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Bill Lee (right-handed pitcher)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bill Lee
Born: (1909-10-21)October 21, 1909
Plaquemine, Louisiana
Died: June 15, 1977(1977-06-15) (aged 67)
Plaquemine, Louisiana
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 29, 1934, for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
June 29, 1947, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Win–loss record169–157
Earned run average3.54
Career highlights and awards

William Crutcher "Big Bill" Lee (October 21, 1909 – June 15, 1977) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He played professionally for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and Boston Braves during the 1930s and 1940s.

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  • ✪ Why Are Some People Left-Handed?
  • ✪ Satchel Paige


More than 2,500 left-handed people are killed each year whilst using equipment designed for right-handed people, the most dangerous of which is the right-handed power saw. Life sure can be hard for a lefty. The word right is synonymous with the word “correct” whereas “left” comes from Old English where it meant “sinister” and “evil”. In old England Left-handedness was actually believed to have come from the devil. So if left-handedness is such a disadvantage then why are between 10% and 12% of the population still left handed? After all, evolution typically weeds out imperfections within a species. But scientists have found evidence that as far back as 500,000 years ago, 10% of humans were left-handed; it’s always been this way. So there must still be some advantage to being left-handed, even in the modern world. So what is it? Left’s find out. Contrary to some theories left-handedness is not learnt as a child. It’s not simply a matter of which hand a child chooses to write with from an early age. If this were true, the numbers would be closer to 50/50 for left and right-handedness. But only 10% of the population is left-handed. In fact we can actually tell if a baby is going to be left or right-handed when they’re only a couple of months old. When you place a baby on its tummy, babies’ who will grow up to be left-handed will typically turn their heads to the left, whereas right-handers do the opposite. Before you go haphazardly flipping over babies to try this out for yourself, you should know it’s not an entirely accurate way to tell, but research has shown there’s a strong correlation. So if we don’t learn left-handedness, then where does it come from? Statistics suggest we’re born with it; it’s in our genes. Two right-handed parents have a 9% chance to give birth to a left-handed child. When one parent is left-handed that rises to 19% and when both parents are left-handed the chance is 26%. These statistics suggest that handedness is at least somewhat hereditary. But left handedness is highly unusual, because it’s not simply caused by dominant and recessive genes. About 90% of people are right-handed, suggesting that right-handedness is an extremely dominant trait. Based on what we know about genetics, a gene that is so fiercely dominant, in this case right-handedness, would have forced the recessive gene, left-handedness, out of the gene pool a long time ago. In theory, we shouldn’t have left-handed people. Yet we still do and the percentage of people that are born left-handed isn’t decreasing like it theoretically should do. In fact, it has stayed exactly the same for thousands of years. This suggests that handedness isn’t caused by a simple case of dominant vs recessive genes. It’s considerably more complex than that. It’s likely to be caused by a whole mix of different genes or perhaps something completely different altogether. The truth is that, why some people favour one hand over the other is still a bit of a mystery. There is one theory however that is the most commonly accepted answer to this perennial question. Researchers think handedness is actually caused by something called “brain lateralisation”. Our brains are divided into two hemispheres, left and right. For the sake of efficiency our brains like to use different regions for different tasks. Two of the most energy intensive activities that humans do are language and using our fine motor skills. So our brain clusters the control of these activities into one side of our brain, rather than having it spread out all over the damn place. This makes those tasks more energy efficient. Most people’s language and fine motor skills are controlled by the left hemisphere of their brain and each hemisphere generally controls the opposite side of the body. So it makes sense that most people would be right handed, because in most people, the majority of the processing which controls the movement of muscles is done in the left hemisphere of the brain, which is the hemisphere that controls the right hand side of the body. In fact, in 90% of right-handed individuals, they use the left hemisphere of their brain to control language and fine motor skills. Whereas, a considerably lower 61% of left handers control these skills using the left side of their brain. In most animals the hemispheres of their brain divide the processing of tasks equally, those same animals have no hand preference. Whereas human brains tend to specialise functions to either one side of the brain or the other and consequently we also favour a particular hand. This strong correlation has led biologists to think that brain lateralisation is closely linked to handedness. Left-hemisphere brain lateralisation is a common trend amongst left handers but it doesn’t fully explain why people are left handed. After all, 61% of left handers still use the left hemisphere of their brain, the same side that right handers use. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University believe handedness it caused by genes. Their theory is that there are two distinct alleles of a gene which causes handedness. An allele is a variation of a gene. One of those alleles is known as the D gene, which stands for “dextral”, meaning right. The other allele is called the C gene, which stands for chance. The D gene is the most common in the human gene pool and when it is present, the person will be always be, right-handed. You may therefore think that the presence of the significantly less common C gene, will mean the person is left-handed. But it’s known as the chance gene, because when it’s present, the hand preference of the person will be random, there will be a 50/50 chance of that person being left or right handed. This means that there’s a third class of handedness. There’s a small percentage of people who have some degree of ambidexterity. Being ambidextrous means one is equally as proficient with both hands. Since genes come in pairs, every human has one of three combinations of the aforementioned D and C genes. The first combination is DD, meaning the person has a strong right-handed bias. The second combination is CC, meaning there’s a straight up 50/50 chance the person will be either left or right-handed. But the third combination is quite unusual; the third possibility is DC, one of each gene variation. People with both a D (right-handed) and a C (chance) gene, are usually most proficient with their right hand, but they are also perfectly capable using their left hand. People who have a DC gene combination are somewhere in the spectrum of being semi-ambidextrous to fully ambidextrous. Such people make up only 1% of the population. So if you are one of the 1% that can adequately use both hands, well done, you have a very rare set of genes. But if you are left-handed it’s not all bad news. There’s numerous benefits to being a lefty. Lefties are sought after in competitive sports. Since most players are right-handed, a lefty can surprise and unnerve their opponent, gaining the advantage. Because most players are used to fighting right-handed opponents, not left-handers. Sports where left handers have such an advantage include tennis, baseball and boxing, to name but a few. Also, scientists aren’t quite sure why, but lefties are considerably more likely to being a genius than righties. For example, 20% of Mensa members are left-handed, which is a disproportionately large amount when you consider that only 10% of the population are left-handed. Some believe lefties are more intelligent because throughout their life, they’ve been forced to use and workout both sides of their brains instead of just the one. Also an unusually high percentage of US Presidents have been left handed. Including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. There are endless benefits to being a lefty, so even if the word “left” is synonymous with being evil, don’t worry. Next time your friend teases you for being a lefty, just remind them that you’re considerably more likely to be accepted into Mensa and you stand a much better chance than they do at becoming president.


Early life and career

Lee was born in Plaquemine, Louisiana, and played college baseball as a freshman for Louisiana State University.[1] He was originally a top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. In August 1933, Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey called his counterpart with the Cubs, William Veeck, Sr. and offered him two pitchers—Lee and Clarence Heise. According to Bill Veeck, one of Rickey's favorite tricks was to offer another team two players and trust that the other team would take the wrong one. In the case of Lee and Heise, Rickey knew that all but one Cubs pitcher was right-handed, and expected the Cubs to take Heise, a left-hander. However, on the advice of chief scout Jack Doyle, the Cubs took Lee. As it turned out, Heise would make only one relief appearance in 1934, and was never heard from again. It was one of the few times where Rickey, who was legendary for fleecing National League teams, ended up getting fleeced himself.[2]

Lee spent 10 full seasons with the Cubs, as well as a pair of cameo appearances in 1947. He made his major league debut on April 29, 1934, with the Cubs. He saved Game 5 of the 1935 World Series at Wrigley Field, with his team on the verge of elimination, and his best year was in 1938 when he helped lead the Cubs to another World Series with a record of 22–9 and 2.66 ERA.[3] He was on the National League All-Star Team twice when he played for the Cubs.[4]

Lee played for the Phillies from 1943–1945 and for the Braves from 1945–1946. Lee developed eye problems which made it difficult for him to see the catcher's signs. Eyeglasses helped little, and he retired in 1947 while playing for the Cubs.

His career marks were 169 wins, 157 losses and a 3.54 ERA.[5] His 139 wins with the Cubs are still the ninth-most in franchise history.[6]

Life after baseball

After retiring, Lee returned to Plaquemine, Louisiana, and had eye surgery for his detached retinas. He eventually went blind.[7] Lee died on June 15, 1977, and is interred in Saint John Cemetery in Plaquemine.[8]

Awards and honors

Lee was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1962.[9][10]


  1. ^ Wolf, Gregory H. "Bill Lee ('Big Bill')". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Neyer, Rob (2006). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders. New York City: Fireside. ISBN 0-7432-8491-7.
  3. ^ "1938 World Series". Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "50 Greatest Cubs". ESPN. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  5. ^ "Bill Lee World Series Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "Chicago Cubs". The Online Book of Baseball. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Top 100 Cubs Of All Time – #45 Bill Lee". SB Nation. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  8. ^ "Bill Lee Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  9. ^ Porter, David L. (2000). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: G-P. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 869.
  10. ^ "Bill Lee". Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 1, 2013.

Further reading

  • The Chicago Cubs: Seasons at the Summit by Warren Wilbert, published by Sports Publishing LLC, 1997.

External links

This page was last edited on 29 May 2019, at 21:09
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