Like Bert Campaneris


Sunday September 8th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   On this date in 1965, Kansas City Athletics shortstop Bert Campaneris became the first player in Major League Baseball history to play all nine positions in a single game. That’s a remarkable feat, but what made it even more amazing was that when he pitched he threw ambidextrously.

   Apparently he threw right handed to the right handed batters and left handed to the lefties. I’ve never heard of that before or since, and I always wondered why. As a kid, I tried throwing a ball with both hands but no matter how much I practiced, I couldn’t make it work. I’m a total lefty.

   A few players have done it since but only a few, like three or four. Bert Campaneris did it first, and has bragging rights for life. I don’t know who really cares all these years later, but I’ll bet his grandchildren have heard that story more times than they can count. They’re probably sick of it.

   I first read of this feat on the back of a baseball card when I was a kid, and it has always been a fascinating trivia tidbit. Once in a while if I’m with some fellow sports nut friends I’ll whip it out and more often than not it mystifies everyone. I should have something better to do, but I don’t.

   The reason I bring it up at all is that I feel a lot like Bert Campaneris with all the miscellaneous projects I’ve got going these days. I’m wearing a lot of hats, and am all over the field trying to be all things to all people. I know that’s a recipe for disaster as a rule, but I’m sure having fun at it.

   So far this year alone I’ve been a headlining comedian, hosted shows, done a storytelling show, been a radio talk show host on two stations, taught comedy classes in three places, did a one man show in Milwaukee that set attendance records and brought the King of Uranus character to life.

   Oh yes, I also finally finished production on the DVD project for James Wesley Jackson ‘The Enviromdian’ and arranged to get his website up and running at www.jameswesleyjackson.com. That took a lot longer than I thought, but I guess a lot of the other things did too. But I did them.

   Bert Campaneris didn’t set any significant baseball records during this particular game, but he didn’t embarrass himself either. He showed enough proficiency at each position to at least play it for a single inning in a Major League game. There aren’t many who can play even one position.

   So what did this stunt do for him? Not much actually. He went on to a long and above average career, and ended up being an all star six times out of his nineteen years playing. That must have netted him a nice pension, and he’s still alive at 71 to spend it. He lives in Scottsdale, AZ where he conducts baseball camps, and participates in Old-Timers games around the country. Not bad.

   It sounds like he has a pretty good life. That’s all I ever wanted as well. I bet Bert Campaneris doesn’t have to worry about paying his bills every month. He is still known for a gimmick he did in 1965, but he eventually settled in and had a solid career as a shortstop. I want to settle in also.

   I’m not embarrassing myself with all these projects, but I’m not able to do them as thoroughly as they probably need to be done either. Like Bert Campaneris, I need to settle into one position.

All nine positions in one game. Pretty impressive!

All nine positions in one game. Pretty impressive!

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