This day in baseball: The switch-pitcher

It’s not something we see every day, but on July 18, 1882, Louisville Eclipse pitcher Tony Mullane pitched using both arms in a game against the Baltimore Orioles.  He did not wear a fielder’s glove in order to keep both hands free for his efforts.  Unfortunately, Mullane’s unconventional approach did not provide enough of an advantage, as the Eclipse lost in this game in Baltimore.

Photo source: Bleacher Report

Interestingly, Mullane was not born ambidextrous, but rather, taught himself to throw left-handed after suffering an injury to his right shoulder.  Oftentimes, he would set himself with both hands on the baseball, thus giving the batter no indication as to which arm he would use to throw the next pitch.  Mullane was also a respectable hitter and also quite talented at scooping the ball out of the dirt sans glove, which earned him playing time at first base when he wasn’t pitching.  Admiring fans and reporters nicknamed him “The Apollo of the Box” (for his apparent good looks) and recorded 1,803 strikeouts during his career, but unfortunately has never been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

4 thoughts on “This day in baseball: The switch-pitcher

  1. pat vinditte pitches with both arms. he’s in the yankees minor league system and threw for the italian team in the wbc. bummer that he hurt his right shoulder because he was beginning to be very effective. in 2011 at AA, he struck out 88 in 90 innings, allowing 80 hits. it’s a search and a half to find his pitch splits.

      1. yeh, but he tore the labrum in his right shoulder, so he’s stuck in the gulf coast league for now. there’s a decent sized wikipedia entry on him with links to his milb stats page and a paragraph on the rule change that was created because of him.

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