Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor:

As our society tries to navigate through these “tides” of uncertainty (COVID -19), many sports-minded people are trying to go through normal routines of getting outdoors and participating in physical activities or sitting back and enjoying whatever TV provides.

As spring is upon us perhaps I can enlighten or amuse with some sporting and historic related anecdotes.

Jim Katt, a former major league pitcher who won 283 ball games during his illustrious 25-year career which included 16 “Golden Glove” awards and three

20 win seasons. Yet he never has been elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Katt began playing golf when he was 32 but he immediately had a disadvantage being a left-hander when there were almost no left-handed clubs available in 1971.

So he learned to play right-handed until he was able to purchase custom-made clubs. He became so proficient at playing both right and left handed that by the time he was in his 70s he was shooting under his age both right and left handed. Unbelievable.

Another noteworthy story goes back to the early years of the 1980s-90s when a pitcher by the name of Anthony Mullane could pitch both right and left-handed with a special glove he used – depending on the batter.

He won 287 games, pitched 400 innings a year 6 times and struck out over 1,800 batters.

Mullane also played every position except catcher and batted .243 as both a right and left-hander long before you heard of Mickey Mantle.

For all of Mullane’s exploits, he too was never inducted into the Hall of Fame. Go figure or as Casey Stengel would say “go look it up.”

As for historically related anecdotes, President James Garfield was a Civil War general and wrote Latin with one hand and Greek with the other, simultaneously. Or that Leonardo Di Vinci could draw with his left hand while simultaneously writing with his right hand.

It has been said that Di Vinci was a left-brained designer of flying machines and a right-brained painter – example the Mona Lisa. But could he pitch or bat both ways?