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10/06/2023

Ambidextrous Baseball Gloves & The Players Who Use Them

From early on in their careers, baseball players try to gain every edge imaginable. They train extensively to increase pitching velocity, they spend hours in the gym increasing strength, they fill their bags with the highest quality baseball gloves and baseball bats available and there is even a tiny fraction of players that will teach themselves to throw ambidextrously (with both hands) in order to gain an advantage on the mound.

If a pitcher can throw effectively with both hands, they could strategically match themselves up against both right and left handed hitters. Baseball Reference points out that a lefty pitcher throwing to a lefty batter gives the statisitical platoon advantage to the pitcher (and the same can be said for a righty pitcher vs righty batter match up). From a visual standpoint, a lefty pitcher’s offspeed offerings will  often be moving away from a lefty batter and towards the outside part of the strike zone which can be more difficult to hit (again...the same can be said for the righty-righty matchup).

Being a company that sells gloves…we’re extremely interested in the glove that an ambidextrous pitcher might use and what an ambidextrous glove looks like. However, we’re also interested to dig into the history of who has thrown with both arms in a professional setting and what might cause a player to learn to throw ambidextrously.

If you’re curious to know more about ambidextrous gloves and the pitchers that use them…then keep reading!

 

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Is There An Ambidextrous Baseball Glove?

Yes, ambidextrous baseball gloves do exist. And we’re excited to say we have one here at JustGloves. It is the Akadema ProSoft ABX00 Model. It's a pitcher glove and has a 12 inch length to it. That length is perfect for hiding a pitcher’s throwing hand while it is in the glove. And to further support pitchers, it has a six finger design to it. Thus, there is no webbing and nearly no way for a batter to peer in and see what the pitcher’s throwing hand might be gripping.

The Akadema ProSoft ABX00 Ambidextrous Glove

Shop The Akadema Ambidextrous Glove

This Akadema glove has been expertly designed for ambidextrous pitchers. As opposed to a right or left hand thrower glove, each half of the glove is a mirror image of the other. This design allows the glove to be worn on either hand.

How Do You Wear An Ambidextrous Glove?

The Akadema Ambidextrous glove is designed with six finger stalls to it. If you’re throwing with your right hand, you’d obviously wear the baseball glove on your left hand. And if you wish to wear your glove in the traditional manner (i.e. each finger goes in its corresponding finger stall), you’d put the thumb of your left hand in the farthest finger stall, leave the next finger stall empty and then fill in the next four finger stalls with the matching fingers.

If you’re throwing with your left hand, you’ll want to do the exact opposite.

Akadema also puts two velcro straps on either side of the glove that act as the pinky loops do in a regular glove. You can adjust the size of these velcro “pinky loops” so that you can wear this Akadema Ambidextrous glove with two fingers in the pinky stall if you wish. 

Take a look below to see how the glove looks when worn in the left and right hand thrower orientations:

Ambidextrous Glove Being Worn on Right Hand vs Left Hand

 

Has The MLB Ever Had A Switch Pitcher?

Yes, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has reported on an exclusive club of six pitchers who have been reported to have thrown with both arms during their major league careers. We say “reported” because there are only reports that pitcher George Wheeler from the 19th century threw with both arms and no confirmed evidence. Four of these six ambidextrous pitchers did their ambidextrous act in the majors before 1900. 

However, the two most recent pitchers that have pitched ambidextrously in baseball’s highest level of play will most likely interest you:

  • Greg Harris - The Hall of Fame website tells a story from 1986 when Harris (a righty thrower up to that point) found himself in a Texas Rangers bullpen that was full of right handed pitchers. Funds must have been tight for the ‘86 Rangers because their coaching staff encouraged Harris to learn to throw left-handed. They said he needed to pass three tests for them to consider him as a viable lefty option. Those three benchmarks were: (1) Throw 80 mph left handed (2) Throw a curve left handed (3) Throw 25 of 30 pitches from the left side for a strike. Within a month and a half of beginning his lefty journey, Greg passed all three tests. However, the Rangers never allowed him to switch and toss from the left side.

    But on September 28th, 1995; in what ended up being his final major league appearance, Greg’s Montreal Expos were down big in the late innings to the Reds. His manager brought him in and gave him the green light to throw left handed when a lefty came up that inning. Watch this little piece of baseball history below:
  • Pat Venditte - As opposed to Greg Harris who was encouraged by a coach to turn himself into an ambidextrous pitcher, Pat Venditte grew up as a switch-pitcher due to the encouragement of his father. 

    A Bleacher Report story wrote that after a solid high school career, Venditte walked onto the baseball team at Creighton University (located in his home state of Nebraska). He pitched well enough as a Creighton Blue Jay that he was drafted twice by the Yankees (first in 2007)and he eventually signed after being selected in the 20th round of the 2008 draft. Unlike Greg Harris, Venditte’s ability to throw with both his left and right arm was not a novelty at all. Over the course of twelve minor league seasons, Pat pitched ambidextrously to the tune of a 2.57 ERA. And as you can probably guess, he used a pretty impressive ambidextrous glove that can be seen below:
    Even with such an impressive minor league resume, Pat was granted free agency at the end of the 2014 season after never making it to the big leagues with New York. He was eventually picked up by Oakland.

    And on June 5th, 2015; nearly twenty years after Greg Harris became the first ambidextrous MLB pitcher in the 20th century, Venditte became the first of the 21st century. In the 7th inning against the Red Sox that evening, Venditte came in and threw left handed to lefty hitter Brock Holt retiring him on a ground ball. Then against right handed hitting Hanley Ramirez, Pat turned around and threw right handed giving up a single. Ultimately, Venditte tossed two innings of no-run baseball that night as he became a part of baseball history.

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Ambidextrous gloves and the players that use them...a player or fan cannot deny that it's at least amusing!

If you're wanting more guidance as you go through the glove buying journey, please consult our team of Glove Experts. They can be called at 866-321-4568, emailed via experts@justgloves.com or you can LIVE CHAT them now!

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