Supplied by Alan Van Ness, Sacramento MSBL League President
On Sept 9th at Raley Field the Sacramento MSBL held what is believed the first game of its kind: ‘Righty vs Lefty’. There were 20 Righties and 16 Lefties. The game was very close throughout and there was a rally in the bottom of the ninth by the lefties. The score was 5-3 with runners on second and third with two outs. The game ended with a very close play at first base. The Righties held on to win 5-3 as they played flawless defense.
The game came about when a lady and her son were watching one of the SMSBL Open Division games. She approached the players to ask them why is it that left handed players don’t get to play infield or catch. They explained what is believed throughout baseball that it just doesn’t work with middle infielders or at third or catcher. Well, she (Rebecca Nesbitt) started doing some research about left handed MLB players. She found that Bennie Distefano was the last left handed catcher in an MLB game, August 18, 1989 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He ended his career with Houston as a backup catcher, but never got back in a game.
She first went to the SF Giants AAA team, the Sacramento Rivercats, to ask them if she could propose a game of left handers and to make the right handed batters hit the ball and run to third base and not first. I thought about that idea and told her and the Rivercat representative that I didn’t like that idea and that will only mock the game, as you prove nothing because now you are making a mirror of the problem you are trying to prove. I suggested we assemble a full team of left handers and let’s play a normal game and let’s see what happens.
The lefty team turned two ‘6-4-3’ double plays. One featured Isaac Tacdal (ss) and Ben Godinez (2nd) and another ‘4-6-3’ was Jesse Kingdon (2nd) to Ben Godinez (ss) . The game also showcased the catcher, Tevor Lopez, throwing out a base stealing attempt at second base. There were a couple eye popping catches in the outfield by the lefties to rob extra base hits. We also had a Father/Son play in this game. Left-handed first baseman Billy Robinson, father, and his son Anthony Robinson, a right-handed catcher.
The Righty Manager was Rick Lawrence and the Lefty was Josh Zonneveld, who both practiced and assembled their teams all summer from June through September while holding a few scrimmages during the summer at our home complex, McAuliffe Fields. The extra infield practice showed with the lefty team excelling on some tough plays during the game. The Righties didn’t commit any errors and also had many outstanding plays.
Ben Godinez was in the middle of writing a screenplay about the first MLB Lefty shortstop when this game came about. For him this was great timing as he has been writing and working with GVTH Productions on his film. He was also able to play shortstop in a game that he was in the middle of writing about. They hope in the near future to have a casting of actors and possible investors to produce this film.
Click HERE to see a YouTube highlight video from the event!