A first: 2 players, 4 teams, 1 day

How a suspended game led to weird baseball history

September 25th, 2021

On July 21, 's Marlins faced 's Nationals. Also on July 21, Duvall’s Braves faced Hudson’s Padres.

Wait, what?

That sounds impossible, but it’s true. And no, these two veterans are not time travelers -- at least, not really. But they did make some weird baseball history on Friday night, even if said history will be recorded as having occurred more than two months earlier.

Let’s try to explain, in four not-at-all-brain-bending steps.

1. Here’s the normal part. On July 21, Duvall went 1-for-4 as Miami’s starting right fielder at Nationals Park, while Hudson tossed a scoreless inning out of the Washington bullpen in a routine 3-1 Marlins victory. (The two did not face each other head to head, though).

2. On that same night, the second game of a Padres-Braves doubleheader in Atlanta was suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning due to rain.

3. On July 30, the Marlins traded Duvall to the Braves, while the Nationals dealt Hudson to the Padres.

4. On Friday night, the Braves and Padres concluded their suspended game, with Atlanta still serving as the home team at San Diego’s Petco Park. In the bottom of the sixth, Hudson came out of the Padres’ bullpen, and with one out, Duvall stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter, smacking a home run that will retroactively count as his 22nd of the season, even though it actually was his 38th. (Hudson was credited with the win after Fernando Tatis Jr.’s go-ahead homer in the seventh).

Got all that? Well, here’s where that history comes into play.

For baseball record-keeping purposes, both Duvall and Hudson are considered to have played each other’s teams in two separate games on the same day (July 21). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, via MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, it’s only the second time in the Modern Era that two players have both played in the same two games on the same date, while each suiting up for two different teams.

But while that is technically true, the first instance was nothing like this one, hinging on a trade that occurred between the two games of a Cardinals-Cubs doubleheader on May 30, 1922.

So in that case, only two teams were involved, not four. In other words, we can now say that Duvall and Hudson truly stand alone in the annals of bizarre baseball history.