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Padres two-game wonder: Sean Mulligan, 1996

Denis Poroy

Of the ten two-game wonders in Padres history, Sean Mulligan had the briefest career. While two others eventually joined him in spending the only two games of their major league career in San Diego, he spent less time between the white lines than either of them. In fact, despite being on record as appearing in two games, Mulligan spent the least amount of time actually in action on a baseball field as humanly possible. That sounds convoluted, but everything will become clearer in a moment.

Sean Mulligan made his major league debut on September 1, 1996. Well, Sean Mulligan technically made his major league debut on September 1, 1996. In the top of the eighth inning of a game in Montreal, down 7-3 with no outs, and Tony Gwynn on third and Ken Caminiti on second, Padres manager Bruce Bochy called on Mulligan to hit in the pitcher's spot against Expos lefty Jeff Fassero. Expos skipper Felipe Alou countered by jogging to the mound, gesturing to his right arm, taking the ball from Fassero, and handing it to Mike Dyer to create a right-on-right matchup. In turn, Bochy called Mulligan back from the on-deck circle and sent left-handed batting Scott Livingstone to the plate. Despite not actually playing in the game, Mulligan was credited with an appearance because he was placed in the lineup and announced. This might remind baseball trivia fans of Larry Yount's career. As some of you recall, Robin's older brother was called in from the bullpen to make his major league debut with the 1971 Astros, injured himself taking his warm-up throws, and never made it back.

Mulligan got his second chance to make a first impression on September 6. In a road game against the Cardinals, Bochy once more tasked him with pinch-hitting for the pitcher. With one out in the top of the ninth, with Tony Gwynn and Ken Caminiti on base yet again, Mulligan stepped in against Danny Jackson. He grounded the very first pitch off Jackson's glove to shortstop Royce Clayton, whose only play at that point was to get the sure out at first.

That one pitch was the only major league action Mulligan would experience.

While Mulligan narrowly avoided being remembered as the position player version of Larry Yount, he did wind up becoming the answer to a more obscure trivia question a few months later. In a move that sounds straight out of one of the Major League movies, Padres general manager Kevin Towers traded Mulligan to the actual Cleveland Indians for $75,000 cash...

...and a treadmill.