Sinister right-handedness provides Canadian-born Major League Baseball players with an offensive advantage: A further test of the hockey influence on batting hypothesis Academic Article uri icon

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  • Recent research has shown Major League Baseball (MLB) players that bat left-handed and throw right-handed, otherwise known as sinister right-handers, are more likely to have a career batting average (BA) of .299 or higher compared to players with other combinations of batting and throwing handedness. Moreover, possibly owing to early exposure to hockey, Canadian-born MLB players have an increased propensity to be sinister right-handers, however, it has yet to be determined whether this provides a relative offensive performance advantage compared to players born in other countries. Using the largest archival dataset of MLB statistics available, the present study examined the independent influence of batting (i.e., left, right, switch) and throwing (i.e., left, right) handedness combinations and country/region of origin (i.e., Canada, USA, Latin America, Asia, Other) on several indices of offensive performance including BA, slugging percentage (SLG), on-base plus slugging (OPS), on-base plus slugging plus (OPS+), home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI), strikeouts (SO) and wins above replacement (WAR). Mediation models were also computed to examine whether birthplace influences offensive performance through handedness. Examination of all recorded MLB batters revealed that batting left, regardless of throwing handedness, confers an offensive performance advantage. Since the inception of the MLB, the relative proportion of Canadian-born sinister right-handers is at least two times greater than players from other regions, although being Canadian-born does not provide a direct offensive advantage. Rather, results showed evidence of a significant indirect effect in that being Canadian-born increases the odds of being a sinister right-hander and in turn leads to greater performance across each offensive performance statistic. Collectively, findings provide further support for the hockey influence on batting hypothesis and suggest this effect extends to offensive performance.


  • Brown, Denver M
  • Poucher, Zoe A
  • Myers, Matt
  • Graham, Jeffrey D
  • Cairney, John

publication date

  • 2019