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Unleashing the Eephus Pitch: The Unpredictable Weapon in Baseball

The Eephus Pitch: An Unpredictable and Wily Weapon on the Baseball Mound

Baseball is a sport where pitchers try to stay ahead of the hitters, keeping them on their toes and throwing them off balance. Pitchers do this by employing a variety of pitches, but perhaps none are as deceptive as the Eephus pitch, a slow and looping delivery that can confound batters and leave them staring at the ball in disbelief.

In this article, we will explore the origins of the Eephus pitch, how it is thrown, and when to use it.

Origins of the Eephus Pitch

The Eephus pitch was invented by Maurice Van Robays, a professional pitcher who played in the major leagues during the 1940s and 1950s. Van Robays called it the “nothing pitch,” referring to the lack of speed and spin on the ball.

The word “Eephus” may have come from Van Robays’ teammate Rip Sewell, who was known for his “blooper ball,” a high-arcing pitch that was difficult to hit. Sewell used the Yiddish word “efes,” which means “nothing,” to describe his pitch, and it is thought that the word “Eephus” is a variant of that.

Grip, Arm Angle, Spin Movement, and Release of the Eephus Pitch

The grip for an Eephus pitch is unique. The pitcher holds the ball with his fingertips and the palm facing up, almost as if he is cradling an egg.

The arm angle is also important, as the pitcher will need to throw the ball with a high arcing motion to achieve its trademark slow speed and looping trajectory. Spin movement is not typically a factor with an Eephus pitch as it relies more on gravity and air resistance to slow it down and change its direction.

This lack of spin is what makes it so unpredictable and difficult for batters to hit. Finally, the release of the pitch is crucial.

The pitcher needs to release the ball with a high arc, making sure not to overexert himself, as this would cause the pitch to lose its intended effect.

Success of the Eephus Pitch

The Eephus pitch is known as the slowest pitch in baseball, with some deliveries being recorded at less than 50 miles per hour. This lack of speed makes it an excellent change of pace pitch, confusing the batter’s timing and throwing off their reaction time.

One of the biggest advantages of the Eephus pitch is that it is not regulated by the rules of baseball. The MLB rulebook only stipulates that a pitch must be delivered with an overhand motion and that it must cross the plate between the batter’s knees and shoulders.

This lack of regulation allows pitchers to be creative with their pitch selection, including the Eephus. Finally, the Eephus pitch’s ability to vary its velocity makes it a valuable weapon for pitchers.

By changing the height and speed of the pitch, a pitcher can control how much the ball breaks and where it lands. This gives them an advantage over batters, who are unable to predict where the ball will end up.

When to Throw an Eephus Pitch

The Eephus pitch’s unpredictable nature makes it an excellent weapon when facing difficult batters, especially those who have a tendency to swing at every pitch. Pitchers can catch these batters off guard with a slow and looping delivery, causing them to either swing too early or not at all.

One way to effectively use the Eephus pitch is to build up to it, throwing fastballs and other pitches to set up the batter. By throwing dominant fastballs, pitchers can lull the batter into a false sense of security.

Then, by unleashing an Eephus pitch, the pitcher can catch the batter off guard, causing him to miss. The surprise element of the Eephus pitch is its greatest asset.

Even if the batter knows it’s coming, he will struggle to adjust to its slow speed, high arc, and unpredictable trajectory. It is a pitch that few batters are able to hit, providing a significant advantage to the pitcher.


In conclusion, the Eephus pitch is a wily and unpredictable weapon on the baseball mound. Its lack of speed, high arc, and unpredictable trajectory make it an excellent weapon for pitchers, confounding batters and keeping them off balance.

By employing the Eephus pitch at the right time, pitchers can increase their chances of success, throwing batters off their game and causing them to strike out or make weak contact. If youve ever watched a game of baseball, youd know it’s a game of constant adjustments and every single pitch counts.

Pitchers are always in search of ways to disrupt a batter’s timing and dictate the flow of the game. One pitch that can do just that is the Eephus pitch.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the Eephus pitch, focusing on how it moves, why it is difficult to hit, some famous pitchers who used it, and why it remains a rare pitch in the game.

The Trajectory of an Eephus Pitch

The Eephus pitch is a slow pitch that moves in a unique trajectory, which is different from the straight-line drives of fastballs or the sharp drop of a curveball. Instead of a straight pitch or heavy hook, an Eephus pitch is intentionally lobbed or arced above the hitter’s head, reaching heights of around 20 feet above the ground.

This gives the ball added elevation and time to travel before it reaches the plate.

Why an Eephus Pitch is difficult to Hit

The slow motion of an Eephus pitch makes it difficult to hit because the timing of a batter’s swing is thrown off, and there is little margin for error when trying to make contact. As the pitch crosses the plate, the batter’s natural swing has already completed its forward motion, making it difficult to adjust.

Additionally, the shortened step and slower arm motion of Eephus pitch delivery made it hard to time when a batter should begin their swing, making it a tricky pitch to get right.

Famous Eephus Pitchers and the Rarity of the Pitch

Some pitchers have been well known for their use of the Eephus pitch. One of the most famous of these was Rip Sewell, who is generally credited with developing the pitch in the late 1930s, and by the time he retired, it was known throughout baseball as the “Eephus pitch.” Another notable Eephus pitcher was Dave Stieb, a former pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, who used the pitch very effectively throughout his career.

In addition, Bill Lee, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was also known to use the Eephus pitch and even nicknamed it Leephus. The rarity of the Eephus pitch can be attributed to both the difficulty of mastering it and the misconception that its easy to hit.

The pitch requires a level of skill, patience, and discipline that many pitchers may not possess. Pitchers who do not have a stable fastball and curveball may also struggle to keep their repertoire of pitches consistent.

As a result, other difficult pitches such as sliders or knuckleballs are favored over the Eephus pitch.


The Eephus pitch may not be as widespread as other pitches, but its unique trajectory and slow speed make it a valuable tool for pitchers who aim to disrupt a batter’s timing and gain an edge on the mound. Its rarity also adds to its intrigue, as many batters have never seen a pitch like it.

The best way for pitchers to effectively use the Eephus pitch is to master the grip, trajectory, and release of the pitch. This requires patience, discipline, and more than a few missed pitches, but the reward of watching the ball slowly sail over the hitter’s head will be worth the effort.

As much as baseball is a serious and thoughtful game, it can also have its humorous moments, and that is where the Eephus pitch comes into play. It has a gimmick factor, making it both interesting and entertaining.

In this article, we will discuss the entertainment value of the Eephus pitch and look at examples of the most memorable Eephus pitches.

The Humor and Entertainment Value of the Eephus Pitch

There is no denying that an Eephus pitch is a one-of-a-kind pitch that often elicits a sense of humor and entertainment when its thrown. It is not as common as other pitches, so when it’s thrown, it can add a level of surprise that can be funny and entertaining to watch.

Fans and commentators alike love it because it adds a sense of unpredictability and creates an ooh-and-ahh factor on the field. One of the reasons the Eephus pitch is so entertaining is that it is essentially a trick pitch.

Pitchers can use it as a joke, throwing it to embarrass a batter or to add an extra layer of entertainment to the game. It doesn’t always end in a strikeout, but it’s always a fun pitch to see.

Example Videos

Some of the most famous Eephus pitches of all time come from the 1946 MLB All-Star game where pitcher Rip Sewell used it effectively against batter Ted Williams. Sewell pitched two Eephus pitches to Williams, one that went high and outside, and the other low and inside.

Williams swung and missed both times, showcasing the effectiveness of the pitch. In more recent times, Brock Holt, an infielder for the Texas Rangers, demonstrated his pitching skills by throwing an Eephus pitch in the ninth inning of a game against the Oakland A’s.

The pitch was timed at only 31 mph and sailed nearly 15 feet over the head of the oncoming hitter. Holt’s Eephus pitch showed that it could be used as a secondary weapon, not just by a pitcher, but by other position players as well.

The 2021 regular season saw several Eephus pitches thrown, including a memorable one from Oakland A’s pitcher, Yusmeiro Petit, against the Tampa Bay Rays. The pitch was a 49 mph rainbow that landed outside the strike zone, but it was a pitch that captured everyone’s attention and got people talking.


The Eephus pitch brings a unique level of entertainment to baseball. It might not be the most consistent or effective pitch, but it’s always a joy to watch.

Its value, when it comes to its entertainment factor, is something that cannot be understated. The pitch adds a sense of fun, surprise, and humor to the game, especially when it is thrown effectively.

It might not fit into the strategic and tactical aspect of the game, but it sure does fulfil a place in the history and legacy of baseball.

FAQs About the Eephus Pitch

The Eephus pitch is a fascinating topic in the world of baseball. It is a pitch that has been around for decades and is still being used today, albeit in limited amounts.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Eephus pitch.

History and Invention of the Eephus Pitch

Question: When was the Eephus pitch invented, and who invented it? Answer: Rip Sewell, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is generally credited as the inventor of the Eephus pitch in the late 1930s.

The pitch was initially called the “slowball” or “moonball,” but after the 1946 MLB All-Star game (where Sewell used it to great effect against Ted Williams), the pitch began to be known as the Eephus pitch. Hitters’ Reactions to the Eephus Pitch

Question: How do hitters react to the Eephus pitch?

Answer: There is no single response from hitters when facing an Eephus pitch. Some batters can strike out swinging when thrown the pitch, while other batters might swing early and miss altogether.

However, it is generally agreed that hitters have a difficult time tracking the trajectory and timing of the pitch. One reason Eephus pitches can work effectively is because they can disrupt a batter’s timing and force them to change their approach at the plate.

The slow speed and high arc of the pitch can make batters feel off-balance, forcing them into their weakest swing or giving them a sense of hesitation.

Reasons for the Rarity of the Eephus Pitch

Question: Why is the Eephus pitch so rare, despite its success in the past? Answer: There are several reasons why the Eephus pitch is so rare in the modern game of baseball.

One is that there are many other difficult pitches to master, such as the slider, curveball, and knuckleball. As a result, many pitchers choose to focus on improving their existing repertoire rather than adding a new pitch that might not be reliable.

Another reason for the rarity of the Eephus pitch is that it is not regulated by baseball rules in the same way that other pitches are. Pitchers are required to pitch with an overhand motion, and they must cross the plate between the batter’s knees and shoulders.

However, there is no regulation on how fast a pitch can be thrown or how much it can deviate from a straight line between the pitcher and catcher. As a result, other pitches, such as the fastball and curveball, are more popular options.

Lastly, the awareness level of hitters has increased significantly since the early days of the Eephus pitch. Many batters watch tapes of their opponents and scout for tendencies or preferences in their pitches.

With this increased awareness, a pitch like the Eephus pitch can become predictable rather than an advantage on the mound.


The Eephus pitch is a fascinating and unique pitch in baseball that remains a topic of discussion. Entrepreneurs and trendsetters in baseball keep looking for ways to make the game more entertaining.

But despite its entertainment bling, there’s a level of unpredictability that makes it so appealing. Its always interesting to see when and how it is used to gain an edge on the mound.

At its best, the Eephus pitch is a tool for seasoned pitchers who have mastered its art, throwing batters off their rhythm and making them miss. In conclusion, the Eephus pitch is a slow, high-arc pitch used in baseball.

Its unique trajectory and slow speed make it difficult for batters to hit and add a sense of humor and entertainment to the game. Rip Sewell is credited with inventing the pitch in the late 1930s, and notable pitchers such as Dave Stieb and Bill Lee used it effectively throughout their careers.

The rarity of the Eephus pitch can be attributed to the difficulty of mastering it, the existence of other difficult pitches, and the increase in hitters’ awareness. A useful takeaway is that the Eephus pitch can disrupt a batter’s timing, making it a valuable weapon for seasoned pitchers who have mastered it.


-Who invented the Eephus pitch? Rip Sewell is generally credited with inventing the Eephus pitch in the late 1930s.

-Why is the Eephus pitch difficult to hit? The Eephus pitch has a unique trajectory and slow speed, making it difficult for batters to time their swings and make good contact.

-Why is the Eephus pitch not used more often? The rarity of the Eephus pitch can be attributed to the difficulty of mastering it, the existence of other difficult pitches, and the increase in hitters’ awareness.

-What is the entertainment value

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