My number two Wilmington Blue Rocks moment is…
Utility man Jimmie Byington playing all nine positions.
Byington was the first ever Blue Rock to play all nine positions in a game on June 15, 1996. It was one that I remember for a few reasons: 1. Byington was one of my favorite players, 2. It was a standing room only crowd, and 3. I had lost a pop up in the sun earlier in the day at my softball game and had a black and swollen eye. I’m just glad that I had been stubborn and still wanted to go to the game.
The Blue Rocks post their starting lineup for each night’s game right as you enter the ballpark. I was a bit confused seeing Byington’s name listed as the pitcher, but also intrigued.
The Blue Rocks had already won the first half Northern Division title, so it was a nice gesture by manager John Mizerock. In his one inning start against Prince William (then a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate), Byington induced two ground outs and struck out his final hitter (Jason Evans).
In the second, he moved to first base and then caught Phil Grundy in the third (which was two ground outs and a strikeout). In the fourth, Byington played third base, then shortstop in the fifth, and second base in the sixth. He went from left field to right field and finished the game in centerfield.
At the plate, Byington went 1-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. He was also hit by a pitch in his final at-bat.
Unfortunately, the Blue Rocks lost, 1-0. It was a crazy game to keep score, but I did my best (and I’m glad I kept it).