Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cal McLish, ambidextrous baseball player

All-Star pitcher Cal McLish
Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish
Born: December 1, 1925 in Anadarko, Oklahoma
Hometown: Oklahoma City
High School: Central HS (Oklahoma City)
Position: Pitcher
Height/Weight: 6' 0", 179 lb.
Bats: Both 
Throws: Both, Right handed in the MLB

Cal McLish, an ambidextrous 18-year-old pitcher had played American Legion and semi-pro ball in Oklahoma before signing with Brooklyn Dodgers’ scout Tom Greenwade in 1944. 

McLish went right from American Legion ball to the Dodgers at age 18 in talent-scarce 1944 (during World War II).

After a year with the Dodgers, McLish spent 1945 in the Army. He returned to baseball in 1946.
McLish won 92 games in 15 major league seasons with seven teams. His best season came in 1959 when he was an All-Star. That year, he went 19-8 with a 3.62 ERA with Cleveland.
McLish was 92-92 over his 15-season career with a 4.01 ERA and 713 strikeouts. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in August 2009.

Ambidextrous thrower
Cal McLish was ambidextrous and warmed up with both arms on occasion, though he never switch-pitched in an actual game. Apparently he tried it once in a Venezuelan winter-league game but the umpires wouldn't let him do it. (source: baseball-fever)

"I never tried to pitch left-handed." McLish said. "But I've been thinking about it and decided to practice real hard every spare minute. I always could throw hard southpaw." - Cal McLish, 1944

One publication claims that McLish was an ambidextrous pitcher in the minors.
"McLish, the pride of Anadarko, Oklahoma, was an ambidextrous pitcher in the minors, sometimes pitching lefty and sometimes righty. He only pitched right-handed in the majors, outlasting all his young teammates, playing 15 year with the Dodgers, Pirates, Cubs, Indians, Reds, and Phillies." - Charles Billington

Although McLish pitched as a righty, he was ambidextrous and often claimed to have better stuff--but less control--from the left side. He got by most of his career, especially the most successful part, on the strength of an excellent change-up; and is still co-holder (with Greg Maddux among others) for most consecutive road wins with sixteen. (The Annotated This Day in Baseball History)

About his long name
McLish had the longest full name in MLB history - his full name was 

   Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish

“There were eight kids in the family, and I was No. 7, and my dad didn't get to name one of them before me. So he evidently tried to catch up,” Cal McLish told The Oklahoman in 1999. 

Oklahoma native, former Major League Baseball player Cal McLish dies at 84

Cal McLish, an Anadarko native who played 15 seasons in the majors and had the longest full name in MLB history, died Thursday morning. He was 84. His full name was Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish.

Read more

The day Cal McLish felt the pain of a Splendid Splinter: Cleveland Indians memories

August 30, 2011,

In this particular game, the Indians were facing the Boston Red Sox, and Ted Williams was nearing the end of his career. Cal McLish was pitching for the Indians and doing his usual best with an assortment of junk pitches. If you remember McLish, you remember that he would have a hard time breaking a window pane with his fastball. He threw an assortment of curveballs, sliders and knuckleballs at varying speeds and never threw two balls in a row to the same spot. Going into the ninth inning, the Indians were winning, 2-1, and McLish was at his frustrating best. Boston was struggling to get a hit. 

Wrigley Field's Last World Series: The Wartime Cubs and the Pennant of 1945

 By Charles N. Billington, Andy Pafko

Cal McLish, Ambidextrous Ace, Big Drawing Card for Dodgers
The Montreal Gazette, June 5, 1944

McLish's work bears fruit; 20 game winner(s) expected
By Ted Blackman, The Montreal Gazette, March 29, 1972

Cards made McLish debut a daunting task

RetroSimba, September, 2010

Cal McLish grew up as a Cardinals fan and nearly began his professional pitching career with them.

Instead, he made his big-league debut as a teen-ager against the Cardinals in St. Louis. The first batter he faced: Stan Musial. Read more

McLish May Become Ambidextrous Hurler 

The Wilker-Barre Record (PA), 10 Jun 1944

Read more

Cal McLish Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac

Cal McLish Statistics and History -


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for finding this info. and sharing.