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Extremely basic baseball question

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by zimbabwe, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    Does anyone know how/where I could find out how many pitchers in MLB history were/are left-handed?

    I'm looking for the kind of information that would allow me to indicate what percentage of pitchers, all-time, were/are left-handed.

    I need this strange piece of information for a feature on high school baseball and the unusually large number of excellent left-handed pitchers currently playing in the local area, pro rata.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    www.baseball-reference.com I'm sure.

    You'd just have to figure out the search parameters.

    I'll try searching for it sometime tonight when I get a chance if buckweaver doesn't beat me to it. :D
  3. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    I tried but was unsuccessful.

    There are 195 players with the nickname of "Lefty" or the first name of "Lefty."
  4. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Lefty pitchers from 1901 to 2009 with at least 150 innings pitched.

    It has each player listed by year, so there may be duplicates, ie: 2008, 2007, etc.

    Gives you 200 players per page and just keep hitting next 200 to get to the end.

    You can modify the search parameters by hitting Do Another Search and it will let you choose other options.

  5. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    I apologize for the inanity of this question (although I think y'all can see where I'm coming from. Trying to quantify, for the average reader, the fact that left-handedness is an advantage when it comes to pitching. Or show that the fact that five of the 23 pitchers who have 300 wins is actually significant, based on the ratio of left-handed pitchers to all pitchers).
  6. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    Thank you.
  7. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Try this one too.
    Number of LH pitchers per team per year. The Cincinnati Reds used 12 lefties in 2006.

  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Don't remember the year, but it was sometime in the last decade, the Dodgers didn't have a single lefty in their starting rotation. That was kind of unusual, IIRC.
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Just got home a bit ago. Looking up the total number if I can find it. But this should be useful, based on the original post:

    About a decade ago, David W. Smith (founder of Retrosheet.org) did a study of lefty/righty handedness from 1977-97.

    He found that left-handed pitchers were on the mound for 30.3% of all plate appearances during that period. That doesn't, however, mean that right-handers made up 70 percent of all pitchers on major league rosters, or 70 percent of all pitchers, just that RHPs were on the mound for nearly 70 percent of the PAs during that time.

    As you can also see, left-handed batters had 41.2% of all plate appearances, though. Take from that what you will. (One of Dave's conclusions was that a major effect of platooning was to reduce the number of times a lefty batter will face a lefty pitcher.)

    There are other charts from his study in addition to the one I posted above. (And you can e-mail him for more, if you'd like, because he's a great source, having done this work himself. PM me if you can't find his e-mail on Retrosheet.)
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    That said, it's probably safe to go with a general 70-30 split for righty to lefty pitchers.

    Here's another study of throwing-handedness done by SABR member Clifford Otto in 2001:

  11. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    There have been 2,008 lefties who have thrown at least one inning in the majors since 1901.
    5,258 righties.

    That's 27 percent lefties.

    FYI, the way to figure this out is to the use the B-R Play Index. Go to pitching season finder. Set the parameters to be IP>=1. Right-handed. Then set it sort by players with most years in career. It'll give you a whole list, starting with guys like Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough. At the end of the page it will tell you how many total names were found. Then do the same for the lefties.
  12. Buck is holding out on you. He knows the names, statistics, heights, weights, food allergies and social security numbers of every Major Leaguer of the modern era. He just doesn't want to share.
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