New evidence leads to ‘switch’ in Roger Connor’s record
Morris quotes fellow researcher and author William Ryczek, who wrote that Ferguson would choose which way to bat depending on “disposition or situation, not based upon whether the opposing pitcher threw right- or left-handed.”
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As more pitchers perfected delivery of the curveball, and as southpaws became a more frequent sight on the mound, left-handed batters realized they could take advantage of the situation by learning to bat right-handed. They would not have to swing at curveballs breaking the other way.
Perhaps this is what spurred Connor to perfect his right-handed swing.
“Connor and (John) Ward obviously did switch-hit, but we really don’t know if they did it their entire career or just a portion,” Carle continued. “To be completely accurate, you would probably need to differentiate it by year. Weight would be something similar. We list Mickey Lolich at 170 and Bartolo Colon at 185. That was likely their weight when they broke in, but clearly that changed somewhat over time.”
Baseball fans may wonder what importance lies in Connor being deemed a switch-hitter more than 100 years after the end of his career.
Shieber argues this new designation “may change our perception of what happened in the past. By learning that, early in, more batters dabbled with the practice than originally thought, especially quality batters such as Roger Connor, we may gain a better appreciation for when and how certain innovations were embraced…or, in some cases, abandoned.”
Carle said it boils down to ensuring the records are correct.
“We always want to make sure our records are accurate,” Carle said. “It doesn’t change anything (that happened 100 years ago), but as researchers, we strive to be as accurate as possible.”
Matt Rothenberg is the manager of the Giamatti Research Center at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum