A tribute to left-handed pitchers on International Left-Handers Day

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A tribute to left-handed pitchers on International Left-Handers Day
A portrait of Earl O. Whitehill of the Cleveland Indians in 1936. (Photo by Sporting News and Rogers Photo Archive via Getty Images)
Starting pitcher Kenny Rogers #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Baltimore Orioles on July 26, 2005 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.
1989: Jerry Reuss of the Chicago White Sox makes the pitch during the 1989 season. (Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1984: Jerry Koosman #24 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during an Major League Baseball game circa 1984. Koosman played for the Phillies from 1984-85. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 17: Hall of Famer Whitey Ford is introduced during the New York Yankees 64th Old-Timer's Day before the MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
MIAMI - OCTOBER 23: Starting pitcher David Wells #33 of the New York Yankees pitches during game five of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Florida Marlins on October 23, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Yanks 6-4. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1993: Frank Tanana #29 of the New York Mets pitches during an Major League Baseball game circa 1993 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Tanana played for the Mets in 1993. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
New York Yankees left-handed pitching ace Herb Pennock poses in September 1927, about a week before the World Series. After his acquisition from Boston, Pennock and teammate Waite Hoyt anchored the Yankees rotation in the mid- to late 1920s. From 1923 to 1928, Pennock never had fewer than 16 wins in a season. But his Hall of Fame statistics don't describe the style and finesse with which he pitched. He was a thinking man's pitcher, studying and exploiting the weaknesses of each batter. Ironically, the refined and gentlemanly Pennock became a good friend of Babe Ruth, his polar opposite. Pennock had diverse interests outside baseball. He came from the horse country west of Philadelphia, where he raised and hunted foxes, earning the nickname "the Knight [or Squire] of Kennett Square." (AP Photo)
New York Giants' Carl Hubbell prepares to zip a fast one as the Giants get their training season underway, Feb. 20, 1937. (AP Photo)
PHILADELPHIA - C.1916. Eppa Rixey, star pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, demonstrates his follow through before a game in his home park. (Photo Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)
Former Seattle Mariners pitching great Jamie Moyer waits in the Mariners' dugout before throwing out the first pitch of the Mariners' home opener baseball game against the Houston Astros, Monday, April 8, 2013, in Seattle. 
CLEVELAND - AUGUST 4: Tommy John #25 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Cleveland Indians on August 4, 1987 at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
MAY 19: Lefty Grove and Ted Williams sit together in the Red Sox dugout, May 19, 1958. (Photo by Paul Connell/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, UNITED STATES: New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettite throws to the plate during the first inning of Game 6 of the World Series in Phoenix 03 November 2001. The Yankees lead the series over the Diamondbacks 3-2. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, UNDATED: Tom Glavine #47 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in a National League game in an undated and unspecified location. (Photo by MLB Photos via Getty Images)
This is an undated photo of Eddie Plank, pitcher of the Philadelphia A's of 1910-1914. Plank was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946. 
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on August 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 22: Billy Wagner #13 of the New York Mets pitches in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros on July 22, 2006 at Shea Stadium in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The Mets defeated the Astros 4-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Oakland A's Vida Blue is seen, 1976. (AP Photo)
Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson throws out the first pitch during ceremonies commemorating the 10th anniversary of Johnson's perfect game prior to a baseball game between the Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, May 18, 2014, in Phoenix. 
MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 1982: Jim Kaat #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching during Game 3 of the 1982 World Series against the Milwaukee Brewers on October 15, 1982 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 1980: Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the World Series at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October of 1980. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
American baseball player Warren Spahn of the New York Mets pitching against Houston in the second inning of a game at Shea Stadium, New York City, 10th July 1965. He was charged with 4 hits and removed from the game in the same inning. (Photo by Allan Baum/New York Times Co./Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 14: Picher Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers winds up to throw a pitch against the Minnesota Twin in game 7 of the 1965 World Series, October 14, 1965 at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dodgers won the series 4 games to 3. Koufax was the series MVP and played for the Dodgers from 1955-66. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
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By ERIC LYONS

On International Left-Handers Day, August 13th, the world pauses to celebrate the minority -- the 10-percent of the population who are left-hand dominate. But in the MLB lefties are not as uncommon.

Inside Pitching reports that in 2012 over 22-percent of all pitchers in Major League Baseball fired the ball with their left hands and 29-percent of all hitters stood on the left side of the plate. Last year's National League Cy Young Winner, Clayton Kershaw, is of course a lefty and he is in good company. Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson and Warren Spahn are some of the most-dominate pitchers in MLB history with a combined 1000-plus wins -- happen to be all left-handers.

Holding runners on first base gives them an obvious advantage holding runners on first because unlike righties, they face the bag, but there's some science behind the dominance as well.

According to Live Strong, left-handed pitches' fastballs trail away from right-handed hitters causing them to pull off the ball. Right-handed hitters also have a harder time picking up the ball from left-handed pitchers' hands because modern baseball stadiums are built with a hitter's eye (a large green or dark-colored background that helps hitters see the ball) with right-handed batters in mind. While left-handers may have a natural advantage, four out of the top five pitchers on the all-time wins list are right-handed.

Some up-and-coming pitchers like Pat Venditte who plays for the NY Yankees' AAA affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, can throw with both hands, but if these ambidextrous players have an advantage is yet to be determined. None have made it to the big leagues and they probably have a hard time finding a glove that fits on both hands.




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