Ryan Perez is a natural righty, but growing up his father knew his son the aspiring pitcher would have an advantage if he learned to throw with his left arm as well.
"I would grab something right-handed and try to throw it right-handed, but he would stop: 'No, no, no, no, put it in your left. Throw it with your left,'" Perez said.
His dad was on to something. Perez became an all-state pitcher in Illinois, and now - heading into his junior year at Judson University - he has an arsenal of pitches he can throw with either arm.
"Four-seam fastball both ways, change-up both ways, curve and slider both ways," he said.
This summer, Perez is wearing No. 7 for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape Cod League - a traditional training ground for future major leaguers like Jacoby Ellsbury and Evan Longoria.
Although, there is nothing traditional about Ryan Perez. Take his six-fingered glove he can wear on either hand.
"There's two thumbs over here and here," he said. "When other people try to play catch with it, they say it's almost impossible, but it just takes time, just like anything else."
Assistant coach Ron Polk has been in baseball for 49 years.
"This is a very unique situation when a boy can throw 90, 91, 92 with both arms," he said.
"I've seen some guys fool around with throwing both left and right but genuinely fooling around - never did it in a ballgame," he said, "and I'll probably go another 49 years in coaching and never see it again."
Ryan Perez may be a baseball novelty, but his dreams are the same as everyone else's who's ever picked up a ball - with either arm.
"I really want to get drafted, and hopefully I go to the major leagues and then work my way up from there," he said.
His dream would certainly seem to be alive. Ryan Perez was selected to the annual Cape Cod League All-Star Game that will be played Sunday.