Thursday, January 31, 2013

Game strategies for ambidextrous pitchers

Young ambidextrous pitchers

For a right-hand dominant player, it is very important for the ambidextrous thrower to get experience pitching left-handed in games. Left-handed pitchers tend to get more time on the mound. 

For a left-hand dominant player, I suggest starting out pitching right-handed in a game, then switch to throwing left if needed.

From my coaching experience, alternating throwing arms between batters, in Little League (under 13), usually throws off the pitcher's rhythm.

My suggestion is for the young ambidextrous pitcher to only throw with one arm each inning

Start out throwing with the non-dominant arm, then switch to the dominant arm if needed. Be your own relief pitcher. This strategy makes warmup easier and you can focus on throwing strikes. Plus, you don't need a special ambidextrous glove to pitch!

Starting Pitcher

Number of innings | pitching strategy

warmup left
pitch left one inning

warmup left
start left one inning
warmup right between innings
switch to right the next inning

3-innings +
warmup left
start left one inning
then continue left if you are doing well
warmup right between innings
switch to right the next inning, or after pitching through the order


warmup left
finish the inning left

warmup left
finish inning left
continue throwing left, if doing well
warmup right between innings
switch to right the next inning, if needed


In a close game, pitch with the dominant arm. 

It's very important to get the first out.


warmup with the dominant arm, using a fastball and change-up

throw the ball low in the zone for strikes and induce ground outs

finish the inning with the same arm

If the game isn't close, then throw with the non-dominant arm to get game experience. 

Most switch pitchers, are right hand dominant, so they will be throwing lefty.


warmup and pitch left-handed

if you walk the first batter, then pitch from the stretch and work on your pickoff throws

finish the inning left


Game strategies for an experienced ambidextrous pitcher

Typically, an experienced switch pitcher will use the platoon advantage – pitching lefty to left-handed batters, and righty to right-handed batters. 

Early in the season, it works well to pitch only from one side in an inning. Start out pitching with the non-dominant arm, then change to the dominant arm when needed. This helps the pitcher to maintain rhythm and command pitches.

Some switch pitchers throw lefty in one game, then throw righty later in the week. 


Henry Knight - High School

Knight usually throws left-handed to lefties and right-handed to righties -- if he is scheduled to throw three or more innings. Sometimes he throws lefty for the first two innings, then switches to throw right-handed in the third inning. This way the hitters will not face him from the same side the second time through the order.

If he comes in as a relief pitcher, then he typically throws from one side only, since it is faster to warmup and stay sharp. Often he starts the game playing shortstop and comes in as a relief pitcher in the middle of an inning, so throwing right-handed is the logical choice. He does eight warmup throws right-handed, then focuses on pitching low in the strike zone to induce the hitter to ground out to end the inning. Read more

Aubrey McCarty - High School 

Ambidextrous pitcher Aubrey McCarty signed to play for Vanderbilt in 2014. As a sophomore for the Packers, McCarty pitched left-handed and right-handed in games. Here is a example: 

"Ambidextrous sophomore Aubrey McCarty pitched the second inning left-handed and struck out the side. He pitched the third inning right-handed, giving up a single, but again striking out three batters." 

Ryan Perez - High School and College

Perez pitches with the same arm for an entire inning. Last year he tried switching arms based on right-righty, lefty-lefty match-ups. He found that the inactive arm would cool down too much if he pitched with the other arm three or four batters in a row. Read more

Pat Venditte - College and Minor League

Venditte throws left-handed to lefties and right-handed to righties. At Creighton University, Venditte pitched in both games of a doubleheader against Northern Iowa, retiring the only batter he faced (left-handed) in the first game and then tossing a shutout inning (pitching both ways) in the nightcap. He also pitched two innings, alternating arms, in an earlier game against archrival Nebraska. Read more

"He gives us the ultimate matchup when he's on the mound, and he's what every manager dreams of having," Servais says. "He's a swing guy for us, predominantly a long set-up man. But he can close, and he can start." ( Read more

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ambidextrous Baseball Gloves for Sale

Where can I buy an ambidextrous baseball glove?

Ambidextrous Baseball Glove by Akadema
Akadema makes about 100 ambidextrous gloves a year. The Akadema ABX00 is the only ready-made ambidextrous baseball glove on the market. The cost of the Akadema ambidextrous glove is around $110 on Amazon

Wait - before you purchase an ambidextrous glove, please read: 

Baseball Glove Options for Switch Pitchers >>

If you are looking to buy a six-finger ambidextrous glove like Pat Venditte uses for switch pitching, then you will have to custom order one from Mizuno. 

Learn how to order a Mizuno GMP1A Ambidextrous Glove >>

Custom ambidextrous baseball gloves

Both Louisville and Mizuno make high-end custom ambidextrous baseball gloves,
costing $400 - $450. Plan ahead since the custom-made gloves take 4-6 weeks to deliver.

Custom Ambidextrous Glove by Carpenter

Carpenter Trade will make a custom ambidextrous baseball glove to your specifications. Scott Carpenter hand-crafts each glove using state-of-the-art synthetic materials - making it much lighter and stronger than conventional leather gloves. 
Learn how to order a Carpenter glove

Rawlings produced a prototype of an ambidextrous baseball glove that I found posted for sale on eBay. The last bid was $565. I don't think Rawlings produces any ambidextrous gloves, since there isn't a big market for gloves with two thumbs.


Ambidextrous baseball gloves


Ambidextrous baseball glove patents

Over the years, there have been a few patents issued for ambidextrous baseball gloves. It's interesting that there are any patents for ambidextrous baseball gloves, since there aren't many switch pitchers in the game. 

In the past fifty years, there have been around 50 ambidextrous pitchers featured in the news.

Pat Venditte, the minor league ambidextrous pitcher, has created a lot of interest in switch pitching – and he uses a six-finger custom glove. However, very few kids are willing to put in the work to become a both handed pitcher.

Until recently, it has been hard to buy a ready-made ambidextrous baseball glove, since the big companies didn't produce them. But I found out that some of the baseball companies created preliminary designs and made prototypes of ambidextrous baseball gloves.

Rawlings produced a prototype of an ambidextrous baseball glove that I found posted for sale on eBay. The last bid was $565. I don't think Rawlings produces any ambidextrous gloves, since there isn't a big market for gloves with two thumbs.

Valle makes a simple ambidextrous pancake training glove that you can buy for $49. 

Ambidextrous Baseball Glove Patents

Center Webbed Baseball Mitt, Patented in 1999


Center Webbed Baseball Mitt

Inventor: Robert B. Jones, Allentown, PA
Patent number: 5,878,436
Filing date: Jul 25, 1997
Issue date: Mar 9, 1999

A center webbed baseball glove which utilizes the natural fold of the human hand and folds into two equal halves increasing the utilizable surface area is provided. The center webbed glove is constructed from a pocket and back piece which are attached together to form a central pocket, a set of outer finger slots and a set of inner finger slots. The glove is worn by placing the pinky and ring fingers into the left outer finger slot, the middle and index fingers into the left inner finger slot, and the thumb into either the outer or inner right finger slots. The glove can be worn on the right hand by placing the thumb in the left inner or outer finger slots and placing the remaining fingers in the left finger slots of the glove.

"Still further, it is an object of the present invention to provide a baseball glove which can be worn by a left or right handed player."


Reversible Catching Mitt

Reversible Catching Mitt

Patent number: 5592688
Filing date: Sep 9, 1994
Issue date: Jan 14, 1997

A mitt having opposite, matching side expanses forming opposite sides of the mitt is disclosed. Each side expanse is made up of a foam layer, sandwiched between opposed overlay layers. The mitt may be shaped for use either on the left hand or the right hand, with a web in the mitt having a reversible concavo-convex shape which is changed depending upon the hand with which the mitt is used.


Reversible Baseball Glove, 1980

Reversible Baseball Glove

Inventor: Israel Zidele
Patent number: 4227263
Filing date: Jun 8, 1979
Issue date: Oct 14, 1980

A baseball glove, usable by both right-handed and left-handed players, has two outer finger stalls, two intermediate finger stalls and a middle finger stall, at least the latter three stalls being integral with front and rear pieces of leather or similar sheet material held together by lacing which also links one of the outer stalls and the adjoining intermediate stall to an interposed web.


Ambidextrous Baseball Glove, 1964 patent
Four-finger glove with double webs and two thumbs slots

Baseball Glove

InventorFloyd William Kortum
Patent number: D198560
Filing date: Feb 13, 1964
Issue date: Jul 7, 1964

Read more


Padded thumb-stalls 9 and 10, which are so shaped to
 alternately receive either the thumb or the small finger
of the hand when the glove is interchangeably worn upon
either the right or left hand of a player.

Base-Ball Glove

Inventor: Samuel Cline
Patent number1,003,031
Filing date: Mar 18, 1910
Issue date: Sep 12, 1911

In 1911, Samuel Cline patented an ambidextrous fielders' glove for A.J. Reach Co. The glove went into production as the 1914 Reach/Spalding ambidextrous glove, model SC 
See photos

"The object of my invention is to produce a base ball finger glove adapted to be worn with equal facility upon either the right or left hand."

Read more


The original baseball glove invention

G. H. Rawlings Glove invention, 1885


Inventor: George H. Rawlings, St. Louis, Missouri
Patent number325968
Filing date: Mar 23, 1885
Issue date: Sep 8, 1885

The glove is intended especially for the use of base ball players and cricketers, the pads being for the prevention of the bruising of the hands when catching the ball.


Vintage Ambidextrous Baseball Gloves


Friday, January 18, 2013

Ambidextrous Baseball Glove Patent - 1964

InventorFloyd William Kortum
Patent number: D198560
Filing date: Feb 13, 1964
Issue date: Jul 7, 1964

Ambidextrous Baseball Glove, 1964 patent
Four-finger glove with double webs and two thumbs slots

Read about the inventor

Dr. Kortum's bio

Throwing routine - perfect practice makes perfect

Getting enough throwing practice can be tricky in the cold and wet weather. But if you want to be a good ball player, then you have to practice on a regular basis.

Perfect practice will prepare you for games. Stay focused, and make every warmup throw count.

How much practice is needed?

  Throw at least 10-15 minutes each day - if you want to be good.

How often should I throw?

   Throw hard daily, if possible. Or throw every other day if you are doing another sport.

Tip: If you want to gain velocity, then throw hard in practice.
        - good advice from a college pitching coach

Can you give me a sample throwing schedule?

   Below are throwing schedules for pre-season and the regular season --
used by a very successful ambidextrous pitcher in high school.

Remember to do dynamic warmups and tubing exercises before throwing.
Then do cool down and stretching. Run short sprints.

No long distance running!
- Long distance running has been shown to reduce throwing velocity.

Pre-season Throwing
- practice 5 days a week, throwing a minimum of 10-15 minutes each day

Monday - long toss both sides

Tuesday - throw left

Wednesday - throw right

Thursday - bullpen left

Friday - day off

Saturday - bullpen right, plus fielding practice

Sunday - day off

Regular season
- practice 2 days  / play 3 games

Monday - throw left and right

Tuesday - day off

Wednesday - game; throw left and right

Thursday - game; throw left and right

Friday - pitching drills

Saturday - game; pitch left and right

Sunday - day off

Game strategy for a young ambidextrous pitcher

Start throwing with your non-dominant arm the first inning, then switch to your dominant arm in a latter inning. Don't alternate throwing arms between batters, since it is hard to stay in rhythm.


'Just Say NO' to long distance running
by Ron Wolforth, Pitching Central and the Texas Baseball Ranch

Monday, January 7, 2013

Long Toss with Mike Scott

Mike Scott demonstrates how to throw long toss

Gaining distance on long toss will happen slowly. Focus on accuracy and technique, your arm strength and distance will follow. Throwing over the top will create further throws, and a solid backspin. Remember to use the legs and drive down the line to your target. Don't try to throw with everything you've got, long toss is a 70% - 80% exercise, not a 100% throw like you're trying to throw someone out at home. Last, find someone who can comfortably throw the same distance. - Mike Scott

Mike Scott baseball videos

Long Toss Throwing Routine


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Larry Corcoran - ambidextrous pitcher

Lawrence J. Corcoran
Larry Corcoran switch pitcher
Born: August 10, 1859 in Brooklyn, NY
Died: October 14, 1891 (age 32)

Positions: Pitcher and Infielder
Batted: Left
Threw: Both  (primarily pitched right-handed)
Height: 5' 3" 
Weight: 127 lb.

Teams: WhiteStockings/Nationals/Giants/Hoosiers 1880-1887
Glove: None, pitched barehanded

Larry Corcoran - 
Chicago White Stockings (1884)
Larry Corcoran pitched using both arms in a game between Chicago and Buffalo. He alternated arms pitching, for four innings, before switching positions to shortstop.
Pitched Three No-hitters
Corcoran became the first pitcher to throw three no-hitters, setting a record that would stand until 1965, when Sandy Koufax threw his fourth no-hitter. He is also know for being one of baseball's few ambidextrous pitchers.
Pitching signals
Larry Corcoran is credited with being the first pitcher to work out a set of signals with his catcher. Corcoran would shift his tobacoo chaw when he wanted to throw a curve.
A biographical sketch of Larry Corcoran | SABR

Larry Corcoran Statistics and History -

Larry Corcoran - BR Bullpen

Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain - ambidextrous pitcher

Elton Chamberlain baseball card
St. Louis Browns
Elton P. Chamberlain
Born: Buffalo, NY, on Nov 5, 1867
Died: Baltimore, MD, on Sept 22, 1929

Positions: Pitcher and Outfielder
Batted: Right
Threw: Both 
   (primarily pitched right-handed)
Height/Weight: 5' 9", 168 lb.

Teams: Reds/Browns/Colonels/Athletics/Spiders (1886-1896)

Glove: None, pitched barehanded

Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain -
 Louisville Colonels (1888)
Chamberlain was 18 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 13, 1886, with the Louisville Colonels. Chamberlain threw with both arms during an American Association game between Louisville and Kansas City on May 9, 1888. He pitched only two innings in the game.

Ambidextrous pitching – without a glove

While in the Falls City, Elton became one of three 19th century hurlers known to have pitched ambidextrously. (The others were Larry Corcoran and Tony Mullane.) It would be a bit of a stretch to call Chamberlain ambidextrous. But he did pitch four innings left-handed in the minors and on May 9, 1888, he pitched the first seven innings right-handed and the final two innings as a lefty as the Colonels routed the Kansas City Cowboys 18-6. He seldom pitched left-handed, but he used his dexterity another way. He did not wear a glove, so he could use either hand to throw to a base. As baserunners could never tell with which hand he would throw, he became adept at picking them off. (source: Charles Faber, SABR)

Ice Box Chamberlain - SABR Baseball Biography Project
About the nickname "Icebox"
His name was Elton; his friends called him Ed; and baseball writers dubbed him Ice Box, or Icebox, for the ice water that flowed through his veins. According to historian Lee Allen, Elton got his nickname because he was said to possess “austere calm in the face of all hostility by the enemy.” It didn’t matter whether he was facing hostility on the baseball diamond or in a barroom. And he did like his bars, and poolrooms, and the night life.


Ice Box Chamberlain Statistics - Baseball-Reference