In 2015 comedian Will Ferrell took part in a fundraiser that saw him play for ten different Major League teams during a single day of Spring Training. Topps commemorated the event with by placing him on ten different cards in its 2015 release of Topps Archives.
Playing for 33% of MLB teams is a record, but it was done as part of a stunt inside of a single day of Cactus League games. What about real baseball? Pitcher Ted Gray played for 25% of MLB teams and half of the American League in 1955, amazingly doing so in only 23 innings.
Gray had been a strikeout artist prior to that odd season, whiffing almost 6 batters per 9 innings and leading the league in that department several times. During WW2 the Michigan native frequently racked up double digit strikeout totals in Army games and continued to do so in high level minor league assignments. His effectiveness in the majors was less complete, with a high walk rate filling the bases and a forkball that would drive runners in once opposing players learned to catch up with it. He played 8 seasons with the Tigers before recurring blisters hampered his pitching and contributed to his being traded to the White Sox at the end of 1954.
Gray started the ’54 season in Chicago, where he appeared in just 3 innings and gave up 9 hits. He was released by the Sox and picked up by the Cleveland Indians one month later. He made two disastrous relief appearances totaling a pair of innings before being cut again. The New York Yankees signed him the next day. Gray started for the Yankees, once again lasting only three innings before being pulled and released. The Baltimore Orioles added him to their roster and used him sparingly through the remainder of the season, totaling just 15 innings.
1952 Ted Gray Cards
Gray would have been a fairly well known name in early 1952. He is one of the players appearing in both the Bowman and Topps baseball card issues of that year. Gray was coming off a 10 game winning streak in 1950 that saw him named to the American League All-Star team.
The Bowman card (pictured above) looks really good, except that the artist decided to add a touch of realism by giving the pitcher sweat stains on his uniform. As far as I can tell, only Gray and White Sox hurler Howie Judson were the only ones given this treatment.
Topps opted for a more focused portrait when it included Gray in the first series of the 1952 checklist.