Fastball

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Fastball

Postby cyclone3483 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:45 pm

I just watched an interesting documentary on Netflix called Fastball. It is about the hardest throwing pitchers of all time. They show archival footage and interviews from great pitchers and hitters of yesterday and today.

One of the more interesting stories was about a pitcher in the Orioles farm system named Steve Dalkowski. Never heard of him? Me either. But some say he could have been the fastest ever. He had no control in the beginning. He was fine with the placement inside or outside, it had more to throwing in the dirt or over the backstop. Apparently, Nuke Laloosh of Bull Durham fame was based on him. In the minors, he had over 1000 strikeouts AND walks. He would have a game where he would strike out 17 and walk 10. He finally got it all sorted out and was called up to the majors only to tear up his arm in the minor league game before the call up. Sad.

For me, growing up with three sisters and a dad who was out of town often, I watch sports by myself. I would put the tv onto whatever sport was on tv and play with my cars with the game on in the background. When I was about 8 or 9, I first saw Nolan Ryan. I forgot about my cars and just sat and watched. Then all would magically pop into the catcher's mitt a split second before it was supposed to. I knew he was special. His career bore that assessment out.

The Ryan Express won 7 no hitters (3 more than anyone else in history), pitched over 5700 strikeouts ( a record that will NEVER be reached) and was regularly clocked pitching at 96-98 mph the year he quit...when he was 46! I have always professed he was the best pitcher ever and hardest thrower ever.

Well he was clocked on modern radar at 104. Aroldis Chapman was clocked at 105.1, the world record. Holy shit!

But at the end of this documentary, a physicist made the point that the three men largely considered to be the hardest throwers ever had all been measured in very different ways.

Walter "Big Train" Johnson was measured in a military research facility at 83.2 mph, but adjusting for the placement of the measuring device versus Chapmin's throw, the ball was actually going 93.8 mph when it left Johnson's hand.

Bob Feller in 1946 was measured by another device right at home plate going 98.6 mph, adjusting for distance and drag, his pitch was actually going 107.6 mph when it left his hand! Holy f'n shit! The fastest in history! But hold on...

Ryan was measured by the first version of today's pitching radar devices. It was 1974 and the device did not measure the speed as it left his hand (which devices do now) but rather at a spot 10 feet in front of home plate. It was 100.9 mph. But extrapolating for distance and drag, that pitch when it left his hand was actually going 108.5 mph! Holy f'n mother f'n shit!

My love for Ryan is vindicated once more.

All in all, I think it was an interesting documentary. I loved hearing how hitters swear balls rise or completely disappear when they are thrown that hard, and then scientists explain it was just a mind trick.

Worth a watch on a sick day.
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Re: Fastball

Postby FurnaceFace » Mon May 01, 2017 9:37 pm

I'm no baseball fan, but there was a similar documentary years ago, I think it was the mini series "Baseball", that Bob Costas was in. I only saw parts of it but the part which stuck with me was he discussed how the game has great timing I'll call it. His example was the time it takes a ground ball hit down the third base line, the baseman to pick up the ball and throw out the runner going to first is something like a half second faster than it takes an average running to get to the bag. It was designed for close plays. I thought that was pretty cool. Moneyball also piqued my interest a bit. I find that a pretty cool somewhat true store of the birth of analytics.

As a kid I went to a game in Kansas City. We got right field tickets and it was fun as an 10-12 year old. I only remember they were playing The As, I have no clue how the game went, the score or the outcome. My memories are of the As outfielder catching a fly, my Dad buying me a plastic KC batting helmet which I cherished for a couple of years, and most of all the beer guy hustling up and down the stands with a big fist full of ones wrapped the knuckles of his right hand middle finger so the bills pointed out of his fist in a fan-like way. I can still picture him: somewhat overweight, greying beard, quick eyes, and loud "Beeeeeyyyaaaa!!!!" he'd yell. Mostly I remember that fist full of bills wrapped around his big black hand.

Today I can't watch baseball other than maybe some in the post season. It's boring as sin to me and takes about an hour longer than it should. Those last innings drag on and on with the relief pitchers. I do remember watching some as a kid, mostly playoffs. Since I was a KC fan (my oldest sister went to Kansas University) I remember the era of George Brett. This was the time of Nolan Ryan like Hugh remembers, Mr. October Reggie Jackson, and the other larger than life figures of that era.
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Re: Fastball

Postby Ford Prefect » Mon May 01, 2017 10:36 pm

Heh. I had a Nolan Ryan rookie card when I was a kid. Gave it to a nephew who was into baseball cards.
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Re: Fastball

Postby peanuts22 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:43 am

My favorite of all time was the Dodger's Sandy Koufax,
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Re: Fastball

Postby cyclone3483 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:50 am

She’s a girl
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Re: Fastball

Postby Tiger » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:16 pm

Ford Prefect wrote:Heh. I had a Nolan Ryan rookie card when I was a kid. Gave it to a nephew who was into baseball cards.


I have one... but someone laminated it who I got it off of... so it is worthless.
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Re: Fastball

Postby cyclone3483 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:17 am

Ryan was amazing
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Re: Fastball

Postby peanuts22 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:04 am

Sandy Koufax was the most dominating pitcher in his ERA
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Re: Fastball

Postby cyclone3483 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:35 pm

peanuts22 wrote:Sandy Koufax was the most dominating pitcher in his ERA


He is the Bobby Orr if pitchers. He was dominant for about six years, but retired at 30 (arthritis). One wonders what he could have been if we had better medicine back then.
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Re: Fastball

Postby peanuts22 » Wed May 01, 2019 1:33 pm

Sudden Sam Mcdowell was fast also. Gil Mcgougal hit him in the eye with a line drive and ended his career at very young age. In fastball Eddie Feigner the King and his Court is still the best ever, to play the game
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