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  • RuthMayBond
    replied
    Originally posted by metrotheme View Post
    I read a different interview with Distefano and he said that it had something to do with the concern that a lefty throw from behind the plate would tail to the SS side of the bag, causing the infielder to have to reach away from the runner for the ball.
    Um, a lefty throw should tail to the 2B side of the bag, unless the guys throwing a screwball.
    Even if it does, can't a catcher learn to throw to the 2B side of the bag?



    Hick Carpenter and Billy Hulen

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  • SHOELESSJOE3
    replied
    Here's one for ya. Left handed thrower playing 1/3 of an inning.
    July 6. 1970, Indian pitcher Sam McDowell after two out, relieved by Dean Chance 8th inning, Sam moved to second base.
    McDowell returns to the mound in the 9th inning, strikes out the side.

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  • metrotheme
    replied
    I read a different interview with Distefano and he said that it had something to do with the concern that a lefty throw from behind the plate would tail to the SS side of the bag, causing the infielder to have to reach away from the runner for the ball.

    I'd love to hear Mattingly's take on a lefty playing the infield.

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  • SHOELESSJOE3
    replied
    Originally posted by Imgran View Post
    The fact that a thing is not done, is no evidence at all that it cannot be done. Otherwise we'd all still be in caves drawing pictures on the wall with colored mud instead of sitting at computers.

    The part that gets me about this is that every position that is considered moderately difficult with the sole exception of CF is reserved strictly for RHT's -- the top 4 positions on the defensive spectrum IIRC are C, SS, 2B, 3B in that order and they've managed to find reasons that an LHT can't play any of them. The result is that a lot of RHD's can skate through the highest levels of ball on their glove alone, but if you want to be a lefty thrower in baseball you'd better mash.

    Can you say "Glass Ceiling?" Are we supposed to believe that LHT's cannot play any defensively challenging positions in baseball? That NO lefty can play up to a major league level at any of 2B, 3B, SS and C? That seems absurd on the face of it.

    I know that baseball is by nature a counterclockwise game but you'd think LHT's would have an advantage in at least one or two potentially difficult defensive positions. The most they can claim is a couple advantages when playing first base, the least difficult defensive position on the field. Again, that seems absurd on the face of it. What? No lefty in the world can ever play at a major league-level in a prime defensive position in the sport of baseball? Really?
    We all have our opinions but I have no idea how anyone who has seen the layout of the diamond and watched even a half dozen games is unable to able to realize why there are no LH throwing second, third basemen or shortstops.

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  • SHOELESSJOE3
    replied
    Originally posted by RuthMayBond View Post
    There's quite a difference between C and 3B. SS and probably 2B doesn't make sense for lefties, but C is not like that
    I won't debate that, while I think the LH catcher is a long, long shot it's a possibility.
    For sure LH throwing third baseman and SS, never happen.. I'll even throw the second baseman into there, not going to be.

    Yes there is as you say a world of difference, LH catcher compared to 3b and SS.

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  • RuthMayBond
    replied
    Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    The men that play the game know that there are negatives against LH throwing catchers and third basemen.

    Since 1900 the number of game played in MLB by a LH thowing catcher number 70, thats all in 108 years only 70 games with a lefty and 45 were by one man, Jiggs Donahue. Since 1950 only 8 games by LH throwing catchers.

    Look at the layout of the diamond and it's so plain to see why we also see so little number of games by LH throwing third baseman, 19 games since 1950.
    There's quite a difference between C and 3B. SS and probably 2B doesn't make sense for lefties, but C is not like that

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  • Mattingly
    replied
    I saw this article in the NY Times, so I figured that I should share:


    Mark Lyons for The New York Times
    The image is not reversed: Benny Distefano was a left-handed catcher in the majors 20 years ago.
    No lefty has played the position since.


    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Benny Distefano, in 1989,
    extended his career by catching.




    Left-Handed and Left Out
    The letters keep coming. Every few weeks, Benny Distefano will open his mail and find a letter from a Little Leaguer, or a parent of one, asking for advice. He is the only person they know who understands.

    Twenty years ago this Tuesday, Distefano, then a hanging-on major leaguer, served as a left-handed catcher in a major league baseball game. No one has done so since. Like Ladies Night and pitchers named Wilbur, left-handed catchers are effectively extinct — for reasons on which there is bizarrely little consensus.

    “I have no idea,” said Joe Mauer, the Minnesota Twins’ All-Star catcher (right-handed, naturally).

    “Is it because there are more right-handed hitters?” offered Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann.

    “There’s been nobody come into a game for 20 years? Really?” said a nonplussed Joe Torre, an All-Star catcher throughout the 1960s. “Well, first off, left-handed pitchers don’t throw the ball straight.”

    Major league teams have been panting for more catchers since shinguards, begging for mothers to allow their sons to play there, and yet they cut off an entire stream of talent that happens to throw left-handed. In the last 100 years, Dale Long caught two innings for the Chicago Cubs in 1958, Mike Squires the same for the 1980 White Sox.

    And since Aug. 18, 1989, when Distefano caught for the last time, baseball has embraced retro uniforms and even revenue sharing — but not the likes of Distefano. The minor leagues do not have one left-handed catcher right now.

    “It’s a slow-changing game,” said Distefano, now the hitting coach of the West Michigan Whitecaps, a Detroit Tigers Class A affiliate. “It takes a creative manager that’s willing to go with something that might be a little outside the box.”
    * * *
    Last edited by Mattingly; 08-16-2009, 02:36 AM.

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  • thefeckcampaign
    replied
    I have a friend of mine who was discouraged to play guitar left-handed. His teacher said he would thank him years later when the right-handed selection of instruments and their lower prices benefited him as well. He does just that.

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  • SHOELESSJOE3
    replied
    I do agree and experienced myself, some discouraging me from writing with my left hand. I attended a catholic school in the 1960s and some nuns would discourage students from writing with the left hand, this took place in the early grades, first and second. That did nothing to discourage the left handed throwers I knew from sticking to their left handed throwing, only their hand writing changed to the right side. Happy to say this is not in practice as much today, discouraging LH writing, it was wrong.

    One example of how one child that was discouraged from writing with the left hand did not deter him from continuing to throw left handed.
    Growing up in an institution he told of how he was discouraged from writing with the left hand, he ended up writing right handed but remained a left hander thrower. His name, Babe Ruth.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 10-02-2008, 06:31 PM.

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  • SHOELESSJOE3
    replied
    Originally posted by TonyK View Post
    This may have been mentioned already. Of the thousands of ML catchers over the years who threw righty, could some of them have been natural lefties who learned how to throw with their off hand when they were kids?
    The answer is probably very, very few. I can remember as a kid there were far more right handed throwers than left handers, far more. When we played there might have been a couple of left handed thowers out of the 10 or 15 kids playing pick up baseball in the playgrounds. It's fact there were far more right handed thowers, not better than lefty throwers, don't get excited, the RH thowers were greater in numbers.

    Very unlikely that natural lefties converted, most were RH from the start. If so the number was probably small.
    This is not to be meant to diminish LH throwers, this goes back years ago in the population, goes back generations, for what ever the reason RH out number left handers, it was handed down thats the reason.

    You seem to be taking this personal, it's not, it's nothing against LH throwers, it's the fact. The men that play the game know that there are negatives against LH throwing catchers and third basemen.

    Since 1900 the number of game played in MLB by a LH thowing catcher number 70, thats all in 108 years only 70 games with a lefty and 45 were by one man, Jiggs Donahue. Since 1950 only 8 games by LH throwing catchers.

    Look at the layout of the diamond and it's so plain to see why we also see so little number of games by LH throwing third baseman, 19 games since 1950.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 10-02-2008, 06:05 PM.

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  • TonyK
    replied
    This may have been mentioned already. Of the thousands of ML catchers over the years who threw righty, could some of them have been natural lefties who learned how to throw with their off hand when they were kids?

    According to John Walsh in Hardball Times: In 2005, the average ML team threw out only 12 runners at the plate all year. Since some of these plays were not even close he reasons a lefty catcher might be at a minimal disadvantage.

    His study of runners stealing 3B led him to conclude that the right handed batter hinders catchers more than what hand they throw with. This was based on watching replays of stolen bases. Batters duck and the catcher rarely takes steps towards 3B, but simply fires the ball. Another poster mentioned steals of 3B are uncommon. I am sure a ML manager would test a lefty rookie catcher. The first time his runner was thrown out might be the end of the test?

    His study of runners stealing 2B led him to conclude that it didn't much matter if the batter was a lefty or righty. The catcher's CS percentage was almost the same for both, and higher when a lefty was pitching. In 2004, lefties had 43% of all ML plate appearances. The lefty-righty batter argument appears weak when using actual ML stats to see if a lefty catcher would be in way over his head.

    One advantage to having a lefty catcher is you also get his lefty bat in the lineup too. We elect lefties to be President, but yet still don't trust them behind the plate.

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  • TonyK
    replied
    "If'n you wants to be a lefty catcher, you need left-handed catchers gloves."

    A look at Spalding's 1885 Baseball Guide shows what was available to amatuer and pro catchers back then:

    $3.50 - Left-Hand Catcher's Gloves. Full fingers on right hand for catching and fingerless on the left hand for throwing. Open backs.

    $2.50 - League RH Catcher's Gloves. The opposites for righties.

    $2.00 - Pro Gloves. For righties and of a lower quality.

    $1.50 - Amatuer Gloves. For righties and lighter gloves.

    $1.00 - Practice Gloves. For righties and poorer quality.

    $1.00 - Boy's Gloves. Boy's sizes and I'm assuming only for righties.


    Now the 1886 Spalding Guide:

    $5.00 - League Special RH Catcher's Gloves. The best quality.

    $3.50 - League RH Catcher's Gloves. One step down in padding.

    $2.50 - League RH & LH Catcher's Gloves. I think lefties could use them as both gloves are fingerless?

    $2.00 - Pro RH Catcher's Gloves. Less padding.

    $2.50 - Amatuer lefties gloves.

    $1.50 - Amatuer righties gloves.

    $1.00 - Practice righty gloves.

    $.25 to $.75 - Cheapest amatuer gloves all for righties.


    So during the time when dozens and dozens of lefty catchers were playing pro ball and amatuer ball, the largest equipment manufacturer was offering catchers gloves to them if they would be willing to pay a much higher price. The 1886 amatuer lefties gloves price of $2.50 may have forced many young catchers to play a different position.

    If anyone has Spalding Guides from 1887 on it might be interesting to see how this trend continued.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I agree. Baseball at the youth and less-competitive amateur levels is supposed to be fun, and anyone who wants to play should be able to. For the more competitive leagues, whoever is best at a position should be there... righty or lefty. For people to take things so seriously at the youth level (as they need to satisfy their egos by winning rather than by teaching kids the game and teaching them how to be good teammates and have fun), it really takes away a lot of opportunities for some.

    For the competitive and pro teams out there, give everyone a chance at whatever position, and then take the ones who are the best. Telling someone from the get-go that they can't even try out for a position because of a physical characteristic is very exclusive and limiting and can be more of a detriment to a team. The fact that there have been lefty MLB players who were successful shows that the stereotype of lefties not being able to play certain positions isn't true. I'm sure that those who were able to handle it weren't the only ones who'll ever be able to do so.

    If this stereotype hadn't existed at all and hadn't stemmed from societal views of left-handed people, how many more LHs would there be in MLB and other competitive levels who are successful in those positions? As for amateur levels, most coaches typically follow what MLB does, rather than thinking on their own.

    FYI... I'm not partial to LHs, either... since I'm right-handed.

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  • thefeckcampaign
    replied
    I added to this thread earlier but actually it was against my cause. I LOVED playing catcher and I was a lefty. I was even lucky enough in the 80's to have a lefty catcher's mitt. I started playing catcher from my first team in T-Ball on but I found after Little League I got the less support from everyone to play the position. As I entered the 90 ft league of Pony ball the position was taken away from me. Now I ask why?

    You all give some very valid reasons why maybe at a pro level a lefty catcher has very little advantages and more than a few disadvantages. That is fine but really how many people even come close to that level? When I went to try out for the High School team the coach wouldn't even let me get behind the plate. I played first from time to time and enjoyed that position so I decided to try out there but one of the guys trying out for first too was now retired NFL Offensive Lineman Mike Devlin so you can guess how that turned out. Then I turned back to the recreational team but this coach that drafted me put me in the outfield because his lefty son played first, I was not a pitcher and he did not want me to catch. Honestly I would have been content playing 1st the whole year even but you all know that wasn't going to happen. I played the outfield and mind you I was never comfortable there.

    Now by no means am I saying I would have even made the HS team as a catcher even if I was given a fair shot. I was good for little league but I am realistic. The jump from 60 to 90ft is a big deal and I am not muscular by any means. But why could I not play it in the recreational league? What I am saying is, isn't baseball suppose to be fun? For what reason is everyone taking it so serious on a recreational level that I wasn't allowed to catch or that I couldn't even TRY-OUT for HS catcher.

    Honestly, all of these situations completely discouraged me and I never played organized baseball again though I was only in 9th grade. Sad really because even now that I'm older it is really the only sport I truly follow.

    *By the way about 5 years ago some $%#@ broke in my car and stole my mitt along with a few other things as well.

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  • lefty4life
    replied
    a lefty catcher is better just because they dont have to do a spin and then throw on the 3rd base side bunt. but it doesn't matter on who plays where but the smarter more dedicated players that hustle will be the best. and my son was the best 3rd baseman in his league last year as a lefty who could throw 60 who can catch and throw.
    Last edited by lefty4life; 09-06-2008, 04:56 PM.

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