Rick Paulas has a deep look in the Awl at baseball players who, regardless of how long their professional careers were, only played in one Major League Baseball game. They’re in an interesting spot, possessing great enough talent to get them to the pinnacle of their profession but not enough to keep them there (though military service, luck, and injuries also play a role in some cases).
Some players performed poorly in their one game, others did…better.
On the final day of the 1963 regular season, John Paciorek had a hell of a career. The 18-year-old started in right field for the Houston Colt .45s — two years away from trading in the handgun for the Space Race-influenced “Astros” moniker — and had a perfect day at the plate: three-for-three, two walks, three RBIs and four runs. Nagging back injuries meant he’d never have a chance to blemish that perfection.
By the math in the article, 5.5% of all major leaguers ever have only played in one game. I can’t decide if that’s more or less than I would expect.