The Best Lefthanded Batters and Lefthanded Pitchers in Baseball
In the early years of baseball (prior to the year 1900) you were more likely to see a lefthanders playing one of these forbidden positions (catchers, shortstop, second-base or third-base) than any time since then. While records prior to 1900 as sketchy, there were no lefthanders who played the infield as their primary position and only one who played catcher as his primary position.
Jack Clements is the only left-handed thrower to have caught at least 1,000 games in the major leagues. His career spanned from 1884 to 1900. In the last 100 years, only three lefthanders have played catcher in a major league game, and only as emergency replacements when the teams regular catchers were injured or otherwise out of the game.
Mike Squires was one of those lefthanded catchers, playing 2 games/2 innings as a catcher in 1980. Squires played 10 years in the majors (from 1975 to 1984) with the Chicago White Sox. His primary position was first-base, and he was good enough to win a gold glove in 1981. He also played in a total of 14 games in 1983 and 1984 at third-base, starting 4 of those games and covering a total of 38 innings. He had 12 fielding chances with 3 put-outs, 9 assists, and no errors for a perfect fielding percentage.
Dale Long played 1o years in the majors (from 1951 to 1963) with a total of 6 different teams. His primary position was first-base, but he did play parts of 2 games (less than 2 innings) as catcher for the Chicago Cubs in 1958. He had just 1 fielding chance and 1 assist with no errors.
Benny Distefano played parts of 5 seasons in the majors (from 1984 to 1992) 4 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and 1 with the Houston Astros. He was primarily an outfielder and first-baseman, but played parts of 3 games covering 6 innings as a catcher for the Pirates in 1989. He had 2 fielding chance and 2 put-outs with no errors.
Wee Willie Keeler played in the major leagues from 1892 to 1910 and played in over 2000 games. Most of those games were played in the outfield, but he did play 44 games / 365 innings at third-base, 19 games / 99 innings @ second-base, and 2 games / 15 innings @ shortstop.
Hal Chase played in the major leagues from from 1905 to 1919 and played in over 1900 games. Most of those games were played as a first-baseman, but he did play 35 games /252 innings at second-base, 3 games / 7 innings at shortstop, 1 game / 11 innings at third-base.
Don Mattingly played 14 years in the majors (from 1982 to 1995) all with the New York Yankees. His primary position was first-base, and he won the gold glove award 9 times in his career. He played in 3 games in 1986 at third-base, starting one of those game and covering a total of 18 innings, He had 13 fielding chances with 1 put-out, 11 assists, and 1 error.