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

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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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