Addison Russell is doing something in his debut that hasn’t happened since 1998

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Cubs prospect Addison Russell is making his MLB debut tonight against the Pirates and he’s doing so batting ninth, because manager Joe Maddon has been using the pitcher in the eighth spot.

I wondered who the last position player to make his debut batting ninth for a National League team was and … well, it hasn’t happened for a while. There are a handful of instances where it happened in an interleague game played by AL rules, but obviously that’s a totally different story.

The last (and only) NL position player to make his MLB debut batting ninth in an NL game was Mark Little of the Cardinals way back in 1998. Tony La Russa was the Cardinals’ manager then and, like Maddon, he sometimes believed in batting the pitcher eighth.

On a related note: Everyone should subscribe to the Baseball-Reference.com “Play Index” so you can also look up random, weird stuff like this.