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Did Pitchers of Yesteryear Throw With "Much Less" Velocity Than They Do Today?

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    When it comes to the the velocity of a fastball I tend to give little weight to first hand accounts when comparing two or more pitchers. The reason I give relatively little weight is because I believe it is next to impossible that any witness can say with any confidence that one pitcher thew harder another pitcher especially if their account of pitchers are many years apart. As for Weaver saying that Dalkowski threw "much harder" than Ryan I have problems with it. Now I'm more most people could tell the difference between an 80 mph pitch and a 99 mph pitch. However when we are talking about the difference between 100 mph and 103 mph a person cannot distinguish such a small difference in speed especially if they saw the two pitchers many years apart which is the case of Dalkowski and Ryan.

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  • evetts18
    replied
    Feller Youtube

    Originally posted by OleMissCub View Post
    I suggest you watch the short clip I created of Feller pitching which shows him making Hank Greenberg look completely foolish. That must have been some SERIOUS gas. Definitely upper 90's.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAm5fwb1Psw

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Feller didn't have some serious stuff. He could've been the fastest of all time. I'm just saying that I don't see it on that clip. Also, by the way, I think he was a very underrated pitcher, better than Ryan and up there with the greatest right handers like Clemens and Seaver.

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  • evetts18
    replied
    Originally posted by hellborn View Post
    Earl Weaver was his MANAGER, not a player at the time. He was 32 then, I think that he had seen some baseball by that point. Cal Ripken Sr. was only 5 years younger than Weaver, so he wasn't a kid when he caught Dalko, either. BTW, Weaver also said that Dalko threw "a lot harder" than Ryan, not just harder. You don't think that Earl was pretty familiar with Ryan?
    Of course the mound makes a difference...it wouldn't exist, otherwise. It sure made a difference when it was lowered 5 inches in the late '60s. Oh, but you pitched some in college, so you know better than Weaver, Ripken, and anybody who's ever pitched off a mound.
    OK, is this good enough for you...Ted Williams stepped in against Dalko in spring training in '58, took one pitch, left the cage in fear for his life, and said Steve was the fastest pitcher he ever saw. You know better than Ted? I guess you faced Feller and Trucks back in your youth?

    This isn't some Sidd Finch BS that somebody dreamed up or embellished, there are dozens of well known baseball people who have flat out said that Dalko was the fastest pitcher they ever saw. Pat Gillick played against him and still says that, for chrissakes.


    93.8 was what the device read. That's the only objective thing we know. Somehow we get from 93.8 to way over 100? I'm not buying it. And Pat Gillick still says what? That Dalkowski was the hardest thrower he ever saw or that he threw 110? Did Williams say that Dalkowski threw a lot harder than anyone he ever saw or simply was the fastest he ever saw? That makes a big difference. And if Earl Weaver or Cal Ripken, Sr. said that Dalkowski threw a lot harder than Ryan, and if a lot harder means anything over 1 mph, then, no, this guy who briefly pitched in college ain't buying it.

    First Weaver says Dalkowski threw a lot harder than Ryan, then quotes by Williams, Gillick and a few others are dug up saying they believe Dalkowski was the fastest they ever saw and suddenly we have a guy throwing the ball 110. I wonder how fast Bigfoot can throw.
    Last edited by evetts18; 07-25-2008, 09:56 AM.

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  • Ubiquitous
    replied
    I have no doubt Feller and Dalkowski threw some serious heat but any batter can look seriously fooled if he is expecting one thing and the pitchers throws something else. I've seen Tim Wakefield blow a 74 MPH fastball past a hitter. It happens.

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  • OleMissCub
    replied
    Originally posted by evetts18 View Post
    I've seen the Youtube video of Feller supposedly hitting 98 or so. I don't mean to sound like Joe Morgan, but that just doesn't look to me like a fastball that crossed the plate at 98.6, which means it would have left his hand at around 107. While modern radar guns are frequently trashed as being inaccurate and "jacked-up" who's to say that the measuring device used for Feller was any more accurate. It was an Army device, but the government has been known to be wrong a couple of times. In addition, with all those fans in attendance just waiting to hear the news about how hard Feller was throwing, you don't think there was any temptation to exaggerate? Someone should place this video side-by-side (from the same angle) with a modern pitcher known to be throwing a certain speed and compare.
    I suggest you watch the short clip I created of Feller pitching which shows him making Hank Greenberg look completely foolish. That must have been some SERIOUS gas. Definitely upper 90's.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAm5fwb1Psw

    Leave a comment:


  • hellborn
    replied
    Originally posted by evetts18 View Post
    ... Also, throwing off of flat ground vs. a mound doesn't make that much of a difference. I pitched a little in college and I can tell you that it just doesn't. And throwing for fifteen minutes before throwing the ball into the machine couldn't make that much difference, either. For all we know he rested every couple of minutes anyway. As for all of these people who supposedly have said that Dalkowski was the fastest they've ever seen, most, if not all of them saw him while they were first in the minor leagues (some were probably right out of high school). Therefore, they would have been comparing him to other minor leaguers. In comparison, I'm sure his fastball looked 110 when everyone else was probably throwing mid 80's. ...
    Earl Weaver was his MANAGER, not a player at the time. He was 32 then, I think that he had seen some baseball by that point. Cal Ripken Sr. was only 5 years younger than Weaver, so he wasn't a kid when he caught Dalko, either. BTW, Weaver also said that Dalko threw "a lot harder" than Ryan, not just harder. You don't think that Earl was pretty familiar with Ryan?
    Of course the mound makes a difference...it wouldn't exist, otherwise. It sure made a difference when it was lowered 5 inches in the late '60s. Oh, but you pitched some in college, so you know better than Weaver, Ripken, and anybody who's ever pitched off a mound.
    OK, is this good enough for you...Ted Williams stepped in against Dalko in spring training in '58, took one pitch, left the cage in fear for his life, and said Steve was the fastest pitcher he ever saw. You know better than Ted? I guess you faced Feller and Trucks back in your youth?

    This isn't some Sidd Finch BS that somebody dreamed up or embellished, there are dozens of well known baseball people who have flat out said that Dalko was the fastest pitcher they ever saw. Pat Gillick played against him and still says that, for chrissakes.

    Leave a comment:


  • evetts18
    replied
    Feller Youtube

    I've seen the Youtube video of Feller supposedly hitting 98 or so. I don't mean to sound like Joe Morgan, but that just doesn't look to me like a fastball that crossed the plate at 98.6, which means it would have left his hand at around 107. While modern radar guns are frequently trashed as being inaccurate and "jacked-up" who's to say that the measuring device used for Feller was any more accurate. It was an Army device, but the government has been known to be wrong a couple of times. In addition, with all those fans in attendance just waiting to hear the news about how hard Feller was throwing, you don't think there was any temptation to exaggerate? Someone should place this video side-by-side (from the same angle) with a modern pitcher known to be throwing a certain speed and compare.

    Leave a comment:


  • evetts18
    replied
    93 point something

    Originally posted by Dalkowski110 View Post
    "He was clocked at 93 point something? So I can believe that on a real good day he'd have been up around 100 on Pitchf/x or the Jugs Gun."

    Off flat ground, having thrown for fifteen minutes, and starting the game the previous day...yep, sure are ideal conditions...

    "Earl told Steve to throw his fastball and slider over the plate and not worry about anything else. After this, Dalko struck out 104, walked 11, and gave up 1 earned run in 52 innings during one stretch at AA."

    Yep. That was 1962 after about half the season had passed. Weaver pretty much realized that if he told Dalkowski (whose likely problems came with his release point...he was wild up and down, not in and out) just to throw the four-seamer right down the middle, nobody was going to catch up with it anyway. He was just pipelineing his best pitch and still put up those numbers (Steve had better control over his two-seamer and slider and could locate those a little better).

    "I honestly wonder if he was so challenged intellectually that he didn't know to take a little off the ball to control it and just threw full effort without being that concerned about just where it would go."

    Kind of. Steve's problems more or less had to do with his release point. But his coaches couldn't communicate that because they essentially got him thinking too much on the mound. As an example of this, Steve also said that the Orioles pitching coaches (namely Harry Brecheen) slowed him down on the mound around 1959 and wanted him to be more deliberate. While Brecheen's logic probably would have worked with most other pitchers, it got Steve thinking too much and too hard.

    "We'll never know exactly how hard he threw, and we can't compare him to Grove, Feller, or the Big Train...but, I think that it's impossible that he could have only touched 100 on a gun on a good night, and I think that it's very likely that he was faster than Ryan at his best. "

    Well put!


    How do you know he started a game the previous day? Have you seen a box score or something? Even if he had, remember Randy Johnson coming into the World Series game against the Yankees after having pitched the previous day? I don't remember him throwing 80 mph. He had pretty much the same fastball as the night before. Also, throwing off of flat ground vs. a mound doesn't make that much of a difference. I pitched a little in college and I can tell you that it just doesn't. And throwing for fifteen minutes before throwing the ball into the machine couldn't make that much difference, either. For all we know he rested every couple of minutes anyway. As for all of these people who supposedly have said that Dalkowski was the fastest they've ever seen, most, if not all of them saw him while they were first in the minor leagues (some were probably right out of high school). Therefore, they would have been comparing him to other minor leaguers. In comparison, I'm sure his fastball looked 110 when everyone else was probably throwing mid 80's. I'm not saying that he wasn't one of the fastest of all time, just that I bet he didn't throw any harder than Feller, Ryan, Zumaya or anyone else who's had a legit 100 mph fastball. And if he did, it was maybe by a half a mph. That 93.8 is pretty hard to get around.
    Last edited by evetts18; 07-25-2008, 07:23 AM.

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  • Dalkowski110
    replied
    Ironically, Bill James didn't quite get it right with regards to how Steve injured his arm (also, Earl managed Steve at Elmira in '62, not '64). As you can imagine, something like that...even with a guy with an IQ of about 60...stays with you for a very long time. "I don't remember the count, but Joe Pepitone was up and he was bunting. I think it was a slider I threw him [and it] felt like my elbow popped." Although Hector Lopez, Phil Linz, and Jim Bouton have all come up as being names Steve faced, the articles where the writers have actually asked Steve, it's been Joe Pepitone.

    I will give this to evetts18...there ARE a lot of myths out there to the point of where it's difficult to seperate fact from fiction in the case of Steve Dalkowski. However, it's also clear that with Steve finally beginning to regain control of his memory, which had once been nearly blank, that many of these myths will be undoubtedly put to pasture. However, one other thing is clear...Steve throwing so fast that he could come up in speed discussions with Nolan Ryan and Bob Feller (note that Feller and Dalkowski were clocked with the same machine at the same distance...Feller had the luxury of getting a pitch reading on his third pitch, being well-rested, and throwing off a mound) is NOT a myth.
    Last edited by Dalkowski110; 07-24-2008, 02:06 PM.

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    From the Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers, page 248. Dalkowski must have been incredible to watch. He must have scared bujeezus out of hitters!

    .
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 07-24-2008, 01:41 PM.

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  • Dalkowski110
    replied
    "He was clocked at 93 point something? So I can believe that on a real good day he'd have been up around 100 on Pitchf/x or the Jugs Gun."

    Off flat ground, having thrown for fifteen minutes, and starting the game the previous day...yep, sure are ideal conditions...

    "Earl told Steve to throw his fastball and slider over the plate and not worry about anything else. After this, Dalko struck out 104, walked 11, and gave up 1 earned run in 52 innings during one stretch at AA."

    Yep. That was 1962 after about half the season had passed. Weaver pretty much realized that if he told Dalkowski (whose likely problems came with his release point...he was wild up and down, not in and out) just to throw the four-seamer right down the middle, nobody was going to catch up with it anyway. He was just pipelineing his best pitch and still put up those numbers (Steve had better control over his two-seamer and slider and could locate those a little better).

    "I honestly wonder if he was so challenged intellectually that he didn't know to take a little off the ball to control it and just threw full effort without being that concerned about just where it would go."

    Kind of. Steve's problems more or less had to do with his release point. But his coaches couldn't communicate that because they essentially got him thinking too much on the mound. As an example of this, Steve also said that the Orioles pitching coaches (namely Harry Brecheen) slowed him down on the mound around 1959 and wanted him to be more deliberate. While Brecheen's logic probably would have worked with most other pitchers, it got Steve thinking too much and too hard.

    "We'll never know exactly how hard he threw, and we can't compare him to Grove, Feller, or the Big Train...but, I think that it's impossible that he could have only touched 100 on a gun on a good night, and I think that it's very likely that he was faster than Ryan at his best. "

    Well put!

    Leave a comment:


  • hellborn
    replied
    Originally posted by evetts18 View Post
    All this stuff about Dalkowski is just speculation. Like the alledged "Roswell incident" the ledgend grows bigger every year. He was clocked at 93 point something? So I can believe that on a real good day he'd have been up around 100 on Pitchf/x or the Jugs Gun.
    You can find dozens of quotes from baseball people saying Dalko was the fastest pitcher they ever saw. Earl Weaver said this, and he managed Dalko in the minors...think of how many great fastballs Weaver has seen from Ryan, I'd assume Koufax, Tanana, etc. If Weaver says Dalko had a fastball like nobody else, he had to be throwing over 100 on a gun. Cal Ripken Sr. caught him in the minors and said the same thing. These guys know a little baseball, and they knew Dalko intimately, and had seen dozens of other flamethrowers...they said Dalko was the fastest, no question.
    Weaver figured out that Dalko had a very low IQ and couldn't process a lot of information from coaches. Earl told Steve to throw his fastball and slider over the plate and not worry about anything else. After this, Dalko struck out 104, walked 11, and gave up 1 earned run in 52 innings during one stretch at AA. The next spring training, he was headed for the majors, and he hurt his arm. Never made the majors.
    We'll never know exactly how hard he threw, and we can't compare him to Grove, Feller, or the Big Train...but, I think that it's impossible that he could have only touched 100 on a gun on a good night, and I think that it's very likely that he was faster than Ryan at his best. But, Dalko also couldn't throw strikes until the very end...I honestly wonder if he was so challenged intellectually that he didn't know to take a little off the ball to control it and just threw full effort without being that concerned about just where it would go.
    Last edited by hellborn; 07-24-2008, 11:16 AM. Reason: wrong tense

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  • evetts18
    replied
    Dalkowski

    All this stuff about Dalkowski is just speculation. Like the alledged "Roswell incident" the ledgend grows bigger every year. He was clocked at 93 point something? So I can believe that on a real good day he'd have been up around 100 on Pitchf/x or the Jugs Gun.

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  • Dalkowski110
    replied
    Makes sense...Steve said each of the three fastballs that he threw Williams was higher than the next.

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  • Ubiquitous
    replied
    One thing to note about Ted Williams and Dalkowski in 1960.

    During spring training Ted was suffering from the same pinched nerve in his neck that made him a .254 hitter the year before. He couldn't turn his neck much at all and he couldn't see the pitcher real well. The problem didn't clear up for him until around opening day against Washington. So it is entirely possible that Ted never saw Steve's fastball.
    Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-23-2008, 01:31 PM.

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