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Thread: Fastest Fastball?

  1. #126
    Quote Originally Posted by Dalkowski110 View Post
    "The story I heard on Williams is that he grabbed a bat and stood in against him in spring training. This was after he was retired and was a spring training instructor."

    This was Ron Shelton's spin on the story, I believe, after Pat Jordan's accounts of Steve vs. The Splendid Splinter in 1958 and 1959 and then 1960 were disproven. Thing is, after Williams had retired, Steve went to MLB Spring Training only twice: in 1961 and 1963 (Minor League Spring Training was held in Thomasville, GA). Both times, the Red Sox trained in Scottsdale, AZ. And both times, Baltimore trained in Miami, FL. What I've asked both myself and a number of Orioles Minor League managers and other personnel at the time was "what would Williams be doing in FL when his team was training in AZ?" Nobody has come up with a sufficient answer and most of the managers and other personnel I've spoken with are of the opinion that it never happened, though they do tend to stick by Walter Youse's version of the story, which was corroborated by Chuck Estrada and George Henderson (one of Youse's assistants present at the game).
    Williams lived in Islamorada, FL in the Florida Keys and did a lot of bonefishing there when he retired. Oriole training camp was in Miami which is apx 100 miles, possibly even less from Islamorada. Who is to say Williams didnt go up there to see old friends or even possibly because he had been told of Dalkowski's speed and wanted to see for himself? It seems not only possible, but very probable, to me that Williams would make what is essentially a very easy day trip to Oriole training camp.

  2. #127
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    "Williams lived in Islamorada, FL in the Florida Keys and did a lot of bonefishing there when he retired. Oriole training camp was in Miami which is apx 100 miles, possibly even less from Islamorada. Who is to say Williams didnt go up there to see old friends or even possibly because he had been told of Dalkowski's speed and wanted to see for himself? It seems not only possible, but very probable, to me that Williams would make what is essentially a very easy day trip to Oriole training camp. "

    Here's the problem: nobody's seen it. No catcher that ever caught Steve Dalkowski has backed it up. No manager or coach from any Spring Training Steve attended had ever heard of it until Pat Jordan published it in the 1970's. The oldest account was heard in 1960, told by both Steve and Ralph Lairmore in 1960 Spring Training with Stockton (heard it from multiple players, too), and varied considerably from the 1970's version Jordan published. No other player saw it or heard about any kind of aftermath, and I've spoken to multiple regulars from literally every team, including Spring Training squads, that Steve played for. Steve's own accounts of it have varied so widely that there's no consistency from one telling to the other. I can't arrive at any conclusion other than it was made up in 1960 Spring Training.
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

  3. #128
    Quote Originally Posted by Dalkowski110 View Post

    . He's actually going to be 71 on June 3, and has been sober and in New Britain, CT since 1994. Not sure where some of the more recent articles have been getting that was still out in CA or inflating his age.
    How's he doing?

  4. #129
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    Pretty well physically. I know they had him in a wheel chair for the first pitch at Dodger Stadium, but that's because he walks with a bit of a limp (I'm not sure why) and I don't think they wanted him exacerbating that on the uneven ground of the field. Mentally? Well, he has alcohol-induced dementia. It's a pretty lousy definition of the malady because usually (and I've had this experience with literally over four dozen ballplayers who have asked me in responding to my letter) when someone thinks of "dementia," they think of senile dementia. In that malady, you cannot recover any memories. It's like your memory just sort of fades away and can never be restored. But alcholic dementia, when caught and treated properly, allows the restoration of memories. Not the full restoration, mind you, but at least a partial restoration. Steve's memory is better than it was when I first met him. He can now identify ballplayers--his teammates, mostly, but some opponents--from pictures as opposed to merely names. And something that neither myself nor Steve's sister, Patti Cain, can understand: if you give Steve the name of a ballplayer he played with or against, he can remember in almost exacting detail the following:
    -Handedness (batter or pitcher)
    -Pitch repertoire if a pitcher and a sort of spray chart if a hitter.
    -Any old nicknames the ballplayers picked up (for example, Steve called Dave McNally "Montana Dave," John Miller "The Mule," Frank Bertaina "Frankie Boy," Lloyd Fourroux "The King," Nielsen Cochran "Crazy Nellie," Ellis Olson "Olie," John Dewald "Farmer John," Larry Clayton "Cotton" or "Cot," Pat Gillick was "Books," "Pinky" for Pat McMahon, and "Soup" for Paul Campbell) and any eccentricities his teammates had.
    -Generally where the ballplayer was from and what Steve thought of him if he was a teammate. If not, it's almost like he's reading old scouting reports on hitters or opposing pitchers when he does this.
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

  5. #130
    Did a google search & found a profile of SD on a site called "Bad Sports". Not a promising name but the article seemed pretty good. Plus it had a followup by a guy in the minors who was assigned to stand in a batting cage for 20 minutes against Dalkowski while Earl Weaver studied Steve's motion. (An assignment like that pretty much tells you the organization does NOT envision you in its future plans, I guess!)

    I wonder if anyone thought to film the guy in his prime. Being no physical marvel, as such (near-sighted, 5'11", 170 lbs) he must have had just perfect untutored natural mechanics to throw that fast. Priceless study material.

  6. #131
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    "Not a promising name but the article seemed pretty good."

    Filled with errors. Herm Starrette's stuff on there is basically all that's accurate. PM me if you want details. Also, the guy that faced Steve was facing him in 1964 (and he never played pro ball, either). Steve had partially torn his MCL in 1963 and lost a good deal of speed off his fastball by 1964. He threw hard, but generally wasn't considered the hardest thrower on his own team in Elmira in 1964. Frank Bertaina and Steve Cosgrove (especially) were considered to throw somewhat harder by then, and Cosgrove struggled violently with his control, as well. When Steve was sent down to Stockton that year, he again found himself the third hardest thrower on the team after Ed Barnowski and Ron Kotick. Makes you wonder about that story a bit...

    "I wonder if anyone thought to film the guy in his prime."

    The US Army did on a filmreel camera from center field, as a security precaution in 1958 while he was throwing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds' baseball field. Sadly, nobody knows if the film is still viewable and while I'm taking measures to get a copy of the film via a FOIA request and an inquiry into the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Museum as well as the US Army Historical Section...well...I got a lot of red tape to cut through. The Orioles DID film Steve while he was batting, oddly. You can see him as number 41 in the 1961 documentary Paul Richards, Big League Manager. Supposedly, Steve was also filmed warming up for that documentary. Unfortunately, it wound up on the cutting room floor and nobody knows where the footage is. It's also probable that Steve was filmed for the 1962 film The Orioles in Action while training with Rochester. Again, however, absolutely nobody knows where that footage is and believe me, I've tried and I know a good friend who has tried. The Army film is the best hope at this point, IMO, although the 1960 Visalia A's televised all their home games and supposedly saved all their film. Nobody knows where that is, but my guess would be one of the Visalia TV or radio stations...it would be easier to find than the Orioles or Red Wings footage.
    Last edited by Dalkowski110; 04-14-2010 at 10:50 PM.
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

  7. #132
    Ah, Well so much for the internet.

    As for Teddy Ballgame, if he'd faced this guy he would have mentioned it, in a letter, a conversation, an interview - how many interviewers asked him who the fastest pitcher he ever saw was? All of them, is how many, I'm certain. Drive all the way to see the guy and never mention him? No way. If he didn't talk about facing Steve Dalkowski, he didn't face him.

  8. #133
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    "how many interviewers asked him who the fastest pitcher he ever saw was? All of them, is how many, I'm certain. Drive all the way to see the guy and never mention him? No way. If he didn't talk about facing Steve Dalkowski, he didn't face him."

    You nailed it. I also have a very good friend who asked John Henry Williams before he passed away if this ever happened and he said other than his father maybe seeing him throwing and not even getting his name (which he said was a possibility), he said no, it absolutely did not happen. Interestingly, you DO have a number of Major League hitters while they were in the Majors in Spring Training that did face Steve and talked about it...Al Kaline, Roger Maris, Elston Howard, Moose Skowron, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, Dee Fondy, Don Hoak, Alex Grammas...but they're usually never cited. Gil Hodges is also known to have faced Steve in 1958 during a Spring Training game (someone had come in for Snider, however, and he did not face Steve), though took his opinions away to his grave. Carl Furillo faced him in the same game but again, was never asked about it.
    Last edited by Dalkowski110; 04-15-2010 at 11:02 AM.
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

  9. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalkowski110 View Post
    To top Ryan's record officially, you have to A) be clocked at the Ryan Distance of 50'6" and B) be clocked by a chronograph, not a radar gun.
    What kind of chronograph? I found it was a LASER doppler-effect device.

    any one of the three Aberdeen Proving Grounds US Army chronograph tests where he tried getting his fastball through a box-like device just exceeding the width of home plate.
    I understand you are writing or wrote a book about Dalkoswki, so, surely you are pretty well documented. I opened this thread on Documenting clocking intents 1912-1974 to distill the truth from all what can be found on the speed of the pitchers of the past. You may want to check it out, and possibly, if you care, share something of what you know and help set the record straight.

    What I've got is that Dalkowski was tested once with a sky screen chronograph.
    Last edited by Mister_D; 07-16-2010 at 10:31 AM.

  10. #135
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    I stand corrected...it was indeed a Sky Screen only.
    Last edited by Dalkowski110; 08-07-2010 at 08:35 AM.
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

  11. #136
    Dalkowski110: Did you ever track down any footage of Steve?

    He's always been a favorite of mine, also. Have his rookie card and a couple of original photos of him during his playing days -- also and old Elmira Pioneers program with him in it.

    One more question: Did I understand you correctly in your post to say that any footage of Steve in the 1962 film "The Orioles in Action" was also cut? I see that this is readily available on DVD.
    Last edited by rhuff1119; 07-22-2011 at 05:10 PM.

  12. #137
    Bump this up.

  13. #138
    This is clearly THE fastest pitcher in recorded history. Possibly (probably?) in the entire history of baseball.

    http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=13936325&c_id=mlb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDRf9jvIGP8

  14. #139
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    I am highly skeptical of these radar readings.
    RIP Bill Burgess - a gentleman and a scholar - Baseball-Fever will never be the same without you.

  15. #140
    Quote Originally Posted by GiambiJuice View Post
    I am highly skeptical of these radar readings.
    Skepticism is almost always a good thing.

    What do you put 106 at? How about 103? Or 101-102 consistently (based on Chapman's actual velocity record?)

  16. #141
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    I don't know if someone already posted this years before, but I just saw it yesterday while watching that 1981 ASG on youtube. They showed the clip of Bob Feller's fastball being "timed" by a guy riding a motorcycle (at something like 90+ mph) towards a paper target as Feller threw his famous "Heater from Van Meter" at one right next to it! It looked pretty neat! Not the most accurate thing in the world, but pretty inventive in the time!
    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean

    "The last guy who ran as badly as Bill Buckner was Long John Silver." Mark Heisler, sportswriter

    "I'm getting by on three pitches now - a curve, a change-up, and whatever you want to call that thing that used to be a fastball." Frank Tanana

  17. #142
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    Post 109 shows evidence of over 15 recent fastball pitchers slinging the ball at about the same speed. So I gotta go with Bob Feller whose fastball in his prime
    was heads & tails above every one else at the time. Feller came up in 1936 & struck out 15 in his first major league start and a few weeks later tied the AL strikeout record fanning 17 Athletics, he was 17 at the time. At 19 he led the league in SO's with 246 bobo Newsome was 2nd with 164 & in the NL Bucky Walters was the leader with 137. Feller was even at 19 in a different orbit of speed than the others, he at the time only had 1 pitch, the curve to him was just apiece of baseball nomenclature!

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