The Old Coach Sez


I have always marveled at the fact that there are so many left-handed baseball players. After all, 90% of the population in America is right-handed. David Peters has also wondered why this is true. Peters is a baseball nut who is an engineering professor at Washington University in St. Louis. His engineering background led him to do some research. He concluded that only 75% of the baseball players are right-handed.

His observations intrigued the powers that be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Their studies indicated that 21 percent of the pitchers in the Hall of Fame were lefties. More than twice the percentage in the general population. The numbers for hitters were even more surprising. Forty-five percent of the hitters in the Hall were left-handers. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Barry Bonds and George Brett, to mention a few, were all left-handed.

Peters came up with a conclusion that makes a lot of sense as far as left-handed hitters are concerned. I suppose if you are knowledgeable, you already know this. I didn’t. If you pay close attention, which I have never done, you will see that the left-handed batter has a two-step advantage getting to first base over the right-hander who has to cross home plate and then get going. Furthermore, as the right-hander swings, his momentum takes him toward third base. Lefty, on the other hand, has momentum carrying him toward first base. Lefty, it was concluded, gets to first base one-sixth of a second faster than does the right-handed hitter.

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