Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dale Roe - Ambidextrous Pitcher

Dale Roe
Hometown: Clio, Michigan

Clio High School 1989
Mustangs - Clio, Michigan

Flint Beecher High School 1986
Buccaneers - Flint, Michigan

Position: Switch Pitcher
Throws: Both (ambidextrous)
Velocity: 76 mph Right; 75 mph Left (17yo)

Dale Roe was an ambidextrous pitcher who started -- and won --  both games of a doubleheader. Roe started throwing with both arms in Little League.

He was a switch pitcher during his freshman year for the Flint Beecher Buccaneers. He threw left-handed against left-handed batters and switched to his opposite hand against right-handers, but this strategy led to control issues.

Roe continued throwing as an ambidextrous pitcher for Clio High School, in his junior year. However, he focused on throwing from one side each game based on the batting lineup. This strategy led to a 4-1 record -- 1-0 from the left and 3-1 from the right side.

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Freshman Year

Trojans Solve Roe Riddle, Riddle Bucs
The Argus-Press - Apr 25, 1986

It didn't matter all that much to the Trojans if Flint Beecher's Dale Roe threw left-handed or right-handed.

With media personnel form Detroit in attendance Thursday at Miller Field to watch the Buccaneers' ambidextrous pitcher, Owosso stole the spotlight by roughing up Roe en route to a 14-2 triumph.

Roe, hurling left-handed against left-handed batters and switching to his opposite hand against right-handers, gave up two runs in the first inning and three more in the second before exiting during Owosso's eight-run fourth inning.

Just a freshman, Roe experienced extreme control trouble -- Beecher pitchers walked 19 during the game -- and suffered from defensive lapses by his teammates.

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Junior Year

Right or Left, Clio Hurler Excels
The Argus-Press - May 19, 1988

When batters see Dale Roe in the Clio High School lineup, they can't be sure if they'll be facing a right- or left-handed pitcher.

Roe is a switch pitcher.

"It depends on who they have in the lineup whether I pitch right- or left-handed," Roe, a junior, said. "To me it's not unusual."

But that's not what his coach says.

"It's amazing," Dan Shelton said. "I've looked for a flaw, but his deliveries look so similar it's hard to belive. I've never heard of anything like this in high school."

Switch pitching is unusual, at least, in baseball. The Sporting News and the Baseball Encyclopedia said one ambidextrous pitcher made it to the majors -- Anthony John Mullane who started in Detroit in 1881 and wound up his career in 1894 with Cleveland.

Sporting News archivist Steve Gietschier said some switch pitchers have made it into the minors, with the most notable possibly being Bert Campaneris, who pitched one inning left-handed and one inning right-handed on Aug. 13, 1962 during a Florida State League game.

Roe's father, Dale Roe Sr., said he isn't sure how his son developed his switch-pitching skill.

"When he was in Little League, he pitched right-handed because he had a right-handed glove," he said. "He was throwing a little left-handed then. I don't know exactly how it progressed, but one day he said to me, 'Dad, buy me a left-handed glove. I can pitch left-handed.' So we did."

Being able to pitch with both hands isn't the only unusual thing Roe has done. On May 4, he started -- and won --  both games of a doubleheader. Roe's current record is 4-1 -- he's 1-0 from the left and 3-1 from the right.

"I've switched hands quite a few times before in a game, but not this season," he said. "My legs prevent me from switching more often. The chance of injury is greater when my legs tire."

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Pitcher gives 'em the old left-right
The San Bernardino County Sun 21 May 1988

Dale Roe believes there are no right and wrong ways to pitch.

Only right and left.

Roe, 17, a junior at Clio High School, near Flint, Mich., has a 4-1 record - 1-0 as a left-hander and 3-1 as a right-hander - on a 20-7 team.

His fastball has been clocked at 76 miles per hour from the right side and 75 mph from the left.

He has no preference, devotes equal practice time to each delivery and is comfortable with each. "It depends on who they have in the lineup whether I pitch right-or left-handed," Roe said. "To me, it's not unusual."

He does not switch during a game, but rules don't prohibit and ambidextrous pitcher from switching from one hand to the other, as long as the delivery is legal.

Roe's father, Dale Sr., said, "When he was in Little League, he pitched right-handed because he had a right-handed glove. But on day he said to me, 'Dad, buy me a left-handed glove. I can pitch left-handed.' So we did."


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