Best Left-Handed Athletes With Utah Connections
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – For National Left-Handers Day, KSLsports.com is celebrating with a list of the best left-handed athletes with ties to Utah.
Only about 11 percent of the population is left-handed, making an even smaller percentage of collegiate and professional athletes lefties.
Another fun fact about lefties – men are more likely than women to be left-handed.
The Big Lefty. Our personal favorite on this list is KSL Sports contributor and former University of Utah quarterback Scott Mitchell.
Mitchell spent 10 years in the NFL split between the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.
Of course, Scott is now a co-host of KSL Unrivaled from 7-9 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio and host the Helmets Off and Rivals podcasts.
The BYU Legend. Steve Young, another quarterback who played his college years in Utah, appeared in seven NFL Pro Bowls and won the NFL MVP award twice.
Young had one of the best ever Super Bowl appearances when the 49ers beat the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. He threw for 325 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
One of Utah’s most famous golfers, BYU alumni Mike Weir, is best known for winning The Masters in 2003.
Hailing from Canada, Weir grew up playing hockey left-handed before switching to golf in his early teenage years.
Weir questioned his left-handedness when he first started playing golf so he wrote golf legend Jack Nicklaus when he was 11 asking about it, according to Weir’s Wikipedia page.
To which Nicklaus responded, “If you are a good player left-handed, don’t change anything – especially if that feels natural to you.”
Back to football and the Cougars. Riley Nelson is another famed lefty from BYU.
From 2009-2012 Nelson, a native of Logan, Utah, racked up 4,032 yards and 35 touchdowns for the Cougars.
Riley was recently hired as the newest member of the BYU football broadcasting team.
The newest lefty in Utah who will hopefully become a Jazz legend.
Conley joined the Jazz this past offseason from the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder and some draft picks.
“I have been close but haven’t been able to push through,” Conley said regarding a championship with the Jazz to Jeremiah Jensen of KSL’s SportsBeat. “Now, it seems like the time, this year especially. It’s a great opportunity for the Jazz to be ourselves and continue to improve as the season goes on and we will be there and the end of the year knocking on the door.”
A Utah Jazz fan favorite. Joe Ingles is from Australia but has been in Salt Lake City for five seasons with the Jazz.
Ingles has stolen fans’ hearts with his work with autism awareness groups after his son, Jacob, was diagnosed.
The love continued for Ingles when NBA Twitter went wild with “headband Joe” after he suffered a cut above his eye during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Needless to say, Ingles entertains Jazz fans both on and off the court.
Another Jazzman, well former Jazzman. Derek Fisher played 18 seasons in the NBA. He was with the Jazz for the 2006-2007 season.
During that season he appeared in all 82 games for the Jazz averaging 10 points, 3.3 assists and 1.01 steals. He scored double figures 40 times that season.
A big man, 7’4″ to be exact, who once told Scott Mitchell all he wanted was to be a good backup center in the NBA.
Mark Eaton was a lot more than a good backup for the 11 years he was with the Utah Jazz.
Eaton was a two time NBA defensive player of the year.
This lefty and another BYU guy had a 16 year Major League Baseball career.
Wally Joyner appeared in one All-Star Game and was with the San Diego Padres in 1998 when they won a pennant.
Later in life, Joyner was hired by the San Diego Padres to be their hitting coach. Now, Joyner lives in Mapleton, Utah.
We are going way down south to Dixie State for this one.
Bruce Hurst was a Major League Baseball All-Star in 1987 and is in the Red Sox Hall of Fame. He was dominant in 86 World Series (2-0) vs Mets and many had him in line to win Series MVP until Mets made their comeback.
Happy National Left-Handers Day!