Sunday, January 6, 2013

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


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