The Best Lefthanded Batters and Lefthanded Pitchers in Baseball
Since his minor league career started in 2008, Pat Venditte has pitched lefthanded against lefthanded batters and pitched righthanded against righthanded batters. He made it to the majors with the Oakland A's in 2015 and drew quite a bit of attention, but more as a novelty rather than his pitching skill.
Venditte has a specially made glove that he can wear on either his left hand or his right hand. His unique talent also required baseball to come up with a "Pat Verditte Rule" which forces a switch-hitter to decide which way he will bat once the switch-pitcher declares which hand he will be throwing with.
In parts of three seasons in the majors Venditte has 51 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched with a 4.45 earned run average. 2018 was his best year, pitching part of the year with the Los Angeles Dodgers he pitched in 15 games and had a 2.57 earned run average. For his minor league career, he has 34 wins, 30 losses and a 2.55 earned run average, with 58 saves, and 670 strikeouts in 593 innings.
There are no statistics that we could find that show how he has fared left-handed vs how he has fared right-handed, but his overall numbers will likely get him another opportunity in the majors. If he could be effective as either a lefthanded relief pitcher or a righthanded relief pitcher, he would have a successful career. If he could be effective with both hands, he would be an extremely valuable commodity in the game.
Prior to Venditte, there have not been any real Switch-Pitchers in the game. Baseball history books mention four pitchers who pitched with both hands in Major League Baseball in the 1880’s and 1890’s…Tony Mullane, Elton Chamberlain, Larry Corcoran and George Wheeler. Tony Mullane was a successful pitcher who won 284 games and lost 220 from 1881 to 1894. He was a righthander who taught himself how to pitch lefthanded when he suffered an injury to his right arm. After the injury healed he would sometimes alternate throwing right-handed and throwing left-handed in a game. There is no record of how many games he won left-handed versus how many he won right-handed, or how often he might have thrown with his left hand. Chamberlain, Corcoran and Wheeler were also right-handed pitchers who threw with their left hand on very rare occasions.
It was nearly 100 years before another major league pitcher pitched both right-handed and left-handed. Greg A. Harris was a right-handed relief pitcher who pitched 15 years in the majors (from 1981 to 1995). He would throw batting practice with both hands and he often campaigned for an opportunity to throw left-handed in a game, but his coaches would never let him. It finally happened while pitching for the Montreal Expos on September 28, 1995. Harris retired the first batter of the inning right-handed, then switched to pitching left-handed for the next two left-handed batters. He walked the first batter, then got the next batter to ground out before switching back to his right hand to retire the last batter of the inning.