SI Vault
Edited by Franz Lidz
July 29, 1985
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July 29, 1985


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That's right: Butz has the distinction of being his own relief pitcher. His ambidexterity is a product of a childhood spent borrowing the gloves of three older brothers, all righthanders. "Even though I was lefthanded, I got in the habit of throwing with my right," Butz says. "It was either that or not get to play."

Butz shoots basketballs and plays tennis southpaw. He shoots pool and tosses Frisbee with his right hand. He kicks rightfooted on the football team, signs his name with his left hand and holds his fork in either, depending on "which hand's closer to the food." On the mound he'll throw lefty for a few innings and switch for the rest of his game. His coach, Terry Thompson, has had a running argument with umpires over the number of warmup pitches Butz is allowed. "Every relief pitcher gets eight," says Butz, "so why can't I take eight pitches when I switch arms? Your right arm can get a little rusty while you're pitching with your left, after all."

If you think things got out of hand this season, wait till next spring. Butz is thinking of switching arms in the same inning, and maybe even on the same batter. "When I stand on the mound with my back to a hitter, he'll have no way of knowing which way I'm going to pitch," he says.

He's looking for a glove he can turn inside out that won't give him away. "Better yet, I won't wear a glove at all," he says. "Gee, I wonder if they'll allow that."

So what happens when Butz meets his first switch hitter? "That's going to be something to see," he says. "He won't know which way I'm going to throw, and with my back turned, I may not know which way he intends to hit. Boy, that's liable to get a bit confusing."

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