Strong Left hand

Strong Left hand
Selecting a stone for the hunt, perhaps? (Image adapted from Frederic Remington illustration.)

Could the Cheyenne Indian, Strong Left Hand, be the baddest “pitcher” of all times, one that baseball’s major league teams wished they could have signed? He probably would have shut down the entire MLB roster of hitters.

Author George Bird Grinnell wrote: “Stories of his skill and success by this primitive means [throwing rocks] were told and wondered at in both sections of the tribe. These are some examples of his achievements with the stone that he related to me. He said:

I was on the war-path, and we had been shooting at buffalo. They had started to run, and as the last one was going by . . . just before it reached me, I threw the stone and hit it in the forehead, and it fell over, dead.

Once, when I was out on the prairie with Sleeping Rabbit, I killed an antelope with a stone . . . the antelope was coming toward me, and stopped to nibble at some brush. I threw the stone just as the antelope raised its head, hitting it on the head and killing it.

One morning a man was trying to catch one of his horses that was hard to catch . . . he called out to me, “Friend, kill that horse for me!” I picked up a piece of bone that was lying on the prairie, and threw it at the horse, which was about fifty yards off, and struck it on the head and killed it.

Once there was an eagle’s nest in the cliff near where we were camped . . . Sits in the Night came to me and said: “Friend, there is an eagle’s nest here that I cannot get at. I want the eagle. Will you go and kill it for me?” . . . When I crept up to the cliff, the bird must have heard me, for it flew out, and I let fly the stone, and hit it, and it fell to the ground dead.1

Impossible?

Most would probably say so, but then we tend to judge past events by what we can do today and dismiss them as tall tales or wishful thinking because they weren’t verified by some group of experts.

Next time we’ll look at an impressive athletic feat accomplished by a Pawnee Indian.

ENDNOTES

  1. George Bird Grinnell,The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924), 259-260.
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