Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tony Mullane - "The Count"


Tony Mullane, Hall of Fame Nominee
Anthony John "Tony" Mullane
Nickames: "Count" and "The Apollo of the Box"
Born: January, 1859 in County Cork, Ireland

Height: 5' 10", Weight: 165 lb.
Positions: RHP / LHP / Utility
Bats: Switch hitter (.243)
Throws: Both

Major League Pitcher from 1881-1894.

Teams:
Detroit Wolverines (1881)
Louisville Eclipse (1882)
St. Louis Browns (1883)
Toledo Blue Stockings (1884)
Cincinnati Red Stockings/Reds (1886–1893)
Baltimore Orioles (1893–1894)
Cleveland Spiders (1894)

Glove: None
Dominant Hand: Right

Mullane was baseball's first ambidextrous pitcher and a talented ballplayer who played every position in the field except catcher.


July 18, 1882: "Louisville hurler Tony Mullane pitches both right- and lefthanded in an AA game against Baltimore, the first time the feat is performed in the major leagues. Starting in the 4th inning he pitches lefthanded whenever Baltimore's lefty hitters are at bat. In addition to continuing to pitch righthanded to righthanded hitters. It works until the 9th when, with 2 outs, Charlie Householder hits his only HR of the year to beat Mullane 9-8."

The Count won 30 games in five consecutive seasons. He threw a No-hitter on September 11, 1882. His teammates included Cy Young and John McGraw.

His regal manner and meticulously waxed handlebar mustache earned him the nickname "The Count." Mullane was so popular with female fans that the Cincinnati Red Stockings instituted Ladies Day every Monday when he pitched.

How he got started

Mullane suffered an injury to his right arm in a contest (with a throw of 416' 7") and managed to teach himself how to throw left-handed. He resumed throwing right-handed once the injury healed, and he was know to alternate throwing right-handed and left-handed in the same game. Switch pitching was easy for Mulane since he did not wear a glove. He would face the batter with both his hands on the ball, and then use either arm to throw a pitch.

He first pitched with both hands in a regular season game on July 18, 1882, when he pitched for the Louisville Eclipse (later renamed the Louisville Colonels) against the Baltimore Orioles in an American Association game. During that game, Mullane switched to his left hand in the 4th inning but eventually lost the game 9-8.

Mullane reportedly used his ambidextrous abilities on pickoff attempts, with some success.
John McGraw, late manager of the New York Giants, called Mullane the only ambidextrous pitcher in baseball history. And Mullane, who served with the Chicago police force until his retirement in 1924, enjoyed telling how he’d trap men off bases by throwing with either hand. For most of his baseball career he did not wear a glove.
In an 1899 interview with the Washington Post, Mullane said, "I was a ambidextrous pitcher, but as a rule I never called on my left hand unless we were playing an exhibition game or in practice for the amusement of a few friends."

Stats

He twice led his league in shutouts, once in strikeouts, and once in winning percentage while regularly pitching over 400 innings. (baseballlibrary.com)

Pitching record: 284–220   Earned run average: 3.05   Strikeouts: 1,803

Mullane switch-hit his way to a .243 batting average in 2,720 at-bats.

Listed #85 in the Top 100 Strikeout Pitchers of All Time
Mullane joined the Chicago Police Force

Career

Umpire for the Northwest league

Chicago Police Officer until retirement 

Articles

The First Relief Pitchers by John Thorn





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