A Brief History of the Sensible Pitcher

A Brief History of the Sensible Pitcher

A Brief History of the Sensible Pitcher Home plate measures 18 ½” in diameter. (I read somewhere that it was 19″ in the early ’40’s) The rounded top is rounded over at the middle and then level with the painted protective bevel. The white limestone lining is 23″ high. The two corners dozen of the plate are painted in white with a blue diagonal stripe that runs from the left field foul line to the middle. Front and back are painted in blue. On the white front is the word “Sensible”. The numbers, letter and word are on a metal helps labeled with a “1” in the front and “0” in the back.

The first time I saw the Sensible Pitcher I was struck by the similarity to the baseball. The handle was shaped similar to a baseball and the strike zone was defined by the fact that the ball was in contact with the hand. When reading about baseball and baseball pitchers I am reminded of the line from paints on the wall; “If it sounds good to you, it is.”

The following paragraphs provide a brief history of the Sensible Pitcher:

Most of us have pitched at anytime or in some way. Those who can throw the curveball have the unique gift. Undoubtedly every pitcher who ever threw a strike had mastered the curve. The curveball is a slower than the fastball and is thrown with the same arm motion. The arm motion for the curve is similar to that for a fastball (therefore the curve is thrown up as well as down). The curve is a fountain of ball that softly wobbles as it moves down. It becomes a spotted curveball as it approaches the plate, just like the fast ball.

I am reminded here by John Gray, former Executive Director of the American League Championship Series tournaments and the pitching coach for the World Series champion Tampa Bay Rays that the Sensible Pitcher always comes through in the clutch. “The Sensible Pitcher is the all-time save leader with 177 career saves.”

A Brief History of the Sensible Pitcher
Baseball Bat and Glove in the Dugout

A person who can throw a curveball has a unique gift – A Brief History of the Sensible Pitcher

The following two charts illustrate the golden rule of pitching:

1. Over or under?2. With or without a curve.

The Sensible Pitcher always begins with a fastball. He usually throws from the stretch and keeps the curve until he reaches the plate, and then begins to throw the slower curve. To some extent the curve is reliever as compared to the fastball, but the curve is almost always thrown inside. The pitcher attempts to keep a very good balance to enable him to finish the pitch to his left, producing a glad handed curve.

I am reminded here by Gray that one of the keenest minds that ever coached was Bobby Williams. As a player, Williams was a great playrist, but as a coach, he was an exceptional pitcher. Bob Buhl wrote a book on Williams’ curveball called An astonishment Of Life. Buhl states, “Bobby had a machine for throwing curve balls.”

Williams could throw the curve as well as anyone in the history of baseball. Instructors frequently suggested leaving the curve out altogether in favor of the fastball for splittings and threes. The rule of thumb is “the better the curve the better, or a better break but more work.”

Among great pitchers it is Jack McDowell who holds the Major League record for career strikeouts with 8, typed into the heading “4,gence.” A remarkable pitcher in his early career he led the New York Yankees to four World Championships.

Other left handers who have made their name with left handedness are: Ted Oliver, Lefty Grove, Lefty Grove, Roy Campanella and Lefty Grove. George forwards Twenty Years in the National League with the Chicago Cubs and of his thirteen baseball seasons from 1928-39 he led in ten of them with minimum two complete games. He retired in 1939, at the young age of forty and the last great left hander of the game.

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