Does anyone happen to know? I figure that if a woman can throw an 85-90 MPH fastball at least one should have popped up as serious major league talent by now.
I decided to look at women's long jump records as possibly a comparable power movement. It is "only" 24-7 versus 29-4 for men. A standing broad jump would be directly proportional to peak power output, but jumps are pretty linear to power. If a 27 foot corresponds to about 95 mph, a woman might have peaked out in the 87-89 range.
Maybe javelin records would be better, or standing "broad" jump?
Last edited by brett; 12-16-2009 at 09:56 AM.
I believe Ila Borders, who played in the independent Northern League in the late 1990s/early 2000s, topped out around 83-85 mph. One person does not a sample size make. My guess is that there are women out there who could throw harder than that but have never been clocked and probably haven't been given the opportunity to hone their skills.
Whats the difference percentage wise with a professional women's tennis player's serve and a professional male tennis player? That's probably the same percentage difference in throwing a baseball overhand.
Probably would peak out to 85 mph... And be one of the few in the world that can do it too.
I once watched a girls' baseball game and one girl could supposedly reach 80 mph and she was the fastest in the league at age 17. I imagine the max would be 90 mph based on that.
I looked at various olympic records and the top women seem to be performing at about 85-90% of the top men. The fastest pitcher ever was Steve Dalkowski, a wild minor leaguer in the 1960's who is confirmed to have thrown 108 mph. Since many current major leaguers throw over 100, I don't think it it a stretch to say that a properly trained woman could throw 90 or more. The problem is that women are only taught to pitch underhand when they are young. There are no female overhand pitchers being developed by the normal system. Ila Borders was a highly motivated person who blazed her own trail. The fastest female underhand pitchers like Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott, and Lisa Fernandez can consistently hit 75 mph throwing a bigger, heavier ball. The best underhand men can't do much better than that with the big ball.
You've got to be joking. Have you ever seen a major division mens tournament? Even the best non-windmillers can throw in the 90s. Plus they are further from the plate than the women.
I have seen a good men's tournament and I've seen all the best women pitch. I didn't have a radar gun but there wasn't much difference in fastball speed. Monica Abbott can really bring it, and she's 6'3". Maybe she throws a lot faster than 75. I can't haggle over exact speeds, but I know that the very best women I've seen are not noticibly slower than the best men, so I don't think there is a 20 mph difference. 5-10 maybe. I know that the mound is 46' for men and 43' for women but that shouldn't have any bearing on the absolute speed of the pitch. The jugs gun doesn't know how far away the mound is, it just measures how fast the ball is going.
So if I stand 40 feet from the plate and buzz one in at 85 MPH, and C.C. Sabathia stands at second base and heaves one over the plate at 84, would you say I was faster?I know that the mound is 46' for men and 43' for women but that shouldn't have any bearing on the absolute speed of the pitch. The jugs gun doesn't know how far away the mound is, it just measures how fast the ball is going.
Of course the pitching distance makes a difference. It's not a huge one in this case, but it still makes a difference. The men are farther back and can still throw it faster. And, yes, the fastest can throw it in the 90s & faster.
If men could really throw underhand 95 miles per hour or more then they would be playing professional baseball, not amateur softball. Why do no professional baseball players use the underhand windmill then if it's possible to throw so fast that way? It can't possibly be the most efficient delivery, since it is legal in baseball but nobody does it. If these guys were really that good then they could blow away professional baseball hitters, even after switching to the small ball, the mound, and the 60.5 foot distance. Lisa Martinez was a fastpitch pitcher in college then played baseball for the Colorado Silver Bullets in 1994. She pitched one no-hitter and overall had a 5.50 ERA in 42 innings. So the switch can be made from fastpitch to baseball while retaining the underhand delivery.
If those guys are really throwing 100 then why aren't they making millions of dollars in the major leagues? By the way, I've read several articles that claim Joan Joyce could throw 105 mph in the 1970's. If I believe that men can throw 100 underhand, then you have to believe that Joan Joyce did too. So whichever set of speeds you believe, the men are NOT 20 mph faster.
Jenie Finch: How hard do I throw? Top out at 71 average high 60's.
She did a creditable job, but Joyce was overpowering, even though her fastball, which was clocked at 118 mph in 1966, has slowed down to a mere 90 mph.
I found this on www.wiki.answers.com
Q: What is the average pitch speed for men's fastpitch? Can they really throw 110?
Pitching Book w/Video on CD Speed & Accuracy Secrets
110 mph? No, probably not.
Most of the top men's pitchers throw in the 80's. There have been some studies done, though, showing that a 85 mph fastpitch is like a 100 mph baseball pitch in terms of reaction time the hitter has.
Remember in baseball, the pitcher is 60' 6" from home plate. In fastpitch, the pitching rubber is only 46 feet away, and many of the good pitchers leap towards home, so they are even closer by the time they release the ball.
Some fastpitch hitters will tell you that it's harder to hit an 85mph fastpitch than a 100 baseball, because you have so little time to react.
So according to this the men throw in the 80's, not 90's or 100's, just like I said. Jennie Finch may top out at 71, but I think that Monica Abbott is a little bit faster than Finch.
I don't care what wiki says, and I'm not talking about reaction speed the way they state it when watching the Little League World Series. I'm talking about the speed of the pitch.
For the record, a ball thrown at 70 MPH from 46' gives the batter the same reaction time of a ball thrown at 92 MPH from 60'6".
When I say a guy can throw a softball at 92 MPH from 46', I'm saying the guy is throwing it 92 MPH.
As for Fernandez, she pitched underhand for the Silver Bullets. She didn't fare too well. Her limited success was due to the novelty of her pitch compared to what the batters were used to. Despite all the exhibitions of Eddie Feigner, Joan Joyce, Finch, etc. against major leaguers, it would take major league hitters about 7 minutes worth of BP to adjust to the pitching. (In softball, a 1-pitch speedballer would get racked; it's the breaking stuff and change of speed that kills.)
Other windmillers have tried pitching in baseball over the years. They couldn't adjust to the 60'6" distance to be worth anything. It's like taking the world champion horse shoe pitcher and moving him to a different league where they toss the shoes from 15 feet further back. It's like a whole different ball game just like the little league pitching phenoms who never do squat on the bigger field.
Underhand pitching is more technique than brawn, so you'd think the speeds of the two sexes would be closer. However, all other things being equal, the taller, stronger person is able to generate more speed. (Transfer of the weight is a key component of softball pitching.)
As for Joan Joyce, I saw her in the 1970s. I think the pitching speeds of the touring teams are more hype than fact, but she could bring it, as could Feigner (& the second King, Craig Estrada.)
As for the pitchers who 'leap toward home' (crow hop), they don't do that in modified, and guys in modified can throw over 90 without a crow hop.
Another reason pro players don't throw windmill is that they don't play in youth leagues where they learn to pitch that way. Of all the guys I've played ball with, we all grew up playing baseball. Why on Earth would we have practiced windmill pitching if we were playing baseball every day? Softball was a game for men who could no longer play baseball.
I found a little more info about Joan Joyce. Even she doesn't believe that she threw 118 mph, or even close to it.
One study at the University of Southern California in the mid-’60s determined that Joyce threw 118 mph. The study examined the reaction time of batters swinging at a ball from 40 feet, the softball distance from the mound to the plate. That would have been faster than a fastball from Walter Johnson or Sandy Koufax. Joyce doesn’t believe it. She said her pitches were never timed with a speed gun. “They probably were in the 70s,” she said. Still, to a batter 40 feet away, they may have looked 118 mph.
I have a hard time believing a man can throw a ball underhand 92mph when submariners in the MLB don't throw harder than 82-84mph. They can throw it over 90 over hand though.
The submariners you speak of are not the same people when you say 'they can throw it over 90 over hand' are they? Some pitchers throw over 90. Some pitchers are submariners, but those who can throw over 90 overhand don't choose to throw submariner. If the submariners could throw over 90 overhand, they'd be throwing overhand.
They claim that with a softball windup they can hit 115 underhand. Underhand pitching is legal in the majors by the way, but without the softball windup they top out in the low to mid 80s. Remember that from the set position, the ball may not come forward before the pitch so they can not lift it up overhead in the front.
Last edited by brett; 01-10-2010 at 05:47 PM.
What were the radar readings? And where does one go see high level men's fastpitch in the northeast?
I read an article about the 2008 olympics where it said that the fastest softball pitch in the tournament was 73.4 mph. (This was by a woman of course because men's softball wasn't in the Olympics). I believe that this was measured accurately with their radar guns.
I just don't know how anyone is making these claims that male softball pitchers throw above 90 or 100 miles an hour. What is the proof? Where are the radar gun readings? You can't just say "Well, it seemed that fast." Did anyone really have an accurate speed radar that they were using? I think that there was and is a lot of exaggeration going on. Some reporter or observer just says Feigner or whoever was throwing 100 and then it gets repeated so many times that it becomes a fable and people start believing it. It was already mentioned about the fantastical exaggerated speed reports of Joan Joyce. Why can't you believe that the men's speeds have been exaggerated too?
I never saw my own readings. (Nobody pitches & then runs over to the speed gun to see what it said.) But I have seen readings of guys in the 90s. Knowing that I was in the 70s, I also know that even without radar guns, the top guys were throwing faster than I was (a lot faster, which is why I was playing other positions & being the #3 or #4 pitcher, because I didn't throw fast enough.)
As to whether the guns were accurate, I wasn't in charge of calibrating them. And nobody was filming the radar guns. Somewhere around here, though, I have videotapes of games between some of the top teams from about 20 years ago. I'll dig them out and see how they look. I'll have to time the pitch then figure the speed.
Regardless, I guess seeing is believing. I can't help it if you haven't seen much better than the beer leagues.