Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I don't have kids (did I just hear a collective sigh of relief from the readers?), but you can be sure if I did I would try to steer them toward throwing left-handed. My ultimate goal is to gravy train off my kids, and there aren't many trains gravier than those of a major league pitcher.

When have left-handed pitchers not been in demand in baseball? It seems since the dawn of time managers and general managers everywhere have searched the world far and wide to find the next southpaw. After all, what's not to like about a species that turned feared slugger Ryan Howard into a very tame .224/.294/.451 hitter in 2008?

Left-handers are on my mind today, because it has been reported that the biggest lefty of them all, CC Sabathia, has signed the largest contract for a pitcher in baseball history. That's $161 million over 7 years for Mr. Sabathia, a contract that must be shocking to the players in the 1987 Donruss set, especially these lefties featured here.

I chose these cards because I like how each is at roughly the same spot in their windup, about to unleash their left-handed fury upon the batter.

Ricky Horton - #234

Horton was solid out of the bullpen for the Cardinals. He is one of only seven Cardinals to have a 100 ERA+ or higher in each of his first four seasons. Horton gets an all-time pass from me since he was a member of the 1988 Dodgers, even if it was only for a month. He did throw 4.1 scoreless innings in the playoffs against the Mets, but never appeared in the 1988 World Series.

Charlie Leibrandt - #220

Leibrandt is probably best remembered for giving up the "Touch 'em all, Kirby Puckett" to end Game 6 of the 1991 World Series (also known for Jack Buck's memorable "We'll see you tomorrow night" call), but he was actually a pretty solid pitcher for a long time. His 76 wins with Kansas City ranks 8th in Royals history.

Floyd Bannister - #211

Bannister, the father of current Royals' pitcher Brian (36th on the all-time Royals win list, by the way), was the #1 pick in the 1976 MLB draft (side note: will the MLB draft ever be as big as the NFL or NBA draft? Probably not, since nobody watches college or high school baseball and thus doesn't know many of the players drafted). Bannister struck out a fair amount of hitters in his day, and he ended up posting five seasons with a 120 ERA+, but he was also prone to the long ball. For the 5 seasons covered on the back of this card (1982-1986), Bannister gave up the 4th most HR in baseball (tied with Louisiana Lightning himself, Ron Guidry).

On to the count...

The Set: 17 of 660 (2.6%)

HOF: 4 (none)

Former Dodgers: 2 (none)

Future Dodgers: 5 (+1 with Horton)


gcrl said...

i am sure you know the story of dennys reyes - a rhp until mike brito told him he'd have a better chance if he were a lefty. or something like that.

night owl said...

I'm a lefty. Fat lot of good it did me.

Eric Stephen said...

I just want to point out I now might have the worst logo in the history of Photoshop, but I'm keeping it for a while. :)

Indiana Jon said...

Don't worry if your son doesn't throw with his left hand. There's still a possibility he could become a catcher. Like my father always told me, "The quickest way to the Majors is as a catcher."

Steve Sax said...

ES, your logo rocks. We at SoSG love photoshop hacks--in fact, we basically invented them.

If you had a lefty kid, wouldn't it be a pain trying to find a glove for him each year at Big 5? That alone might be not worth the bother of teaching him to throw southpaw.