I don’t know how you classify ball players, but I tend to lump them into five categories: great, good, OK, not so good, and yuck. Most players who get more than a cup of coffee in the Major Leagues tend to clump in the OK and not so good categories with a sprinkling into each of the others. That’s really true of left-handed pitchers.

Did you ever notice how few truly fine left-handers there are? Do me a favor. Stop reading for a moment and sit down and try to write out your top 10 or 15 or 20 (at your discretion) southpaws. Now take a look at it closely. Notice how few truly great pitchers are on that list. Not a lot, right? I did that the other day while sketching out a different post and was shocked at how quickly I ran out of first-rate pitchers. Do it with right-handers and you go a lot longer on the list before you start getting into the good and OK categories. And for the record I’m talking about starters, not relievers or set up men. But in both cases, the number of first-rate lefties is really small.

Now obviously that has to do with the fact that only about 11% of the population is left-handed. But it still seems to me to be quite a small crew (less than 11% of pitchers) who can step out as top of the line lefties. I’m not so sure why that is. Maybe it’s just the small sample size (is that great alliteration or what?) that makes the difference.  So I’ve decided to advise my son to teach my grandson to throw left-handed. OK, the kid’s right-handed, but it’s not too late to teach him to throw with the other hand (he’s only six). Heck, there’s the potential for a lot a money and for a place among the elite of southpaws. Go ahead, son, give it a try. Do it for the old man.



3 Responses to “Southpaws”

  1. William Miller Says:

    So, who are your top ten lefties of All-Time? You’re right, the list gets short very fast. I made it to about ten guys, then gave up.
    My younger brother is left-handed, and has little interest in baseball. But I told him when he was in despair over turning 40 that there is certainly an MLB team out there that would pay for his services as a left-handed specialist out of the pen. Didn’t take me up on it, though. That’s little brothers for you.
    Have a Merry Christmas, Bill

  2. Sportsphd Says:

    Apparently CC Sabathia’s father did exactly that. Sabathia’s does everything right handed but pitch.

    • verdun2 Says:

      And it seems Brooks Robinson’s dad did it the other way round. Brooks writes with his left hand, but played ball with the glove on his left. Interesting.

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