Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Weird history: Watch when Greg Harris became the first modern Major Leaguer to switch pitch

Watch when Greg Harris became first switch-pitcher

With the entire baseball world anxiously hoping that the ambidextrous Pat Venditte breaks camp with the Oakland A's, it's time to take a trip back in time to a simpler era: a time when the X Games had just started, Alanis Morissette was tearing up the charts and Braveheart was using his derriere to defeat opposing forces. 

It's also when veteran pitcher Greg Harris showed off his left hand. 

Harris, a 15-year right-handed veteran, pitched nearly 1,500 innings before being allowed to use his special talent. On Sept. 28, 1995, in his second to last career appearance, Harris came in with the Expos trailing the Reds, 9-3, in the top of the ninth. After retiring Reggie Sanders on one pitch from his usual right side, the bespectacled and be-mustached pitcher flipped around when Hal Morris stepped in. It was the first time a switch-pitcher appeared in a Major League game since Tony Mullane pulled it off against the Cubs in 1893

Naturally, Harris looked a little shaky, walking the first baseman on four pitches, with one of them sailing Randy Johnson-early-in-his-career wide. 

Fortunately, he settled down enough for the next hitter, getting Eddie Taubensee to ground out.


After being told by manager Felipe Alou that he needed to get Sanders out before being allowed to pitch from the left side, Harris said after the game

"All I was thinking was to get Sanders out. When he grounded out to short, I took the ball and thought, 'Here we go.' I think my heart stopped."

As for how happy Taubensee was to be remembered as the first batter to make an out against a switch-pitcher in over 100 years: 

"Why not? Any way to get my name in the record books. I never set any records, so at least I'll be remembered for something."

Will we get to see a switch-pitcher on a Major League for the first time in the 21st century this season? That's up to Billy Beane and the Athletics. We'll be crossing our fingers -- on both hands.