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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-25-2015

Topeka State Journal, August 25, 1915:

Otis Crandall, former Giant now with the St. Louis Feds, has invented a new delivery known as the “snake ball.” According to the reports of opposing batsmen, the sphere floats up the the plate in a series of eccentric circles that give hickory swingers the staggers trying to follow its course.

Sounds (from contemporary reports as well as more recent sources) like it was just a big, loopy curveball. Writers of this era seemed intent on discovering “new” pitches, most of which were just variations of existing pitches given new names.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 25, 2015 at 08:47 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: doc crandall, dugout, history, pitches

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-5-2015

Tacoma Times, August 5, 1915:

One thing needed to put new interest in baseball is a new discovery, something like the spitball which gave fans new heroes to worshipp [sic] and something new to talk about.
The one hurler with something new, a fooler that may get into the same class with the spitball and put a new “kick” on the game, is Gene Dale of the Cincinnati Reds. He broke in this season with a slow curve, the likes of which had never been seen on a big league diamond.
Dale’s curve is different from others’ curves in that it does not break sharply. It’s a “roundhouse” curve. It travels in a big swoop.

Dale had a big season in 1915, winning 18 games and putting up an ERA+ of 118 in 296.2 innings. His big league career ended the next year after 69.2 terrible (50 ERA+) innings. Dale was banned for life in January 1921 after being implicated in a plot to fix the 1919 PCL pennant race.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 05, 2015 at 08:36 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: curveball, dugout, gene dale, history, pitches

Friday, May 22, 2015

Keri: the History of the Eephus

That slow curve from El Duque that A-Rod launched into orbit was magnificent. But I wish I could have seen more of the true, 15-25 foot high eephus pitches.

If you ever want to watch 45 seconds of baseball magic, I direct you to this 1981 This Week in Baseball feature on Yankees relief pitcher Dave LaRoche. In the clip, LaRoche describes an at-bat against Brewers slugger Gorman Thomas: “Bob Lemon had just become the manager,” the veteran left-hander says. “He wanted to know if I wanted to put Gorman on, or what we wanted to do. And I said, ‘Well, how about if I just throw him my curveball?’”

Lemon had never seen LaRoche’s curveball in action. The skipper, and the 27,337 spectators at Yankee Stadium, was in for a treat. LaRoche’s curve was in fact a big ol’ blooper pitch. Unaccustomed to facing the pitch, Thomas swung hard, hitting a line-drive foul down the third-base line. Then came another one, this time ending with Thomas bunting the pitch foul. LaRoche tried to finish him with a fastball to the outside corner, but missed.

Then came another lob: A sloooow, high-arcing offering that went a good 15 feet in the air. To Thomas, the pitch had to look like a 24-ounce porterhouse, fat, juicy, and ready to be devoured. But to LaRoche, the pitch was a weapon, a tantalizer that could make a batter swing from his heels and come up with nothing but air. This was no ordinary curveball. This was “LaLob.”

If I were ever granted the power to become any type of pitcher, I’d want to become the greatest junkballer to ever live.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-12-2015

Page 32 of the Pittsburgh Press, May 12, 1915:

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 12, 2015 at 08:32 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, forkball, history, pitches

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-16-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 16, 1915:

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 16, 2015 at 09:42 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, pitches



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