Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day Lefties

In honor of Labor Day, let's look at guys who spent most of their life laboring against baseball's norms in order to ply their trade. I'm talking about left-handed throwers at positions that don't really fit them: catcher, third base, shortstop, and second base.

First, the guys who appeared primarily as a catcher:
  1. Jack Clements, 1884-1900 (1073)
  2. Sam Trott, 1880-1888 (272)
  3. Pop Tate, 1885-1890 (202)
  4. Sy Sutcliffe, 1884-1892 (186)
  5. Fergy Malone, 1871-1884 (178)
  6. Bill Harbridge, 1875-1884 (159)
  7. Mike Hines, 1883-1888 (99)
  8. John Humphries, 1883-1884 (75)
  9. Art Twineham, 1893-1894 (52)
  10. Dave Oldfield, 1883-1886 (35)
  11. Joe Wall, 1901-1902 (7)
  12. John Mullen, 1876 (1)
Okay, so maybe it was more accepted in the 1880's for lefties to catch. Whatever. The most recent left-handed to don the gear was Benny Distefano, an outfielder/first baseman, for three games in 1989.

Here's our lefties that primarily appeared as third basemen:
  1. Hick Carpenter, 1879-1892 (1059)
  2. Ed Pinkham, 1871 (18)
  3. Marty Swandell, 1872-1873 (8)
  4. Milo Netzel, 1909 (6)
  5. John Newell, 1891 (5)
The most recent was Mario Valdez, appearing in one game at third for the White Sox in 1997.

The shortstops:
  1. Jimmy Macullar, 1879-1886 (325)
  2. Jimmy Hallinan, 1871-1878 (111)
  3. Billy Hulen, 1896-1899 (92)
  4. Russ Hall, 1898-1901 (36)
  5. John Shoupe, 1879-1884 (10)
  6. John Corcoran, 1895 (4)
The most recent appearance by a left-handed shortstop was Tom Chism in 1979, though he was only listed at short to get an at-bat and was promptly replaced in the lineup in the bottom of the first. Ditto for Royle Stillman in 1975. That means Russ Hall in 1901 was the last guy to appear in a game as a left-handed shortstop.

Finally, the left-handed second basemen:
  1. Bill Greenwood, 1882-1890 (538)
  2. Bill McClellan, 1878-1888 (436)
  3. Tom Evers, 1882-1884 (110)
  4. Kid Mohler, 1894 (3)
  5. John Hiland, 1885 (3)
The most recent player was Gonzalo Marquez, appearing in two games for Oakland in 1973.

EDIT: My father wrote me to say that Marquez batted in the top of the first as a second baseman and then was replaced both times he "appeared" there. Thus, the last lefty out there actually was Hal Chase in 1916.

EDIT #2: Sam McDowell, left-handed pitcher of the Cleveland Indians, spent one-third of an inning at second base on July 6, 1970. He recorded a putout on a 5-4 putout to end the top of the eighth inning before returning to the mound to pitch the ninth.

EDIT #3: Don Mattingly spent one-third of an inning at second base at the conclusion of the Pine Tar game. Thanks to Robert for pointing that out!

1 comment:

D said...

Interesting subject. I remember the Yankees using Don Mattingly at third base for a series against Seattle in the Kingdome. Also, the Brewers have opposed a left handed throwing catcher. Back in the AL days Mike Squires of the White Sox spent a few innings behind the plate.