The countdown was on earlier this season. Someone was going to be the 20,000th player in MLB history, a mark that appeared to have been set when Mariners’ catcher Jose Godoy made his debut on May 21, 2021. His place in MLB history was seemingly assured, no matter how his career turned out.
But history has changed. Now that the Negro Leagues are being recognized as an official part of the major leagues, Godoy is considered to be the 22,395th player in MLB history. The new 20,000th player debuted almost exactly a decade before, when Randall Delgado made a start for the Atlanta Braves on June 17, 2011.
Meet the new 20,000th player in MLB history – former Atlanta Braves pitcher Randall Delgado
Delgado did not perform well in that spot start. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits and two walks in his four innings, striking out two. However, he did much better when he was brought back in September, finished the 2011 campaign with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.229 WHiP in his 35 innings, issuing 14 walks while striking out 18 batters.
After that solid showing, Delgado was considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball entering the 2012 season. However, he never lived up to that potential, eventually settling in as a solid reliever with the Diamondbacks before being released in 2018. He had suffered an oblique injury during spring training that year, and was unable to find his form afterwards.
Delgado bounced around in 2019, signing a minor league deal with the White Sox before going to the Yankees organization. From there, he pitched two games with the independent Kansas City T-Bones, dominating in his ten shutout innings. However, he has been out of baseball since, his final action on the mound coming at 29 years old.
While he never became the pitcher he was expected to be, Delgado had a solid career. He posted a 4.10 ERA and a 1.325 WHiP over his 542.2 innings, striking out 465 batters with 203 walks. However, his place is history is seemingly assured at this point, although the same could have been said for Godoy.
Delgado ended up with his place in history by approximately two and a half hours. Dustin Ackley, another former top prospect, also made his debut on that day. However, as Delgado’s outing was in Atlanta, and Ackley had a home game in Seattle, the Braves pitcher ended up with that honor.
There is a new 20,000th player in major league history. Atlanta Braves pitcher Randall Delgado earned that distinction back in 2011.