The job demands a lot. Pinch-hitters must ready themselves physically and mentally for an at-bat that could come at any moment -- or never. Not all hitters are capable. Not all are fully willing. Those who are both might seize an opportunity to extend or expand a career.

10 Notable Pinch-Hitters In MLB History Slideshow


Smoky Burgess

His 146 pinch-hit RBI are 31 more than any other player, including six seasons of 10 or more. In 1965, he drove in 24 runs in the pinch, just one off the single-season record. The six-time All-Star catcher held the record for pinch hits with 145 when he retired in 1967.


Dave Hansen

From 1991-2000, Hansen hit .281/.388/.433 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 13 home runs and 60 RBI in 423 pinch-hit appearances. In 2000, he set a single-season record with seven pinch homers, tied the next year by Craig Wilson. Hansen is fourth all-time in pinch-hit appearances and sixth in hits.


Lenny Harris

He collected 84 more plate appearances and 37 more hits in that role than any other player, carving out an 18-year career despite never getting more than 333 plate appearances in a season from 1993-2005. On Oct. 7, 2001, he broke Manny Mota’s all-time record with his 151st pinch hit.


Cliff Johnson

No player who has pinch-hit 300 times can come close to Johnson’s .876 OPS, compiled from 1972-86. His 20 pinch-hit bombs stood as the record for 24 years after his retirement.


Jerry Lynch

He put together several fine seasons as a pinch-hitter, but his 1961 campaign for the Reds may be one of the best ever. In 59 plate appearances, he batted .404/.525/.851 with 12 walks, four doubles, a triple, five home runs and a record 25 RBI.


Willie McCovey

The Hall of Famer smacked 16 of his 521 career home runs off the bench, including a record-tying three grand slams, while his slugging percentage (.490) and OPS (.848) are both the second-highest among players with that many pinch-hit chances.


Manny Mota

The record holder for career pinch hits for more than 20 years, Mota still ranks third all-time in that category. His .300 average as a pinch-hitter survives as the best in history for players with at least 350 chances, including a .327 mark during the 1970s.


Merv Rettenmund

As a pinch-hitter, his greatest weapon was his eye at the plate, which allowed him to post a .422 on-base percentage in those situations, first all-time among players with at least 200 chances. In 1977, he drew 16 pinch walks, with a .463 OBP.


Seth Smith

In the midst of a solid major league career, the current Padres outfielder has posted MVP-level numbers as a pinch-hitter, with a line of .318/.410/.564 in 212 plate appearances through Thursday. In 2009 for the Rockies, he went an astonishing 17-for-36 (.472) with 10 walks, nine extra-base hits and 12 RBI.


Matt Stairs

The stocky Canadian slugger walloped a record 23 of his 265 career home runs as a pinch-hitter, including 15 in his age 38-42 seasons. That doesn't count his go-ahead two-run blast into the right field bleachers at Dodger Stadium that lifted the Phillies to victory in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series.

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Source: (pinch-hitting stats available back to about 1940).

Related Story: How MLB's Best Pinch-Hitters Prepare

-- Andrew Simon writes for You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.