Saturday, February 23, 2013

Greg A. Harris - Major League Ambidextrous Pitcher

Harris switch pitched for one inning in the major league

Greg Allen Harris

Born: November 2, 1955 in Lynwood, California
High School: Los Alamitos HS, Los Alamitos, CA
College: Long Beach City College

Positions: RHP / LHP (one inning in the big league)
Bats: Switch hitter
Throws: Both (ambidextrous)
Dominant hand: Right

Major League Pitcher for 15 years, from 1981 to 1995.
Pitching record: 74-90   Earned run average: 3.69   Saves: 54

Velocity:  RHP 85-86 mph; LHP 80-81 mph

Teams: New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

Glove: Mizuno designed a custom six-fingered glove Harris could wear on either hand.The ambidextrous glove is similar to Venditte's - with two thumbs and a wide, pie-shaped pocket. In 1995, Harris donated his famous six-fingered glove to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Greg Allen Harris is best known as the only pitcher in the modern era to pitch with both left and right arms. A natural right-hander, by 1986 Harris could throw well enough left-handed that he felt he could pitch with either hand in a game, but the opportunity did not arise.

Why he started pitching with both arms

Harris began using both hands in 1986 as a member of the Texas Rangers in an effort to save wear and tear on his right arm. He also began throwing batting practice with both arms. Harris pitched for the Rangers from 1985-87.

Harris' unusual ability to pitch with both hands led to some tension between him and the Red Sox, who forbade the ambidextrous hurler from throwing lefty. GM Lou Gorman insisted it would "make a mockery" of the game, leading Harris to grumble, "Boston is so conservative. People are afraid to try anything." In a muted show of defiance, Harris usually chose to wear an ambidextrous glove on the mound. (

Harris alternated arms during one game

Harris finally threw left-handed in a regular-season game on September 28, 1995, the next-to-last game of his career, for the Expos. In the ninth inning, Harris retired Reggie Sanders pitching right-handed, then switched to his left hand for the next two hitters, Hal Morris and Ed Taubensee, who both batted lefty. Harris walked Morris but got Taubensee to ground out. He then went back to his right hand to retire Bret Boone to end the inning.

The last pitcher to use both hands in a pro game had been Bert Campaneris, who did so in 1962 while playing for Daytona Beach in the Florida State League. The last pitcher in the Major League to pitch with both his right and left hands was Tony Mullane in 1893. In 1888, Elton "Ice Box" Chamberlain of the Louisville Colonels in the American Association, pitched with both arms in a baseball game.

Harris faced 6,293 batters in his career. He threw left-handed to only two batters.

Harris threw a football to warmup before a game

Ranger pitching coach, Tom House, had Harris throwing a football almost exclusively in his pregame warm-ups.
When he did throw a baseball, Harris, a natural right-hander, alternated throwing right- and left-handed during warm-ups. At the time, Harris had never pitched left-handed in a game, but he claimed he is capable of doing it. 

House said he believes that alternating his pitching arm gives Harris a better idea of the mechanics involved in throwing a variety of pitches. Harris agrees. (

Harris comments on switch pitching:
"It's normal for me in the off-season. I always use both arms," he said. "To me, throwing left-handed saves the right. I used to do it in the minors to give the right arm a break."

Harris states that he used three tests to make sure he could pitch effectively as a lefty:
1. Reach at least 80 mph on the speed gun;
2. Throw a good curveball; and
3. Be able to throw at least 25 out of 30 pitches for strikes.
(Oneonta Star article)


Harris Pitches with Both Hands
Lakeland Ledger, Sep 29, 1995
Greg Harris became the first player to pitch with both hands in a game in modern major-league history, working a scoreless ninth inning Thursday night for the Montreal Expos in a 9-7 loss to Cincinnati.

Ambidextrous Harris ponders possibility of switch-pitching
Gainesville Sun - Mar 2, 1994

Greg Harris, A Red Sox reliever, would like to be a baseball pioneer

Toledo Blade - May 24, 1992
A switch pitcher? Righty says he can pitch 'em lefty, too. Now pitching for Boston, Harris-Harris. For the time being he's just plain Greg Harris

Ranger Redux: A Football Helps Ex-LBCC Pitcher Bounce Back in Texas
LA Times, July 17, 1986 | Paul McLeod
The football is part of a workout program that has helped resurrect Harris' career.

Greg Harris - Assistant Coach, Cypress College, CA

Greg Harris (pitcher, born 1955) - Wikipedia

Greg Harris -

Career statistics from Baseball-Reference

Ambidextrous Harris Gives Special Glove To Baseball Hall Of Fame

October 15, 1995 The Seattle Times
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Montreal Expo pitcher Greg A. Harris, who became the first hurler to pitch both right-handed and left-handed in the same game in 107 years, gave the specially-designed six-finger glove that he wore to accomplish the feat to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum last week.


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