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Was Dale Long the last MLB player to play catcher lefthanded?

Question #148221. Asked by LeaRock.
Last updated Jan 01 2021.
Originally posted Dec 30 2020 7:34 PM.

Answer has 5 votes
Currently Best Answer
21 year member
142 replies

Answer has 5 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Benny Distefano with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989.
There is no logical reason left-handers cannot play catcher. Right-handed players would appear to have a small advantage because the majority of the hitters are right-handed. When there is a right-handed hitter in the batter's box, the left-handed catcher would have to throw over the top of the batter when attempting to throw out a runner who is stealing second or third base. Left-handed catchers in Major League Baseball have been rare. Benny Distefano of the Pittsburgh Pirates caught three games in 1989 and was the last left-handed catcher to play the position going into the 2011 season.

Response last updated by gtho4 on Dec 31 2020.
Dec 30 2020, 8:57 PM
AyatollahK star
Answer has 2 votes
AyatollahK star
17 year member
713 replies avatar

Answer has 2 votes.
Another link, with the same answer (Benny Distefano):
The last left-handed catcher to play in the big leagues was Benny Distefano, who caught three games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989. Before Distefano, there had only been a handful: Jack Clements, Dale Long and Mike Squires to name a few. Why so few lefties behind the dish? It is a baseball mystery that largely remains unsolved, but in an interview with The New York Times, Distefano posited a couple of theories.

    "Bunts toward third base cause problems for left-handed catchers," he said. "In scampering to grab the ball, transferring it to their left hand and throwing it to either first or second base, their bodies get closed and clumsy. Throws for right-handers are far more open and natural."
What Distefano identified as the primary issue for left-handed catchers was fielding the position. Due a dearth of left-handed catcher’s gloves in professional baseball, the former Pirate wore his catcher’s mitt on his right-hand, forcing him to catch throws to home plate backhanded – and thereby slowing down the time he had to make a tag.

Response last updated by gtho4 on Jan 01 2021.
Dec 30 2020, 9:03 PM
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