in order to knock out the ball. Campy, a shortstop, braced for impact and was able to hold on to ball and tag the runner out, preserving the 3-3 tie. Unfortunately for Campy, the collision forced him to leave the field and get X-rays.
Though Campy had to watch his team lose for the next four innings, he personally had a very good game playing every position, considering he is not a utility player. I can only imagine what he had in store for innings ten to 13; maybe he would have managed in the 10th, umped in the 11th, become the pitching coach in the 12th and then bought the team in the 13th.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn volleyball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.