The Science of the Fastball


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About the Book

This book presents a scientific but easy to understand explanation of pitching power. Illustrated with anecdotes about baseball’s greatest power pitchers, it describes how they were able to achieve phenomenal fastball velocity and record-breaking strikeout numbers. How was a 17-year-old rookie named Bob Feller able to strike out Major League batters in record numbers? How do the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the arm and shoulder work to amplify power for greater pitch velocity? How was minor league pitcher Steve Dalkowski able to throw the most phenomenal fastball ever seen (or heard)? Why do young pitchers with exceptional velocity often issue walks at exceptional rates? Why do good pitchers occasionally pitch badly? Why is exceptional hand speed important? What is it about overhand throwing that causes elbow and shoulder injuries? How can a pitcher achieve greater endurance and durability? What is the most reliable way to increase fastball velocity? This book addresses these and other questions for pitchers, coaches, managers, trainers, and fans.

About the Author(s)

William Blewett, sportswriter, science writer and engineer, lives in Bel Air, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

William Blewett
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, figures, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7179-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0139-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. Three Fastball Prodigies 5
2. The 107-mph Fastball? 16
3. The Kinetic Chain of Pitching, Roughly Quantified 25
4. The Four Elements of Pitching Power 36
5. The Dalkowski Phenomenon: Under-Damped Biological Springs at Near-Resonance 57
6. Triple Play: The Importance of Hand Speed 73
7. The Fickle Flight of Koufax’s Fast-Spinning Four-Seamer 81
8. The Band and the Gap 86
9. Diminishing Velocity: Five Effects That Link Eccentric Contractions to Power Loss 93
10. Building Strength and Velocity with the “Magic” of Eccentric Contractions 107
11. The Wild Card of Pitching Power 130
12. Endurance, Durability, and Longevity: Amos Rusie vs. Pedro Martinez 137
13. Differential Power Loss: Outliers, Slumps, and Downward Trends 162
14. The Fourth Prodigy? 177
Glossary of Technical Terms Related to Pitching Power 187
Chapter Notes 197
Bibliography 205
Index 211