Mullane was a multi-talented marvel, baseball's first ambidextrous pitcher. He played without a glove, facing the batter with both hands on the ball before throwing it with either one. Handsome and muscular, with a reputation as a dandy, Mullane was also a skilled boxer, skater, and musician, as well as one of the better pitchers of his day. He twice led his league in shutouts, once in strikeouts, and once in winning percentage while regularly pitching over 400 innings. Despite his sober demeanor off the field (he did not drink, smoke, or gamble), Mullane was a free spirit who routinely ignored the game's reserve clause. He jumped to the Union Association and then to Toledo after winning 35 games for the Browns in 1883 without stopping to play in the UA. He was suspended for all of 1885 when he signed with Cincinnati after Toledo had resold him to the Browns. And in 1892 he sat out half the season to protest the NL's pay cuts. When he wasn't pitching, Mullane played every position except catcher, and switch-hit his way to a .243 batting average in 2,720 at-bats. (ADS)
Contribute your recollections of Tony Mullane by clicking here.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»January 30, 1884: Tony Mullane, ace of the 1883 St. Louis Browns (AA), and who signed for 1884 with the rival St. Louis Unions (UA), repudiates his UA contract and signs with the AA Toledo club. When Mullane signed with the UA, he was the first player to violate the National Agreement's reserve clause.
»November 4, 1884: Tony Mullane violates an oral agreement to sign with St. Louis (AA) by signing a Cincinnati (AA) contract for $5,000. The AA suspends Mullane for the 1885 season and fines him $1,000, but allows him to remain with Cincinnati. Over the next eight years Mullane will win 163 games with the Reds on his way to a career total of 285 victories.
»July 4, 1892: Tony Mullane is the only member of the Reds to object to a salary cut and is given a 10-day notice of his release. Switch pitcher Mullane will throw both hands up in tomorrow’s game, pitching both left and right handed. (as noted by historian Cliff Blau). The release will be rescinded but Mullane will start just one more game this year for Cincinnati.
»May 7, 1894: Baltimore (National League) routs the Washington Senators 17–0 for Baltimore's only shutout of the season. Tony Mullane is the winner over Al Maul, the 2nd time Al has been on the short end of a lopsided mauling (August 29, 1890).
»June 18, 1894: Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. In the first game of twinbill, Baltimore's Tony Mullane digs himself a record hole by giving up 16 runs in the first inning to Boston. Mullane walks seven in the inning to tie the record.
»September 28, 1995:
The Reds defeat the Expos by a score of 9-7, with Expos reliever Greg Harris pitching the 9th ambidexterously. The Reds don't score against him as he faces two with his (normal) right arm and two with his left. After Harris (right-handed) retires Reggie Sanders on a grounder, manager Felipe Alou permits him to do what he had wanted to try for 10 years. Following a wild lefty toss to the backstop, he walks Hal Morris. Remaining as a southpaw, though, he gets Eddy Taubensee to ground out. Finally, returning the ball to his right hand, he retires Bret Boone on a ground out. Harris uses a special six-finger glove, which is sent to the Hall of Fame. Before Harris, Bert Campaneris was the last pitcher to use both hands in a professional game, doing it in 1962 for Daytona Beach in the Florida State League. The only major leaguers to toss with each hand are: Tony Mullane (July 18, 1882); Larry Corcoran (June 10, 1884); Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain (May 9, 1888); Tony Mullane again (July 14, 1893).