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  • Lefty Catcher

    Has anyone here seen or been a successfull lefty catcher at the highschool or college level? I used to do it,I never even noticed or was bug by the batter being in my way, i didnt even no leftys didnt catch until my coach informed me 2 years after i started. I was one of the best in the league,the only reason i stopped is because i couldnt find another glove. I also played third for a while successfully, untill i gave into the prejudance and finnaly settled comfortly at first/OF.

  • #2
    Watching a lefty play third is ugly but there are several female catchers in fastpitch at the highest levels. I think the problem in baseball with lefty catchers is tradition more than reality.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mark H
      Watching a lefty play third is ugly but there are several female catchers in fastpitch at the highest levels. I think the problem in baseball with lefty catchers is tradition more than reality.
      No it's reality.
      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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      • #4
        then how come i didnt even notice for 2 years?i mean its not that big of a deal, i take a little bigger of a step when i throw, and i never had a problem at all.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jake Patterson
          No it's reality.
          I look forward to understanding why as I am sure you are going to support your assertion.

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          • #6
            Here is a great write-up on the topic from www.baseballcatchers.com, some interesting thoughts:

            Being left-handed in baseball, except in rare cases, means exclusion from the position of catcher. This is due in large part to the game's counterclockwise flow. There have only been 33 left-handed throwing players who caught in at least 1 defensive inning. If you exclude the ten men who only caught in a single game, then you're talking about just 23 players. If you count only those guys who caught a 100 or more games in a career, you're down to exactly five left-handed throwing catchers. However, if you're only counting career catchers (minimum of 1,000 games caught), then you have exactly one and that is Jack Clements.


            Why left-handed throwers are effectively banned from catching is less obvious than why they can't play shortstop or third base. And perhaps completely wrong. The most common reason cited is that a left-handed catcher is at a disadvantage in making the throw to third base, especially with a right-handed hitter at the plate. While this may be true, the overall effect is debatable.

            The average major league team attempted 14.6 steals of third base during the 1998 season - - one every 11 games. Success rate of throwing out runners at third by a catcher was around 21% (3.07 caught out of 14.6 attempts). The success rate in 1998 at first base was around 40%. Right-handed catchers appeared to have little problem with the pickoffs at first base, the equivalent of a lefthander's throw to third.

            The lack of left-handed catchers is more of a traditional thing than reality say most scouts. There are obstruction issues on some of the throws a catcher has to make, but there are some advantages to being left handed as well. One advantage is a left-handed catcher's ability to frame a right-handed pitcher's breaking balls. A right-handed catcher catches a right-hander's breaking ball across his body, with his glove moving out of the strike zone. A left-handed catcher would be able to catch the pitch moving into the strike zone and create a better target for the umpire.

            However, consummate left-hander Bill Lee argues against the left-handed catcher. "Lefties can't play catcher because your head hangs over home plate when you make a tag." "You've got the ball in your right hand, you're blocking the plate with your left foot. When you go to make the tag, you're exposed. A lefty catcher would get killed."

            Several left-handed throwing major leaguers has a stint at catching early in their careers. White Sox first baseman Mike Squires even caught 2 games in the majors. Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks ace pitcher) caught for a little while.

            Another reason there are no left-handed catchers today may be simply because there are few, if any, left-handed catcher's mitts available to young players. Virtually all left-handed mitts have to be top-of-the-line gloves specially ordered.

            Just add that to the list of obstacles that have gone up without apparent reason. But, left-handed catchers have played in the major leagues, although there have only been a few. The first left-handed throwing catcher was Fergy Malone (1871-1877) who caught 27 games in 1871. This is the very first year of major league baseball, although there is some dispute as to whether or not the 1871 National Association should be counted as major league. The Last left-handed throwing catcher to play the position was Benny Distefano who caught 3 games in 1989 for Pittsburgh.

            The strangest left-handed throwing player to catch in the major leagues was Phillies pitcher Christ Short. As the story goes it was a defensive maneuver by manager Gene Mauch. Short caught for one batter so that Mauch could bring in a righty, then put Short back on the mound.
            Coach Weaver
            www.catchingcamp.com
            Facebook: New England Catching Camp
            Phil 4:13

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            • #7
              according to baseball-almanac.com even the babe used to catch lefty.he used to catch the ball in a rightly glove, drop the glove pick it up and throw the ball!(sorry couldnt find exactly where it says it)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kckid2599
                according to baseball-almanac.com even the babe used to catch lefty.he used to catch the ball in a rightly glove, drop the glove pick it up and throw the ball!(sorry couldnt find exactly where it says it)
                You're correct, he used to catch at St. Mary's and was actually scouted first for catching. Explosive reflexes, a cannon for an arm, and as tough as they came behind the dish. He didn't drop the glove on the ground though, it was more a quick switch and grab the ball and throw. Practiced enough, becomes a very sublte move. ps. He played shortstop in exhibitoin games too

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                • #9
                  I am 10 years old and the star in my league, and I play a little catcher and I can throw out pretty good I do not think there is anything wrong with us lefties being catcher
                  Rest in Peace Jose Fernandez (1992-2016)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mark H
                    I look forward to understanding why as I am sure you are going to support your assertion.
                    CatchingCoach can give you more information on this than I - but the biggest reasons are most hitters hit from your throwing side, this obstructs your vision of the runners and presents a throwing obstruction you have to overcome. This doesn't mean at the youth level you can't do it, but at the high school and higher levels, where performance is measured in tenths of seconds, it is avoided at all costs. Hope this helps...
                    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Jake,

                      Do you think that with a lefty catcher, and the umpire realizing this throwing issue, that the ump will be more aware/sensitive about calling interference? Maybe a lefty catcher could actually help by "acting" in a few crucial situations.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                        Jake,

                        Do you think that with a lefty catcher, and the umpire realizing this throwing issue, that the ump will be more aware/sensitive about calling interference? Maybe a lefty catcher could actually help by "acting" in a few crucial situations.
                        I think the benefits outweigh the deficits. There are great advantages being left handed, unfortunately being a left handed catcher is one. I would ask Blue Steve about your question. I don't think a good ump would see it different.
                        "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                        - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jake,

                          I never discourage a youth catcher that is a lefty from catching. It will add so much to his understanding of the game. If he is a pitcher as well he will have much better understanding of what the strikezone looks like to an umpire. He will get a great understanding of how the entire field moves (or doesn't) with each play. He will develope some physical toughness that will empower him at other position.

                          But I am quick to privately counsel his parents that his chances are remote of ever catching at the high school level, and certainly not at the college level.

                          The main concerns I have are based on the fact that most batters are right handed. He will be at a disadvantage when he throws to 2nd having the batter in his face so often. It is always more efficient to throw when your back is to the batter.

                          My next concern is that to rh batters he will have a tougher time on pitches middle-in keeping them looking like strikes. Fast balls that are middle-in will be racing away from his glove and he will have to try to keep them on the plate with a backhand glove position.

                          And the last reason I counsel parents to get them working on another position when they get to the big field is the reality that at the HS level, any where, lefties do not catch.

                          HOWEVER!!!!! If the player is not aspiring to play HS baseball and has town Babe Ruth programs to play in, then I have seen a number of lefty catchers get their chance to get behind the plate.

                          HOWEVER #2!!!!!! In the girls game there are many HS catchers that are lefties, and many at the college level. The reasons there I believe are that the "old-school" thinking of baseball is not present in the womens game so the default answer isn't such a quick NO!.

                          Also the womens game behind the plate is significantly different then the mens. The girls need to be much better fielders then the guys with all the bunts, drag bunts, slap hits etc. With so many balls in front of them to field and throw to first it makes it actually much easier if you are left handed.
                          Last edited by Catchingcoach; 02-16-2006, 07:07 PM.
                          Coach Weaver
                          www.catchingcamp.com
                          Facebook: New England Catching Camp
                          Phil 4:13

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Catchingcoach
                            Jake,

                            I never discourage a youth catcher that is a lefty from catching. ...But I am quick to privately counsel his parents that his chances are remote of ever catching at the high school level, and certainly not at the college level.
                            Hey Coach - Agree
                            I handle it in a similar fashion.

                            When I was a kid we had a left handed catcher (I don't remember where or how he ever got a mitt). He would actually step left before he threw and throw to second from behind the batter. It was weird to watch.
                            "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                            - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                            Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              CatcingCoach,

                              Do you see a problem with a right handed catcher, framing pitches middle-in against lefty batters? With the proper technique/strength, this shouldn't be an issue at all. I can see the throwing problem issue though, which is why I asked about interference. It's possible that it could end up helping, who knows.

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