If all goes as planned, New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole will hold this strange record.
This offseason has been marred in uncertainty for MLB, except for one thing. Both the players and the owners are on board with finally instituting the universal DH rule in baseball. Oddly enough, if there ever is a 2020 MLB season and the rule is put in place, the last time a starting pitcher would have swung a bat in a professional baseball game was current New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.
It happened in Game 5 of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Wa10shington Nationals. Cole pitched lights out, going 7 innings, striking out 9 batters, and allowing just one run.
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It was the bottom of the 7th inning, two outs, and the pitcher was Nats closer, Sean Doolittle. The previous batter, Martin Maldonado stood on first as Cole stepped up to the batter’s box. The Astros led 4-0, so AJ Hinch felt comfortable enough letting his ace take a few hacks.
For the most part, Cole looked overmatched by Doolittle, but he held his own extending his at-bat to five pitches. In the end, however, as expected, Cole struck out swinging to finish the inning.
Pretty anticlimactic, huh?
Not a single person in that stadium ever thought that history was being made with that at-bat. That on trivia Thursday at your local pub — if the novel coronavirus is ever eradicated — Gerrit Cole would be the answer to an epic question.
So file this away for later, because I’m sure you’ll soon find being asked by entities — be it a board game, an in-game question on the jumbotron at Yankee Stadium, or even on Jeopardy — trying to stump you.