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Position players pitching is one of the most absurd things in sports.
Yet it happens with regularity at the MLB level, where professional baseball teams on the wrong end of blowouts trot out most decidedly unprofessional pitchers to face big-league competition. Take, for instance, Frank Schwindel.
The Chicago Cubs first baseman is a fine hitter and a solid source of power with eight home runs and 30 RBI in 56 games this season. He is not, however, a capable MLB pitcher. He found himself on the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday as the New York Yankees held a 17-4 lead at home. The Cubs had gone through four pitchers at that point, and manager David Ross was done putting stress on his bullpen.
Catcher Kyle Higashioka was first up at the plate for the Yankees. On his first offering, Schwindel threw out this beauty:
Higashioka responded with his second home run of the day, this one over the left-field wall. Per Codify Baseball, Schwindel's lob clocked in at 35.1 mph and is the slowest recorded pitch in MLB history to result in a home run.
Some opined on social media that Scwhindel's toss was an eephus pitch. That's giving it credit for qualifying as a pitch at all, which is generous.
Schwindel escaped the inning without further damage to the scoreboard in the 18-4 Yankees win. He allowed a base hit to Aaron Judge, but retired the other three batters he faced.
Despite the historically bad pitch, it added up to a better effort than Schwindel's previous pitching outing. On June 3, he took the mound for the ninth inning of a 14-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. That day, he allowed two runs on back-to-back home runs by Corey Dickerson and Lars Nootbar.