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Who Was the Last Left-Handed Catcher in MLB?

left-handed catcher

Benny Distefano was the last left-handed catcher in Major League Baseball, appearing in three games behind the plate for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989.

Before Distefano moved from first base to catcher in the top of the ninth inning in a Pirates loss to the Atlanta Braves at Three Rivers Stadium on May 14, 1989, the most recent lefty to squat in the majors was Mike Squires of the Chicago White Sox in 1980.

Distefano outdid Squires in one respect, catching in three games total in 1989, to Squires’ two appearances behind the plate for the 1980 ChiSox.

In general, the occurrence of left-handed throwing catchers in MLB is exceedingly rare, with various theories as to why that may be. One is that it’s tough for a lefty catcher to field a bunt down the third-base line and make a throw to another base. Another is that the preponderance of right-handed batters in MLB impede a left-hander’s ability to throw out would-be basestealers.

Whatever the case, there have been just 30 lefty catchers in the majors (still more than left-handed third basemen).

The complete list of left-handed catchers in MLB history:

  • Phil Baker
  • John Cassidy
  • Jack Clements
  • Benny Distefano
  • Jiggs Donahue
  • Charlie Eden
  • Jim Egan
  • Elmer Foster
  • Bill Harbidge
  • Homer Hillebrand
  • Mike Hines
  • Charlie Householder
  • John Humphries
  • Charlie Krehmeyer
  • Dale Long
  • Fergy Malone
  • Lefty Marr
  • Jack Mcmahon
  • John Mullen
  • Dave Oldfield
  • Martin Powell
  • Billy Redmond
  • Mike Squires
  • Sy Sutcliffe
  • Pop Tate
  • Fred Tenney
  • Sam Trott
  • Art Twineham
  • Joe Wall
  • Joe Wright

Jack Clements was by far the most prolific left-handed catcher, appearing in 1076 games as a backstop from 1884 through 1900.

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