Baseball Players Who Bat Lefty and Throw Righty Are More Likely to Be Great

Ted Williams
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Reason No.1,284,587 why it pays for an aspiring athlete to be ambidextrous: Baseball players who bat lefty but throw righty have a leg up on their strictly southpaw competition.

In fact, baseball players who throw righty but bat left-handed are more likely to not only make the major leagues, but also be one of the top hitters in Major League Baseball, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Baseball players who adopt a left-handed stance enjoy a range of potential benefits, but the players who bat left and throw right-handed have a very large and additional advantage when batting,” said researcher David Mann, from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

The study, which re-analyzed data from a similar 1982 study and incorporated new data from every major-league player from 1871 through 2016, finds that only 2% of the general population throws righty and bats lefty, but 12% of major-leaguers do so. In addition, 32% of the best-ever big-leaguers hit lefty but throw righty, which, the study authors argue, suggests that righties who adopt a lefty stance have a greater chance of becoming, well, great.

The research team added that players who go for such a lefty-righty approach also boast a biomechanical advantage due to the fact that their dominant (throwing) hand is placed further from the hitting end of the bat, which provides a longer lever with which to hit the ball.

And when prime examples include some of the greatest players to ever step on a diamond—like Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Wade Boggs, and Ty Cobb, among many others—it most likely harbors many kernels of truth. So anyone with dreams of making it to The Show should start working on their off hand, whichever it may be.

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