When I heard about the Oakland A’s ambidextrous pitcher debut the other night one of the first things I wonder was: Does he switch gloves between batters (I didn’t watch his debut). You know wear a right-handed glove, then a left-handed glove.
Turns out Venditte dealt with that issue when he was a kid.
When (Pat) Venditte was 7 years old, his father, who was teaching him to throw with both arms, searched for a glove he could wear on both hands. Greg A. Harris, the only other pitcher since 1894 to throw in a major league game with both arms — he did it in 1995 — connected Venditte’s father with Mizuno. Harris already wore one of their six-finger gloves. The glove Harris wore in 1995 is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In his Friday, June 5 debut, Venditte entered the game in the seventh inning and threw both left-handed and right-handed. He also pitched the eighth inning. During those two innings, he allowed one hit and struck out one — a quality performance for any MLB rookie pitcher. After the game, though, Venditte tried to soften the spotlight’s glare by noting,
Whatever attention comes with it is fine, but we’re here to win games,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m pitching with both hands or one. It’s one effort.
As a switch-pitcher there are rules that applied only to him and since he is not the first ambidextrous MLB pitcher the rules were already in place. When you watch the clip, you will notice Venditte signaling to the umpire. This is because the rules state,
A pitcher must indicate visually to the umpire-in-chief, the batter and any runners the hand with which he intends to pitch, which may be done by wearing his glove on the other hand while touching the pitcher’s plate.
Although all went smoothly for Vendette in his first game, he did not fare as well in at least one newspaper. Because ambidextrous pitching is so rare, one paper erroneously ran a headline referring to Venditte as the first amphibious pitcher.