Right is wrong and left is … right?
Seems to be. It’s not exactly a bass-ackward revolution, but left-handers are doing okay for themselves in sports these days.
Or are they?
The idea struck me last week when I saw highlights of college quarterbacks Josh Heupel and Matt Leinart winning BCS National Championship Games. They disappeared = Bad.
Then I watched this year’s game and saw Florida’s Tim Tebow will his Gators to a title. He’s one of the best players in the history of college football = Good.
The rest of the planet’s lefties are also in state of quirky so-so-ness.
Rafael Nadal is the world’s No. 1 tennis player, but no lefty was among the NFL’s 32 top-rated quarterbacks this season. Dallas product and Raptors’ forward Chris Bosh is sixth in the NBA in scoring, but there isn’t a lefty among any of college basketball’s All-American probables. The highest-ranked women’s tennis player is 14th (Patty Schynder) and only one of the NBA’s top 50 scorers is lefty (Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince is 51st).
In golf there are two lefties (Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir) among the top 21. In baseball the Indians’ Cliff Lee won the Cy Young and Minnesota’s Justin Morneau won the Home Run Derby and the AL MVP. In hockey, who knows? They’re all left-handed. Or is it right-handed?
Locally, Josh Hamilton’s bat makes the loudest lefty noise.
As for sports’ most righteous left-handers …
UPDATE: Before we continue, allow me to retort to some of the comments. In summation:
*Cricket? You’re kidding, right? Sorry, but I went to a cricket match in England in 1992. The “players” wore Dockers and sweater vests. There was a break for afternoon tea. Cricket = Not a sport. I might as well consider including left-handed basket-weavers.
*Soccer? Though it would be a much better sport, last time I checked players weren’t allowed to use their left HAND. Even throw-ins require both hands. If this list included left feet, there might be an NFL kicker or two.
*Rugby? See above.
*Hockey? Not applicable. They’re efficiently ambidextrous. Impressive, but also ineligible for this list. There are left-handed goalies, but their refined skill is limited to catching.
*Boxing? Joe Frazier would’ve made this list 30 years ago. But is that sport even around anymore?
*And, yeah, I hear you screaming that Nadal is naturally right-handed. I’m well aware. Small detail: He plays tennis left-handed! But fine, if it makes you feel better, go ahead and put him on your list of the world’s best right-handed players. Dorks.
Now, on to the list …
10. Johan Santana, Baseball. Mets’ ace’s 2.53 ERA led all pitchers.
9. CC Sabathia, Baseball. Carried Brewers to the playoffs with an 11-2 post-trade record.
8. Manu Ginobli, Basketball. One of the most underrated players in the NBA and, in fact, the world.
7. Justin Morneau, Baseball. Twins’ first baseman won AL MVP in ‘06 and All-Star Home Run Derby in ‘08.
6. Ryan Howard, Baseball. Majors-leading 48 homers, 146 RBI helped Phillies win World Series.
5. Chris Bosh, Basketball. Olympic Gold Medalist is 6th in NBA scoring.
4. Cliff Lee, Baseball. AL Cy Young winner with a gaudy 22-3 record.
3. Tim Tebow, Football. Two National Championships and a Heisman before his senior season.
2. Phil Mickelson, Golf. World’s No. 3 might dominate in a parallel universe void of Tiger Woods.
1. Rafael Nadal, Tennis. World’s No. 1 player, arguably the best ever on clay.