September 17, 2007


Number of left-handers rises sharply (Maria Thompson, 17/09/2007, Daily Telegraph)

The number of left-handed people has risen dramatically over the past century, a professor has said.

The proportion of left-handers is now 11 per cent, compared to the three per cent it was among people born more than 100 years ago.

Chris McManus, the author of the award-winning book Right Hand, Left Hand, said the rise in the number of left-handed people may be because fewer left-handed youngsters were being forced to use their right hand.

Yet only three left-handed players have caught more than two games in the majors in the modern era. Anybody name one?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2007 8:41 AM

Benny Distefano, caught 3 games for the Pirates in 89.

Thanks google.

Interesting piece from 2006 HardballTimes on this issue.

It includes this gem from Bill James:

The notion that a left-handed person could not be a major league catcher is absurd...The biggest reason there are no left-handed catchers is natural selection. Catchers need good throwing arms. If you have a kid on your baseball team who is left-handed and has a strong arm, what are you going to do with him?

A pitcher of course.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 17, 2007 9:04 AM

Also, since there aren't any left-handed catchers, it's almost impossible to find a left-handed catchers mitt. The lefty goes somewhere else where he can get a glove.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 17, 2007 10:22 AM

Mike Squires. This was too easy to find on the web.

Posted by: Brandon at September 17, 2007 10:41 AM

Who told you to cheat?

The reason you'd make the kid a pitcher though is because lefties are incapable of throwing the ball straight. A benefit for a pitcher, not a catcher. Also, you'd never catch a runner stealing 3b.

Posted by: oj at September 17, 2007 11:21 AM

No one, of course. If someone had told me to, it wouldn't be cheating would it?

If we are allowed to indulge stereotypes, I'd like to point out that left-handers always claim to be creative types. And catcher is a very logic-demanding position.

Posted by: Brandon at September 17, 2007 1:36 PM


I did some kind of exercise in college during a timewaster class in which everybody had to take some quick psychological profile and we were divided up into groups based on our answers. The other groups (about four or five each) had one southpaw or two at the most. Our group, the supposedly "creative" one, had three out of four.

I'm not sure if that signifies anything, but I bet you'd be creative too if you constantly had to devise ways to navigate a world expressly designed to be the exact opposite of whatever makes you comfortable.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 17, 2007 2:41 PM

I didn't have to cheat. Squires was a Kalamazoo MI kid and us local yokels were well aware of his unusual accomplishment. I have one of his old bats out in my garage.

Posted by: JimBobElrod at September 17, 2007 2:48 PM

It was a Cubs legend when I moved to Chicago in the 1970's that Dale Long had caught 2 games back in the late 1950's due to injuries. Is he one?

Posted by: jeff at September 17, 2007 5:10 PM

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Posted by: oj at September 17, 2007 7:07 PM

I'm not 100% sure if this is fact checked, but I heard 25% of US presidents were left handed. This is a clear overrepresentation.

Both Reagan and Clinton are lefties.

Posted by: Bruno at September 17, 2007 9:57 PM
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