1880s: Left-handed Catchers

Left-handed Catchers of the 1880s

Introduced: May, 2015

Left-handed catchers of the 1880s Challenge: Collect these five Ars Longa Art Cards featuring left-handed catchers of the 1880s


Jack Clements
Philadelphia Quakers
Beginnings: 1880s

Sy Sutcliffe
Cleveland Spiders
Beginnings: 1880s

Pop Tate
Boston Beaneaters
Beginnings: 1880s

Elmer Foster
New York Giants
Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899

Fergy Malone
Philadelphia Athletics
Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874

Left-handed Catchers of the 1880s: A Brief History


  • Jack Clements, 1884-1900
  • Elmer Foster, 1886-1891
  • Sy Sutcliffe, 1884-1892
  • Fergy Malone, 1871-1884
  • Pop Tate, 1885-1890

A southpaw behind the plate is such a rarity that when Ripley’s Believe It Or Not got wind of the mere possibility (when Dick Bernard signed with the Phillies in 1948,) it made the papers. Benny Distefano caught three games for the Pirates in 1989, the first and last to do so since the premier lefty at the position retired in 1900. Jack Clements was the only left-hander to make a career at backstop. He had begun his long major-league tenure as a nineteen-year-old playing behind the first to do so: Fergy Malone, in 1884. Between Malone and Clements there were only a handful, including our Pop Tate, Sy Sutcliffe and Elmer Foster. All but Clements, who actually defied baseball gravity, saw very limited service as catchers.

  • The Milwaukee Brewers created a buzz when they signed Logan Schafer but have yet to put him behind the plate
  • Hall of Famer Bill Dickey dismissed the premise that a southpaw couldn’t throw at runners without beaning right-handed batters as absurd, noting that righties avoid lefties every day
  • Fair speculation has it that any lefty with the arm to be a catcher will end up on the mound

Left-handed Catchers of the 1880s: Your Rewards


Reward 1: One free card from the current Ars Longa Redemption Series

Reward 2: Your chosen inscription to be displayed on a virtual Loving Cup below (optional)