Just to prove that there's nothing entirely new under the sun, I offer the following from one of my favorite baseball books ever: Christy Mathewson's Pitching in a Pinch (1912):
Mordecai Brown, the great pitcher of the Chicago Cubs and the man who did more than any other one player to bring four National League pennants and two world’s championships to that club, has a physical deformity which has turned out to be an advantage. Many years ago, Brown lost most of the first finger of his right hand in an argument with a feed cutter, said finger being amputated at the second joint; while his third finger is shorter than it should be, because a hot grounder carried part of it away one day. In some strange way, Brown has achieved wonders with this crippled hand. It is on account of the missing finger that he is called “Three Fingered” Brown, and he is better known by that appellation than by his real name.By the way, the book is downloadable for free from Project Gutenberg here:
Brown beat the Giants a hard game one day in 1911, pitching against me. He had a big curve, lots of speed, and absolute control. The Giants[Pg 83] could not touch him. Next day McGraw was out warming up with Arthur Wilson, the young catcher on the club.
“Wonder if he gets any new curve with that short first finger?” said McGraw, and thereupon crooked his own initial digit and began trying to throw the ball in different ways off it to see what the result would be. Finally he decided:
“No, I guess he doesn’t get anything extra with the abbreviated finger, but that’s lucky for you fellows, because, if I thought he did, I’d have a surgeon out here to-morrow operating on the first fingers of each of you pitchers.”
If you haven't read it, dump it on your Ipod or Iphone or Kindle and read it on the bus or plane. It's a hoot.