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LEFTHANDERS NEWSLETTER

News and Information for and about Lefthanded People

​There are only thirteen athletes who have ever played in both the National Basketball Association and in Major League Baseball, and five of them happen to be lefthanded.  Frank Baumholtz, Hank Biasatti, Chuck Connors, Steve Hamilton, and Mark Hendrickson are the lefthanders who have achieved this rare feat, while Danny Ainge, Gene Conley, Dave DeBusschere, Dick Groat, Cotton Nash, Ron Reed, Dick Ricketts, and Howie Shultz are the righthanders who have played at the highest level of both sports.

Among those righthanders, Gene Conley is the only one who had a solid career in both sports, and the only one who played them both simultaneously for any length of time.  Conley won 91 games while losing 96 with a 3.82 ERA while pitching in MLB from 1952-1963, and he played six years in the NBA, winning two championships with the Boston Celtics during that same time.  Danny Ainge had a 14 year career in the NBA, after playing parts of three seasons as an infielder in MLB.  Dave DeBusschere won two championships during 12 NBA seasons, after throwing 100 innings in two seasons in MLB.  Dick Groat was an 8-time MLB all-star shortstop after trying his hands in the NBA in his early years.  Ron Reed played two years in the NBA (1965-1967) before giving his full attention to baseball, where he won 146 games while losing 140 with a 3.46 ERA in 2477 innings over 19 years in MLB.  Nash, Ricketts and Schultz were lessor known players with short stints in both sports, but still part of this very special group.

Among the lefthanders in this group of two sport stars, Chuck Connors is probably the most famous, although he is known more for his acting career than his sports accomplishments.  Connors played 53 games with the Boston Celtics from 1946-1948, and then played 2 years in MLB 1949 & 1951.  He had 48 hits in 201 times at bat for a .239 batting average, with 5 doubles 1 triple, 2 home runs, 18 runs batted in and 4 stolen bases.  He ended his playing career with the AAA level Los Angeles team, then made an easy transition to Hollywood, where he became famous for playing Lucas McCain in The Rifleman on television.

Mark Hendrickson played power forward in 114 games over 5 seasons in the NBA, from 1996-2000, averaging 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.  Then he pitched 10 years in MLB, starting 116 games over four years (2003-2006).  He finished his MLB career with 58 wins, 74 losses, and a 5.03 ERA over 328 games, 166 starts, and 1169 innings pitched.

Steve Hamilton played in 82 games in the NBA from 1958-1960, and then had a nice career in MLB from 1961-1972 (mostly with the New York Yankees).  He was a lefthanded relief specialist with only 17 starts among his 421 games and 663 innings pitched.  He had 40 wins, 31 losses, and 42 saves with a 3.05 ERA, and he even had a save in the 1964 World Series.

Frank Baumholtz played 45 games in the NBA during 1946-47, before a more successful career in baseball.  The lefthanded throwing outfielder played 10 years in MLB, 6 with the Chicago Cubs, from 1947-1957, with 1010 hits in 3477 at bats for a .290 batting average, with 165 doubles, 51 triples, 25 home runs, and 272 runs batted in.  He batted .325 in 1952 and .306 in 1953.

Hank Biasatti played in 6 NBA games during 1946-47, and he also played in MLB in 1949, with just 2 hits in 24 at bats, both doubles, and 2 runs batted in.  He is probably the least known of this special group, but he was one of the first, and his name will always remain among them.

Since Mark Hendrickson was the last athlete to join this special two-sport club, and the only one to play in the 21st century, there may not be another for a long time to come.  If and/or when there is another one, there is a good chance that it will be a lefthander.

 

Lefty Two-Sport Stars