Cubs relief pitcher fulfills dream by getting first MLB at-bat, but admits he blew it

Screengrab of Billy Krumb Twitter video
·2 min read

This very well may have been a first in Major League Baseball history.

The Pirates were trailing the Cubs 10-1 in the ninth inning Wednesday in Pittsburgh, so shortstop Diego Castillo came on to pitch. After Chicago scored four runs in the top of the inning, manager David Ross let relief pitcher David Robertson pinch-hit for designated hitter Willson Contreras.

For Robertson, 37, this was a dream come true. In all but one of his 695 career games before Wednesday, Robertson had appeared as a relief pitcher. The one start came with the Rays, so Robertson had never been able to grab a bat and take a swing in his 14 seasons in the majors.

Robertson told the Chicago Tribune he had one goal: swing hard and hit the ball.

“I really wasn’t thinking about anything else,” Robertson told the Tribune. “It seemed like the mound was very close.”

Robertson worked the count full then struck out on a pitch out of the zone.

“(Ross and I) talked about it before the position player got in (to pitch),” Robertson told MLB.com. “If the DH was up and I came in, he could pinch-hit me for the DH. So we talked about it. I just didn’t think it was going to happen. We had to go all the way through the order for me to get up there.

“And then I blew it. I blew it!”

Robertson wasn’t upset that he didn’t reach base. He wanted career hit No. 1.

“It was easy to tell when it was going to be a ball or a strike when it’s 40 mph, but I wasn’t going to walk,” Robertson said. “I was going to swing. I had to try. I don’t know if I’ll ever get another opportunity, so I’m glad I did.”

Robertson may have missed his chance to get a hit, but he was part of a most unique plate appearance in MLB history.

Have you ever seen this before? It was a relief pitcher pinch hitting for the designated hitter against a shortstop who was pitching in relief.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get another opportunity, so I’m glad I did and made my dream come true,” Robertson told the Tribune. “Even though I struck out.”