In honor of International Lefthanders Day, we are dedicating an article to the ten best current lefties in sports. The athletes listed are in no particular order, and the only qualification is being left-handed.
Chris Sale, Red Sox SP
Obviously, the ace on what looks like one of the best teams in MLB history should headline the list, as Chris Sale has been unstoppable in 2018. Over the past two months in particular, Sale’s ERA has dropped from an impressive 2.75 to an all-world 1.97, and he has at least nine strikeouts in every game over that span. The seven-time All-Star is a heavy favorite to bring home his first Cy Young award this year.
Madison Bumbarner, Giants SP
The Giants need to make a move here soon to make the postseason (currently 6.0 games back in the NL West), but if they do, Madison Bumgarner might be the only man in the sport that will be able to go head-to-head with Chris Sale and the Red Sox in a potential World Series matchup. In three World Series appearances/wins this decade, Bumgarner has carried the Giants with a 4-0 record, 0.25 ERA, and 0.528 WHIP. Those are real numbers.
Sidney Crosby, Penguins C
We’ll get back to the MLB for a couple more pitchers, but first let’s go to another clutch, multiple-time champion in his sport, as like Mad Bum, Sidney Crosby also has three titles. The face of the Pittsburgh Penguins and NHL will go down as one of the greatest players ever, but those who don’t follow hockey closely might not know that he’s a lefty.
Antonio Brown, Steelers WR
Unless you’ve seen him throw a pass or spike the ball after scoring, you might not have known that Antonio Brown is a lefty, too. The do-it-all receiver probably has an advantage by being a little different than most guys due to his dominant left side, but both hands are more than capable of snatching any pass thrown to him after getting open with first-class route running.
James Harden, Rockets G
Speaking of getting open, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player can probably create separation from a defender in his sleep. James Harden has an assortment of moves both on the perimeter and in the lane, with the latter allows him to win from deep, and the former frustrating defenders by drawing fouls. It might help that referees are thrown off by Harden’s awkwardness as a left-handed slasher, which leads to more calls.
Ben Simmons, 76ers G
There is zero doubt that Houston’s superstar guard is a lefty, but the same actually isn’t true for Ben Simmons, who might be amphibious for all we know. Still, the Australian is certainly good enough with his left hand both as a passer and around the rim to make the list, and the fact that it isn’t clear that he’s a lefty makes us think he’s definitely a lefty.
Rafael Nadal, Tennis
Staying international, Rafael Nadal will go down as one of the best athletes of his generation, and the Spanish tennis star is still adding to his legacy. The lefty has consistently given rival Roger Federer problems (9-3 record in majors) perhaps partly due to him being a lefty. Just as a side note, soccer legend Lionel Messi doesn’t make the list because despite being a dominant left-footer, he is actually right-handed.
Cole Hamels, Cubs SP
It was pretty clear that Cole Hamels would flip the switch if he got traded to a contender, and that’s exactly what’s happened since being sent from Texas to Chicago. In three starts with the Cubs, Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 18.0 innings. The 2008 World Series MVP will be a force in an October pennant race.
Phil Mickelson, Golf
Of course a guy nicknamed “Lefty” is going to make the list, and even if he isn’t consistently competing for major titles anymore, Phil Mickelson is still a very good golfer with six top-ten finishes in 20 events this year. His experience will be key in the Ryder Cup next month.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers SP
Did anyone think Clayton Kershaw wouldn’t be included to round out a celebration of National Left-Handers Day? Injuries have impacted him this year, but Kershaw has a 2.58 ERA in 101.1 innings as he learns to win without the impossible-to-hit stuff in his arsenal. And believe it or not, he will face off with Madison Bumgarner tonight in a key divisional meeting headlined by lefties on International Lefthanders Day.