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The Art of the Eephus Pitch: Grips Variations and History

Baseball is a sport with a rich history and a set of traditional pitches that have been used for generations. However, every now and then, a new, fascinating pitch type comes along that captures the imagination of fans and players alike.

One such pitch is the eephus pitch.

An eephus pitch is an off-speed pitch that disrupts a hitter’s timing and catches them off-guard with its high arc and slow speed.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the eephus pitch, from how to throw it, to its entertaining aspect, and much more.

How to Throw an Eephus Pitch

The eephus pitch is one of the most challenging pitches to throw correctly. The key to throwing a good eephus pitch is to grip the ball with a four-seam fastball grip and throw the pitch with a high-release point.

This creates a high arc that makes the pitch look like it’s almost floating in the air.

The slow speed and high arc of the eephus pitch make it a difficult pitch to hit.

The arcing trajectory of the ball can fool batters into thinking it’s a fastball until it’s too late. However, the difficulty in throwing an eephus pitch is the reason why it’s not used more frequently by pitchers.

Grip and Arm Angle

The grip is an essential part of throwing an eephus pitch. The pitcher needs to throw the ball with a four-seam fastball grip, which involves placing the fingers across the seams of the baseball.

This grip allows the pitcher to throw the ball with less spin, which helps create the high arc of the eephus pitch.

Another crucial aspect of throwing an eephus pitch is the arm angle.

The pitcher needs to throw the ball with a high-release point to create the high arc. This high-release point can be challenging for some pitchers, as it requires a lot of effort and concentration to pull off consistently.

Difficulty in Throwing

The eephus pitch is one of the slowest pitches in baseball, with an average velocity of 55 mph. The slow speed of the pitch can make it a challenge for pitchers as it requires a smooth and controlled throwing motion.

The high arc of the eephus pitch can also make it difficult to throw accurately, as the ball is in the air for a more extended period, which gives the batter more time to track the pitch.

Entertaining Aspect

The eephus pitch, with its slow speed and high arc, is a very entertaining pitch to watch. It can catch batters off-guard, and the trajectory of the ball often results in players swinging at air, much to the delight of the crowd.

The rarity of the pitch adds to its entertainment aspect as it’s not a pitch that’s used regularly. When it is thrown, fans tend to get excited, and it becomes a memorable moment in the game.

Conclusion

The eephus pitch is an exciting and challenging pitch to throw, with its high arc and slow speed. Although it’s not commonly used in games, it’s still a fascinating pitch to watch when thrown correctly.

Understanding the grip, arm angle, and difficulty in throwing the pitch is crucial for any pitcher looking to add it to their repertoire. So next time you’re at a game, keep an eye out for the rare and entertaining eephus pitch.

Variations of Eephus Pitch

The eephus pitch is a pitch that has no exact science to it. A pitcher can throw it at different heights and speeds, providing more variations than other pitches.

Depending on the pitcher’s grip and throwing motion, the trajectory of the ball can differ from pitch to pitch. This variety makes the eephus pitch more challenging to hit as batters struggle to predict the pitch’s movement.

Some pitchers also use different names for their version of the pitch. One of the alternate names for the eephus pitch is the “slowball.” This name emphasizes the pitch’s slow speed and helps differentiate it from other off-speed pitches, such as the changeup.

Other names for the eephus pitch include the “spaceball,” “LaLob,” and “folly floater.” These names highlight different aspects of the pitch, such as the high arc or deceptive movement.

History of Eephus Pitch

The eephus pitch’s origins lie with Rip Sewell, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1940s. Sewell was looking for a strategic weapon to use against Ted Williams, a famed hitter for the Boston Red Sox.

Williams was known for his ability to hit the ball out of the park, and Sewell needed something to disrupt his timing.

Thus, the eephus pitch was born.

Sewell experimented with different grips and throws to create a pitch that would completely catch Williams off-guard. Sewell’s eephus pitch had a high arc, slow speed, and unpredictable movement, making it almost impossible to hit.

The pitch worked, and Sewell was successful in using it to get Williams out in crucial situations. After Sewell’s success, other pitchers started trying out their version of the eephus pitch.

However, the pitch was rarely used in professional baseball. It was seen as more of a gimmick than an actual pitch, with pitchers only using it in blowout games or trick plays.

More recently, pitchers like Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw have brought the eephus pitch back into the spotlight. They have added their unique twists to the pitch, making it more effective in-game situations.

However, despite its resurgence, the eephus pitch is still rarely used, with pitchers opting for more reliable pitches like the fastball or slider.

Conclusion

The eephus pitch, with its variety of variations and intriguing history, is a fascinating pitch to watch. No two eephus pitches are alike, depending on the pitcher’s throwing motion and grip.

Although the pitch is still a rarity in professional baseball, it has proven to be a successful strategic weapon for pitchers in specific situations. Whether it’s called the slowball, spaceball, LaLob, or folly floater, the eephus pitch’s versatility ensures it remains an entertaining pitch in baseball.

In conclusion, the eephus pitch is a unique and entertaining off-speed pitch with a high arc and slow speed that disrupts batter’s timing. Its grip and arm angle are crucial in throwing a consistent pitch, and variations can be made in its height and speed.

Although it was invented by Rip Sewell in the 1940s and has recently been used by pitchers like Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw, the eephus pitch is still rarely used in professional baseball games. Nevertheless, its variations and intriguing history make it a fascinating pitch to watch, and it continues to be a notable aspect of baseball.

FAQs:

1. What is an eephus pitch?

An eephus pitch is an off-speed pitch known for its high arc and slow speed, often thrown to disrupt a batter’s timing. 2.

How do I throw an eephus pitch? To throw an eephus pitch, grip the ball with a four-seam fastball grip, throw the pitch with a high-release point, and focus on a smooth and controlled throw motion.

3. Is the eephus pitch effective in professional baseball games?

The eephus pitch is rarely used in professional baseball, but it has been successful in specific game situations when executed correctly. 4.

What are some common variations of the eephus pitch? Variations of the eephus pitch can be made in its height and speed, resulting in different trajectories depending on the pitcher’s throwing motion and grip.

5. What pitchers are notable for using the eephus pitch?

Pitchers like Rip Sewell, Yu Darvish, and Clayton Kershaw have used the eephus pitch, each with their unique twists and success in-game situations.

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