The thread title kind of says it all. Has there ever been a pitcher who could throw both left and right?
Greg Harris of the Expos pitched right- and left-handed in an inning once in a game against the Cincinnati Reds on September 28, 1995
Three others did it in the 19th century.
There’s currently a kid pitching at the Univ of Creighton that does this:
This is an old memory, one for which I can’t find a cite. I remember Sammy Stewart, a pretty good relief pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles from the late 70s to the mid 80s, trying to do this in a game and being forced to stop by the umpire. As I recall, he took the glove from his left hand, put it on his right, and began his windup with the ball in his left. The ump called time before he threw the pitch and told him to cease and desist at the risk of expulsion.
What rule might he have been violating?
Jerome Holtzman, A Lesson in Switch Pitching:
In my years of umpiring Little League baseball, I’ve seen one ambidextrous player. The kid played shortstop right handed, and pitched left handed. I don’t think he ever switched while on the mound, though.
Wow, thanks for the great info guys. My dad and I were scouring our brains all day yesterday trying to think of an example.
It’s not too uncommon for a player to bat lefthanded and field right-handed. I know my dad does, because when he was growing up and playing with his friends, he could never find a left-handed glove to borrow.
What are rare are players who bat righthanded and throw lefthanded. Rickey Henderson is one of the most famous players to do that.
Slightly related hijack…
In Cricket, South Africa’s Gary Kirsten used to bat left-handed and throw and bowl right-handed. I believe that his father taught him to do so from an early age as most bowlers are used to (and therefore prefer/are better at) bowling to right-handed batsmen, and so to bat left-handed was an advantage.
In fact, this is extremely common. OTOMH I can think of the following left-hand batsmen who bowl/bowled right-handed:
David Gower (not that he ever bowled if he could help it)
and some right-hand batsmen who bowled left-handed:
Many of the above are much more famous for batting than bowling, or vice versa, but all have bowled at least once at international level. There are many more examples that I could come up with if I did a little research.
I have a vague notion that right/right is the commonest combination and left/left is the rarest. In addition to left-handed batsmen being a slightly unusual proposition for bowlers to face, there is a technical advantage to batting “wrong”-handed - the strong hand is on top of the handle and in control of the shot.
It’s relatively easy to learn to bat from either side of the plate; but almost everyone will throw with their dominant hand (the one they write with); largely because there’s no particular advantage to throwing RH vs LH. So someone who can throw with either hand is truly rare.
(But LH shortstops, second basemen and catchers are extremely rare. I just umpired a game with a LH catcher, and it was freaky.)