Nolan Ryan, one of the all time great baseball player, delivered pitches that were a whopping 100 mph. Pitches are, basically the way the ball is thrown toward the home plate, which marks the start of a game. Ryan’s pitching was labeled by media as the ‘Ryan Express’ because of the incredible speed he could generate in his pitches. He had almost all the weapons, in different baseball pitches, in his pitching armor. There are many types of how you pitch in baseball. Here’s giving you more information about different types of baseball pitches.
Fastball is a significant and common weapon in the arsenal of a pitcher. In this the pitch is thrown at a very high speed, as much as generated by the pitcher while throwing. The pitcher however also has to maintain a good control over the direction, as it has to come straight at the batter. There are several variations like two-seam fastball, split-finger fastball, four seam fastball, cutter and sinker in fastball, which are very commonly used by pitchers. Nolan Ryan, as mentioned earlier, was a master of this type of a pitch. This type of pitch is pure speed and there’s nothing else to prevent the ball from being hit by the batter.
The ‘breaking ball’ is not aimed straight at the batter and is not supposed to be as fast as the fastball . A breaking ball has a sideways or downwards motion to it. It sort of resembles the spin ball in cricket. These balls can deceive the batter, as they change their direction and may even hit the ground before reaching the home plate. They can easily deceive a batter, if they are delivered accurately. Curveballs, sliders, knuckle curve and screwball are a few variations of the breaking ball. A pitcher who basically uses breaking balls, is called a junkballer.
Change up is yet another pitching style in baseball. It could be any pitch, slower in pace than the fastball. It has a similar arm action as that of a fastball, but is delivered at a slower velocity because the ball is held in a special grip. Now, because of its resemblance to the arm action of a fastball, the change up can confuse the batter. A few types of change up pitches, are namely the straight change, palmball and circle changeup.
When a pitch is erratic and unpredictable, it is called a knuckleball. It is thrown in such a way that it reduces the spin on the ball, while it is in the air. The way this ball is thrown creates vortices over the seams of the ball, in the course of its trajectory. This causes the pitch to change directions, while its in the air. This pitch is sometimes difficult even for the pitchers to control. It is a challenge for the batters as well as catchers, to deal with this ball.
The ‘Nothing Ball’ – Eephus
Considered as junk in baseball, the eephus pitch is a low speed pitch (55 miles per hour or less). The batter is caught unawares with this delivery from the pitcher. Interestingly, there is a theory that in Hebrew, the word ‘eephus’ means ‘nothing’. A different kind of strange, high arcing trajectory is what is identified with an eephus pitch. Rather than being akin to a baseball pitch, it seems more like a slow softball pitch.
These are just the most common and known types of baseball pitches. There are other different types of baseball pitches like gyroball, spitball, shuuto, knuckleslider etc. as well.
Ultimately, be it the fastball or the eephus pitch, the motive of the pitcher is to hit the target, and if not that, then at least to ensure that the batter is not able to hit the ball for a run. Now we know how Nolan Ryan could weave magic, with his sometimes fiery and sometimes deceptive, types of baseball pitches!