Sunday, September 30, 2012

Steve Butz ambidextrous pitcher

Steve Butz

High School: Central Catholic High School (1989)

Hometown: Lafayette, Indiana

Positions: LHP/RHP
Throws: Both, ambidextrous

Pitches: fastball, curve ball and forkball with either arm

Gloves: used two gloves for pitching

Dominant arm
Butz said: "I personally like pitching left-handed better. I throw harder left-handed, but I have more control right-handed. I can place the ball a lot better."

In high school, Butz played outfield and first base left-handed and all other infield positions right-handed.

How many warmup pitches does a switch pitcher get?

Butz's coach has had a running argument with umpires about how many warmup pitches he should get when he changes sides. The young either-hander now is looking for a glove he can turn inside out so he can switch sides at will. (The Milwaukee Journal - Jan 28, 1986)
The Milwaukee Journal - Jan 28, 1986

According the the rulebook, a switch pitcher gets the same number of warmup throws as a regular pitcher (8 throws), which makes getting ready to pitch a bit of a challenge. Some ambidextrous pitchers throw four pitches from each side, for eight total throws, during the first appearance on the mound. If they switch throwing arms within a inning, they do not get additional throws. This means that they often start off an inning pitching with their non-dominant arm, then switch to the dominant hand, if needed, in relief. 

College Recruit
INDIANA Pitcher Steve Butz of Lafayette Central Catholic High signed a baseball letter of intent to attend St. Joseph's College. The 6-1 left-hander had a 10-3 ... (USA Today - Aug 19, 1988)

How Steve Butz got started throwing with both arms

Butz has two theories about how he started throwing with both hands. He's not too sure about one--that when he threw rocks as a youngster, his three older brothers made him throw with both hands.

The other theory also involves his brothers, Larry, Alan and Mike.

"Whenever they let me play ball with them, they didn't have a left-handed mitt for me, so I couldn't even use my left hand," Butz said. "When I was warming up to pitch and my right arm was kind of tired, I threw it with my left, and it felt kind of good." (source: AP, 1985)

Ambidextrous Pitcher, 15, Ruining Baseball Strategy

July 03, 1985|Associated Press
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Steve Butz of Central Catholic High School can make that familiar piece of baseball strategy, bringing in a right-handed batter to face the left-handed pitcher, meaningless.
All Butz needs to do is call timeout, get another glove and throw with his other arm.
The 15-year-old can throw fastballs, curves and forkballs with either arm. He plays outfield and first base left-handed and all other infield positions right-handed.

Different versions of the AP story was printed in newspapers around the country:

Lefty, Righty? Forget Normal Bat Strategy
Daytona Beach Morning Journal | July 3, 1985

This hurler can pitch with 2 arms
Star-News - July 3, 1985

Pitcher tough on two sides
The Montreal Gazette  - July 3, 1985
Read Article

Left, right, left, right

The Milwaukee Journal - Jan 28, 1986
Read Article

It was interesting to learn that there were successful ambidextrous pitchers long before Pat Venditte came along. 

MLB Official Rules - Pitcher

When a pitcher takes his position at the beginning of each inning, or when he relieves another pitcher, he shall be permitted to pitch not to exceed eight preparatory pitches to his catcher during which play shall be suspended. A league by its own action may limit the number of preparatory pitches to less than eight preparatory pitches. Such preparatory pitches shall not consume more than one minute of time. If a sudden emergency causes a pitcher to be summoned into the game without any opportunity to warm up, the umpire-in-chief shall allow him as many pitches as the umpire deems necessary.

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