Imagine Being A Hitter With Just One Hand

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

WENHAM, Mass. — Recently, I wrote a story about a remarkable young man named Daren Manheimer at Clark College who plays the game with a metal right leg.

It delved into the challenges that he has faced since his Little League days and how he has become an accomplished third baseman through the years.

The story brought back a flood of memories for me about a young man named Dillon Coleman of Gordon College.

Eleven years ago, he was playing baseball at this school and did so without a left hand.

During the spring of 2011, the left side hitting Coleman, who played leftfield and centerfield with no left hand, did the unthinkable.

With only his front hand to guide a regulation 32 inch, 29 ounce bat through the strike zone, Coleman belted the first three home runs of his life over an 8-day span.

Colman put on a power display for the ages over those magical eight days — his only home runs of 2011.

Stop for a moment to realize how difficult it would be to hit a home run 300-plus feet with only the front hand essentially being utilized during the batting stroke and little help coming from the back arm.

The 6-foot-2, 160 pounder overcame great odds to play college baseball just as Daren Manheimer did.

Coleman was cut from his junior high baseball and basketball teams. His left eye was fractured when he was hit by a pitch as a youngster and also was hit in his right eye on another occasion when a ball ricocheted off his bat.

Through it all, his incredibly caring family encouraged him to keep playing the sport he loves in baseball.

And while many of his friends stopped playing baseball after Little League, junior high and then high school, this remarkable athlete kept playing as a starter.

Also consider that this trio of home runs were the first circuit clouts ever hit by anyone from his family. His dad Jeff never hit a home run in his baseball career, and neither did his two younger brothers.

As a lefthanded batter, Coleman utilized his front right hand, but he didn’t have a hand on his back left arm. As he stepped to the plate, he choked up on the bat about an inch with his right fingers on the bat.

The end of his other left arm is a small section of bone covered by flesh which rests against the bat next to his right hand. The athletic movements his body made to gain torque and power through the hitting zone was incredible.

To read more of this article, purchase the May 7, 2021 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.