Sunday, January 25, 2015

Shifty Gears, Softball's Greatest Switch Pitcher

Harold P. "Shifty" Gears - Softball Switch Pitcher

Pitched 61 no-hitters and 9 perfect games

His career record was remarkable. Gears finished with 866 wins and 115 losses with 13,244 strikeouts.

He pitched 61 no-hitters and 9 perfect games, and from 1925 to 1947 was the primary pitcher in 58 championships of various types. 

He was the first player inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame when it opened in 1957, a unanimous selection.

Gears, whose nickname came from his moves on the basketball court, was born in Rochester in 1907. He retired from Kodak in 1972 and died in 1974.

Shifty Gears, Softball's Greatest 
Has Turned In 54 No-Hitters

The Brownsville Herald, 4 Jun 1940
By Jerry Brondfield

Harold (Shifty) Gears is softball's composite of Bob Feller, Walter Johnson and Cy Young.
Perhaps the greatest pitcher ever to step on a softball field, the 32-year-old, bespectacled athlete
has compiled a record that defies parallel.

Shifty Gears started chucking a softball 18 years ago and has 54 no-hit games to his credit.

Employed as a sheet metal worker at Eastman Kodak Company, fo which he now pitches, Gears has won 683 games and lost 87. More than 300 of his victories were shutouts. His strikeouts total is close to 11,500.

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Oklahoma City Getting Softball Hall of Fame
The Journal News (Hamilton, Ohio) 16 Apr 1971

The ASA Hall of Fame was born in 1957 when Harold (Shifty) Geers, now 62, of Rochester, N.Y., was chosen as the first inductee. Gears pitched for the Kodak Park team, winning 866 of 961
games and striking out 13,244 batters.

Right Or Left

His pitches carried as much velocity whether he threw right handed or left handed. In the
1942 world tournament at Cleveland they tried to stop Gears from being a switch pitcher.

The lat M. J. (Mike) Pauley, then executive secretary, went on the field before a game with
Detroit's Briggs Beatyware team and informed Gear he would have to let the batter know in
advance whether he was going to throw right or left handed.

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