August 04, 2011
When Ernie Banks said "Let's play two," he probably didn't have two baseball games in two different towns at two different levels in mind.
Still, you have to figure the Chicago Cubs legend would have to be pretty jazzed to learn about the Tuesday that Seattle Mariners rookie Kyle Seager(notes) went through. After playing in a day game at Triple-A Tacoma — going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts — the third baseman received a phone call from GM Jack Zduriencik at Safeco Field.
He was about to get a second chance by putting in some overtime with the big league club.
Seager and his fiancee quickly got into the car, and the pair raced up Interstate 5 — Federal Way is 23 miles south of Safeco Field — with just 30 minutes until first pitch.
"Yeah, we were going a little fast," Seager admitted. "But we got here pretty quick, so it was nice."
By the second inning, there was Seager in uniform standing in the Mariners dugout. He even pinch-hit for an injured Justin Smoak(notes) in the eighth inning [he struck out swinging] and played third base during the ninth to cap a wild day.
And here I thought it was impressive when I saw games in both Milwaukee and Chicago during the 2008 postseason.
Given the close distance between Seattle and Tacoma, I'm sure Seager's situation has probably happened before, but is still very rare. And after taking a look at the list of Triple-A affiliates, it looks like the same type of double-dip duty could work with the Detroit Tigers (Toledo), Boston Red Sox (Pawtucket), Atlanta Braves (Gwinnett) and Colorado Rockies (Colorado Springs).
BONUS: A few readers have pointed out that Joel Youngblood's busy day in 1982 tops Seager's running around. Youngblood started his Aug. 4 as a member of the New York Mets at Wrigley Field and hit a two-RBI single off Fergie Jenkins before learning he had been traded to the Montreal Expos. He left the game, caught a cab to O'Hare and hopped the next flight to Philadelphia. During that night's game, he hit a single off Steve Carlton. Two cities. Two games. Two hits off two future Hall of Famers. Nope, not bad at all.