MLB History: The Rise and Fall of Marshall McDougall

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Almost all of the best players in MLB history are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, NY. In addition to all of the plaques, many players are commemorated for some accomplishment of their’s –– whether it be for hitting for the cycle or throwing a perfect game. One player that isn’t enshrined even though he accomplished something that no player in MLB history has ever accomplished. His name is Marshall McDougall. You might be wondering, how did a player who only had 18 MLB at-bats outdo all others? What happened to Marshall McDougall and why isn’t his name etched into MLB history?

MLB History: Marshall McDougall’s NCAA Career

Primarily a third baseman, Marshall McDougall began his collegiate career at Santa Fe Community College, but he transferred to Florida State University ahead of the 1999 season. It was during that 1999 season where McDougall would make baseball history. On May 9, 1999, Marshall McDougall went 7-for-7 with six homers, 25 total bases, and 16 RBIs in FSU’s 25-2 rout over the University of Maryland.

Those numbers shattered the NCAA single-game records for homers, total bases, and RBIs. In the process, McDougall hit for the home run cycle, which is another feat that has never been accomplished at the big-league level. As a result of his 1999 season, McDougall was a first-team All-American and was a finalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy. McDougall also won the Most Outstanding Player Award at the 1999 College World Series. He followed up his 1999 season with another strong showing in 2000, hitting 15 homers with 67 RBIs and a 1.048 OPS. McDougall declared for the MLB Draft that season.

MLB History: McDougall’s Pro Career

Oakland A’s

The Oakland A’s selected Marshall McDougall in the ninth round of the 2000 MLB Draft. Unfortunately for McDougall, the A’s had a crowded infield led by franchise staples Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis and had future MVP Miguel Tejada playing shortstop.

McDougall was solid in the minors in 2000 and 2001, although his power numbers were a far cry from what he did in college. In 2002, McDougall was hitting .303/.374/.486 with nine homers, 22 doubles, five triples, and 56 RBIs in Double-A Midland when the A’s traded him to Cleveland for Ricardo Rincon. McDougall didn’t know it at the time, but this trade caused one of the most iconic scenes from any baseball movie ever made.

Cleveland Indians

After he was shipped to Cleveland, McDougall found himself once again blocked in the infield. He continued to rake in the minors, but he only played in seven games in Double-A the rest of the season. The Indians though had a glut of infielders, led by All-Stars Travis Fryman and Omar Vizquel. Cleveland left McDougall unprotected following the 2002 season, and he was selected by the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft. His chances at MLB history were slipping away from him.

Texas Rangers

McDougall failed to crack the majors in 2002, but the Rangers decided to hold onto him. Once again though, McDougall found himself on the outside looking in despite his improving play in the minors due to the crowded Rangers infield. The mid-2000s Texas Rangers’ infield sported some of the most talented players in MLB history. They were led by All-Stars Michael Young, Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez. The Rangers ended up trading Rodriguez to the Yankees following the 2003 season, but they acquired another star infielder in Alfonso Soriano in the A-Rod trade. Once Soriano was traded to the Nationals, the Rangers brought up another stud infielder in Ian Kinsler.

Blocked by one of the best infields in MLB history, McDougall made the most of his time in the minors. In 2004, McDougall hit a strong .288/.355/.506 across 112 games while spending a majority of the season in Triple-A. In 2005, after tearing up the minors, McDougall finally cracked the big league roster. He made his MLB debut on June 7, 2005, following an injury to Alfonso Soriano.

On June 22, McDougall recorded his first MLB hit, a single off Angels pitcher Jarrod Washburn. McDougall’s time in the majors was short-lived though, and he would finish the season going 3-for-18 with 10 strikeouts and one double. In 2006, he only played in four games and was released by the Rangers in the middle of the season. Unfortunately, this is what happens when some of the most talented infielders in MLB history happen to be in the same organization.

Los Angeles Dodgers

In February of 2007, the Dodgers signed McDougall to a minor-league contract. Once again though, McDougall was stuck behind some of the more talented infielders in MLB history. The Dodgers had Nomar Garciaparra, Rafael Furcal, and Jeff Kent manning McDougall’s positions. He hit well in Double-A and Triple-A in 2007, hitting a cumulative .283/.324/.485 with 22 homers and 95 RBIs in 139 games. He never made the majors though and wasn’t re-signed by the team.

San Diego Padres

In December of 2007, Marshall McDougall signed a minor-league contract with the San Diego Padres. While the Padres didn’t have one of the more talented infields in MLB history, McDougall only played in 31 minor-league games and struggled during that time. He only managed a .700 OPS and hit just one homer in 114 plate appearances. McDougall once again was a free agent following the 2008 season, but this time, he didn’t sign with an MLB team.

Mexican League

McDougall had spent time in past seasons playing in the Mexican Pacific Winter League, and in 2009, he signed with Broncos de Reynosa to play a full season in the Mexican League. He played well with the team, batting .286/.336/.479 with 20 homers, 20 doubles, and 86 RBIs in 463 plate appearances. He played in the MPWL again that offseason but decided to take his talents elsewhere in 2010.

Chinese Professional Baseball League

Ahead of the 2010 season, Marshall McDougall signed with Uni-President Lions of the CPBL. McDougall played in 84 games in the CPBL and put up some solid numbers. He hit .297/.341/.439 with eight homers, 19 doubles, and 35 RBIs. McDougall didn’t re-sign with the Lions though and returned to North America following that season.

McDougall’s Return to Reynosa

McDougall returned to Broncos de Reynosa for the 2011 season. While he only played in 99 games during the season, McDougall had arguably the best season of his professional career. He tore up the league, hitting .327/.400/.520 with 15 homers, 29 doubles, and 79 RBIs. In 2012, McDougall only played in 35 games for Reynosa, but he was dominant during that time. He hit .341/.407/.628 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 145 plate appearances. Unfortunately, McDougall never played in professional baseball after the 2012 season, thus ending his baseball career at the age of 33. He is now the head baseball coach at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Florida.

Reflecting On Marshall McDougall’s Career

In college, Marshall McDougall accomplished something that has never happened in MLB history. In professional baseball, McDougall was a solid player in MiLB but was never really given a chance to prove himself in the majors. He got blocked behind some of the most talented infielders in MLB history. We don’t know what could have happened if Marshall McDougall had landed in different organizations, but his accomplishments throughout his baseball career shouldn’t be forgotten.

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Mathias is a graduate student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. He is currently studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism on the Sports Media and Communications track. He graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2021, where he studied journalism and served as the Sports Editor and Opinions Editor for the school's newspaper, The Signal. He joined Overtime Heroics as a writer in June of 2019 and became an editor in December of 2020 before taking over the MLB department in June of 2021. Mathias is also a former varsity swimmer and is the youngest of five kids.