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Earnshaw Curveball

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  • Earnshaw Curveball

    In the James/Neyer book on pitchers, there is a quote from George Earnshaw in which he says that his curve was thrown just like his fastball, except that his hand was turned over, palm up.
    Has anybody ever seen a pitcher throw a ball like this? I've been messing with it in the basement, and I can throw the ball reasonably straight. Can't say if it curves much because I can't really try to throw it that hard in the space I have.
    I notice that Earnshaw had a pretty brief peak as a top pitcher...wonder if this pitch caused stress on his arm.
    "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

  • #2
    Back when I was a kid in Babe Ruth, we had one chucker that used to throw what he called a "sinker" that way. It worked pretty well and he had a lot of movement on it. The problem was that it was pretty easy to read. The last time he threw it to me, I took a huge stride to drop my body and bounced a line drive off the left field wall. I wouldn't recommend it past Little League.
    Baseball Drills

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    • #3
      Earnshaw was considered a top line pitcher for a few years and I seem to recall that his exceptional fastball was talked about more often than his curve.

      I suspect his early demise, which may not have been so early for he was in the minors for a long time at Baltimore like Grove, was related more to the style in which he was used. I think he started consecutive games on five different occasions in 1930 (he did in again, without checking my references, in the World Series that year but with a day off (travel ?) between the games).

      I'm not sure whose idea it was. Earnshaw said a couple of times in print that he liked to work that way, IE several days in a row, and Mack was always altering his rotation in 1930 so that Grove didn't have to face the Yankees.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Old Mike
        Earnshaw was considered a top line pitcher for a few years and I seem to recall that his exceptional fastball was talked about more often than his curve.

        I suspect his early demise, which may not have been so early for he was in the minors for a long time at Baltimore like Grove, was related more to the style in which he was used. I think he started consecutive games on five different occasions in 1930 (he did in again, without checking my references, in the World Series that year but with a day off (travel ?) between the games).

        I'm not sure whose idea it was. Earnshaw said a couple of times in print that he liked to work that way, IE several days in a row, and Mack was always altering his rotation in 1930 so that Grove didn't have to face the Yankees.
        There are conflicting quotes from Earnshaw in his brief entry in the book I referred to...said that he could go a whole game throwing heat in one, attributing his success to his funky curve in another. I suppose they could have been from different points in his career.
        I'm surprised that Mack kept Grove from pitching against the Yanks...wouldn't you think that Lefty would have been a good tool against that lefty power? I'm sure that Connie knew better than me...at least in '30, before his senile phase when Al Simmons had to counteract every move that Mack tried to make.
        "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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        • #5
          I think it a strategy on Mack's part that worked well.

          The Yanks won the pennant in 1928. Grove went 24-8. he went 1-6 against NY and 23-2 against the rest of the league. I assume that Mack figured anyone could be cannon fodder for the NY bats, but saving Grove for the lesser teams was a sure win.

          Since Connie then won three straight pennants, who am I to argue.

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          • #6
            You do not want to throw a curveball where when your finished your palm is facing up. I forget what it's called, supination? Or something like that, but it'll destroy your elbow
            While I do prefer to interact with people in a gentle manner... I'm also not at all opposed to establishing my dominance in a reign of terror.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Old Mike
              I think it a strategy on Mack's part that worked well.

              The Yanks won the pennant in 1928. Grove went 24-8. he went 1-6 against NY and 23-2 against the rest of the league. I assume that Mack figured anyone could be cannon fodder for the NY bats, but saving Grove for the lesser teams was a sure win.

              Since Connie then won three straight pennants, who am I to argue.
              Wow...amazing info. I wonder if Ruth and Gehrig hit Grove well, or if some righties were pounding a tune on him. Guess that Meusel and Lazzeri were around to lay some hurtin' on Lefty.
              I can see why Mack kept his job for 50 years!
              "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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              • #8
                Originally posted by XFactor
                You do not want to throw a curveball where when your finished your palm is facing up. I forget what it's called, supination? Or something like that, but it'll destroy your elbow
                I'm 40 and my arm is shot, anyway, so I'm not too worried about playing around with it. I wouldn't have a kid try it or anything like that. I'd like to see if I can throw it for a strike and spring it on my friends when we're hitting balls around in the spring. I never learned to throw a proper overhand curve...I had a slider down for a while, but throwing a drop never felt right to me.
                "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Riverdog
                  Back when I was a kid in Babe Ruth, we had one chucker that used to throw what he called a "sinker" that way. It worked pretty well and he had a lot of movement on it. The problem was that it was pretty easy to read. The last time he threw it to me, I took a huge stride to drop my body and bounced a line drive off the left field wall. I wouldn't recommend it past Little League.
                  Good point...you'd have that much more time to react if you picked up the upside down hand early. The curve delivery from most pitchers usually stuck out like a sore thumb to me, anyway, but this pitch would be even worse.
                  "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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                  • #10
                    Well, I finally tried the Earnshaw curve today. I couldn't get anything on the ball, kept throwing it wildly, and my arm hurts now.
                    This was a bad idea all around!
                    "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hellborn
                      Well, I finally tried the Earnshaw curve today. I couldn't get anything on the ball, kept throwing it wildly, and my arm hurts now.
                      This was a bad idea all around!
                      Your arm hurts because to throw it that way you have to supinate your forearm which focuses the load on your UCL and causes the bones of your elbow to slam together.

                      It's a bad idea.
                      Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                      I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris O'Leary
                        Your arm hurts because to throw it that way you have to supinate your forearm which focuses the load on your UCL and causes the bones of your elbow to slam together.

                        It's a bad idea.
                        I did feel strange and awkward all around, but I was feeling pain in the back of my arm near the shoulder...seemed like my tri didn't like the motion.
                        I won't try it again, no question.
                        "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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