This day in baseball: The switch-pitcherPosted: July 18, 2013
It’s not something we see every day, but on 18 July 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.
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.