In a game against the Cincinnati Red Stockings on June 14, 1870 in Brooklyn, the Atlantics’ infielder Bob Ferguson led his team to an 8-7 victory that ended the Red Stockings’ 81-game winning streak. In an effort to avoid hitting the ball to the Red Stockings’ star shortstop, George Wright, Ferguson opted to bat from the left side of the plate, making him the first known switch-hitter in professional baseball.
7 thoughts on “This day in baseball: Birth of the switch-hitter”
Can you imagine the furor that must have caused?
I would’ve been fun to see in person!
I can imagine the astonishment when it happened – maybe there were boos and catcalls with quick checks to the rule book. I’m sure it threw the pitcher off.
Love that picture. And an 81 game winning streak! I’ll bet that was a hard-fought game.
Agreed! I can’t imagine any team today having a winning streak that long. And to be the ones to break it! I bet it was a great feeling for the Atlantics.
baseball sometimes leaves little room for the imagination with our exactitude creation stories. i was thinking some hermaphrodite broke the sex barrier.
Ha. Interesting analogy. But yeah, baseball does have a tendency to try to explain the origins of every little detail.