Friday, November 23, 2012

Jamie Irving, switch pitcher at Harvard - Class of 1995

Jamie G. Irving - ambidextrous pitcher

Born: February 1, 1973
Hometown: Miami, Florida
College: Harvard (Class of 1995)

Frontier League: Johnstown Steal (1995-1998)
22-9 record, 3.72 ERA, 302.1 IP

Height/Weight: 6'5"  210 lbs
Bats: Right
Throws: Both
Dominant hand: natural right-hander


Jamie Irving, a natural righthander, began pitching lefty when he was seven years old. His father, Bruce, a onetime pitcher at Yale, of all places, was playing catch with Jamie in the backyard and noticed that his son's left arm seemed to be as strong as his right. "Why don't we try practicing with both arms?" the father suggested. The workouts became a routine. Each arm received equal time and encouragement. Matching baseball gloves were purchased.
"I throw basically the same pitches with both arms," Irving says. "I throw harder with my right arm, but my fastball has a lot more natural movement with my left. What I can't do is switch from one arm to another during a game [though the rules stipulate only that a pitcher has to declare which arm he will use before he faces each batter]. The mechanics become too complicated. I have to know, starting a day, which arm I'm going to use. I'm not ambidextrous in anything else."
(source: SI Vault)

As a switch pitcher, Irving was able to pitch back-to-back games. 

A Baseball Believe It or Not
One day after pitching five innings right-handed to lead the Harvard baseball team past Yale, 16-7, James G. Irving '95 turns around and throws a complete game left-handed to defeat the Elis, 4-3. The story generates national attention, including a feature in Sports Illustrated. Against Boston College in his freshman year, Irving pitched right and left-handed in the same game.
(A Timeline of Tradition - Harvard)





Stories about Ambidextrous Pitcher Jamie Irving

About Jamie Irving switch pitching in high school
Jared Zwerling, a new Bleacher Report writer, tells about his early work interviewing an ambidextrous pitcher. 
"My interest in the unknown and underreported in sports all started when I was nine years old, when I was writing for the student paper at Gulliver Academy in Miami.
I had attended the upper school's baseball game, and something caught my eye: Our starting pitcher that night could throw equally well with his left and right hands. But while my classmates merely marveled at Jamie Irving's ability, I wanted to know more.
So I set up an interview, from which I discovered that his father, a former Yale pitcher, had discovered that his son's arms were equally strong at an early age and had actually been having him do dual workouts to develop his ambidextrous talents. (Interestingly, after Irving went to Harvard and played in the minor leagues, he was profiled by Sports Illustrated.)"
source: Bleacher Report



Relief pitcher for Johnstown - Frontier League 
Johnstown pitcher Jamie Irving had entered Saturday night's game in relief and had pitched left-handed. The night before, on Friday, he also pitched in relief, but the ambidextrous hurler had pitched right-handed then!
- Mike Shannon, Everything Happens in Chillicothe


One of my favorite FL stories
by Chris Dugan, Wild about Things, Feb. 9, 2009

One of my favorite stories happened long before the Wild Things entered the league. It involves Kevin Rouch, the Frontier League's deputy commissioner/general counsel and an ambidextrous pitcher named Jamie Irving, who was a Harvard graduate. 


Against Chillicothe, Irving was pitching left-handed until late in the game, when he decided to start an inning throwing right-handed.

When Rouch realized what was happening, he told his radio audience, "Jamie Irving is relieving himself on the mound with his right hand." Not once, but twice.

The other people in the pressbox heard what Rouch said and immediately burst into laughter.



Jamie Irving
by Leigh Montville, SI Vault, May 17, 1993

Irving's two-sided approach was a saving grace in high school when he needed surgery on his right elbow before his sophomore season. He pitched with his left arm while he recuperated, and then slowly brought his right arm back during his junior year, starting games lefthanded and relieving righthanded. The experience—a career saved by diversity—was the subject of the essay he wrote on his application to Harvard.


The More Things Change - Baseball Notebook

The pitching staff has also received first-rate performances from the ambidextrous sophomore Jamie Irving (3-2, 3.72 ERA, a team-high 24 K's and 36 innings pitched, and a 2-0 Ivy League record).

Jamie Irving Stats - Baseball-Reference

Frontier League Records - Independent Professional Baseball



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