Tovar plays all nine positions

  • Updated: June 22, 2010 - 11:10 PM

The Twins' most valuable player in 1968 became the second player in major league history to play an inning at every position and gave a nearly flawless account of himself.

As part of a Twins ticket-selling promotion, versatile Cesar Tovar played all nine positions in a Sept. 22, 1968, game against Oakland.

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Editor's note: On Startribune.com/twins, you'll find a special project looking back at 50 memorable moments in the Twins' 50-year history. We are spotlighting some of the best moments (and original stories) on this page on weekdays through July 2. A version of this story, written by Tom Briere, originally ran in the Minneapolis Tribune on Sept. 23, 1968.

Baseball in 1968 ended at Metropolitan Stadium Sunday in a 2-1 Minnesota Twins victory over Oakland which saw Cesar Tovar play all nine positions.

Tovar, the Twins' most valuable player, became the second player in major league history to play an inning at every position and gave a nearly flawless account of himself.

As the starting Twins pitcher, he faced four batters, getting Bert Campaneris and Sal Bando on pop fouls, walking Danny Carter, and striking out Reggie Jackson on a screwball. Campaneris is the other major leaguer who has played all nine positions.

Tovar delighted the crowd of 11,340 with double and triple pumps. His fancy motion cost him a balk call with a man on base, but his earned run average of 0.00 is the lowest in Twins history.

As a catcher, Tovar spent most of the second inning in a semi-crouch as the shin guards were too long for his stubby legs. He had one putout as a catcher and didn't let a ball by him.

Perhaps his most outstanding play was in the third inning at first base, the final of the three positions foreign to him. He made a diving stop of Jackson's grounder and flipped the ball to pitcher Tom Hall for the putout.

Tovar handled three other routine putouts in left and center field in later innings as he made his way around the field.

Tovar was equally outstanding offensively, where he had a single, scored the Twins' first run and stole his 33rd base, a team record.

For awhile it looked as if Tovar and Hall would combine on a shutout, if not a no-hitter. Jackson got Oakland's first hit in the sixth, a bloop single to left center.

Hall gave up the other two Oakland hits in the eighth as his throwing error set up the A's single unearned run. Hall was credited with the win, making him 2-1 this year. Al Worthington retired the final five batters to record his 16th save of the year, also a team record.

Bob Allison, possibly making his final appearance as a Twin, drove in Minnesota's first and his 49th run of the year with a third-inning triple off loser John Odom. Rod Carew drove in the Twins' other run with a fifth-inning single, one of his two hits. Tovar was given a color television set by the Twins for his performance yesterday.

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