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Throw as hard as Jamie Moyer, win free tickets

Apr 19, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT


As a follow-up to Jamie Moyer not cracking 80 miles per hour with any pitch during Tuesday’s historic victory I wondered yesterday what percentage of adult males could throw 80 mph.

Opinions varied pretty wildly, but the general feeling seems to be that one percent is probably the maximum and significantly less than one percent is very possible.

All of which brings me to this promotion from the Fort Myers Miracle, which is the Minnesota Twins’ high Single-A affiliate in the Florida State League:

In related news: Gonna be a lot of shattered egos and sore shoulders in Fort Myers tonight.

  1. mattintoledo - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    One thing I noticed about a lot of these stations is the speed comes up after you hit a tarp or screen with your pitch. When you look, the gun is pointed at that tarp. If I’m not mistaken, the pitch speeds we see quoted for pitchers are the speed at the release point. As somebody who has to grunt to get it up over 70 mph, I found this patently unfair. Unfortunately, pointing it out only gets you eye rolls and comments like, “Yeah, THAT’s what’s keeping you from the majors.”

    • hansob - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      If my sarcasm meter is broken, I apologize, but that’s the proper response to pointing that out. Unless you have a jet fan blowing air at you at 80 mph, I’m guessing that 70 mph final speed wasn’t more than 72 mph the instant it left your hand.

      • dowhatifeellike - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        I believe it’s the gamecenter (or whatever it’s called) that shows the speed at the point of release is about 10-12mph higher than the speed at the plate. Pitches have movement because of the way they’re affected by the air. Speed is no different. Throwing a baseball beyond terminal velocity means it will slow considerably upon release.

      • hansob - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        right, but that’s 90 mph at 60 feet. It’s going to slow down a whole lot less when you’re throwing 70 mph into a tarp that’s 30 feet away.

      • tgthree - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        You might not want to be smug and then “guess” about the final speed. Here’s a link to a guy that used a high-speed camera setup to work out the kinematics of his pitching delivery.

        The punch line is that a pitch released at 90.32 mph crossed home plate at 77.4 mph. You should care where they’re pointing the radar gun.

      • tgthree - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        The link I promised but forgot to include:

      • mattintoledo - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        I hope it’s understood my whole argument is tongue-in-cheek. I say I’m going to throw a certain speed. I fail. My wife rolls her eyes and I jokingly and pathetically bring up the release point argument. “All I’m saying is they already throw WAY harder than me. They don’t need methodology pushing things even MORE in their favor.”

        (I’ve heard the velocity lost is something like 10% of the release point velocity.)

    • Jeremy Fox - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      Yeah, I vaguely recall reading somewhere that a major league pitch only loses 1-2 MPH from the pitcher’s hand to the plate. Air resistance is just not that big a deal.

      • Jeremy Fox - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        @dowhatifeellike: a 10-12 MPH drop? Maybe I’m really misremembering what I read (or maybe what I read was totally wrong)? Do you have a link?

      • dowhatifeellike - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        initial horizontal speed final horizontal speed loss
        100 mph 88 mph 12 mph
        90 mph 80 mph 10 mph
        80 mph 71 mph 9 mph
        67 mph 59 mph 8 mph

      • Jeremy Fox - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I stand corrected!

      • hasbeen5 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

        Where’s that Wonka clip?

    • heyblueyoustink - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Eyes rolling as we speak

      • mattintoledo - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Honey, is that you?

      • phukyouk - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:37 PM


    • coachbrew - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

      FWIW, I had my pitch clocked at a place when I was visiting Cooperstown that advertised their super accurate radar gun. It clocked the pitch out of your hand, and I hit 75 mph there.

      Less than a year later I tried it at one of the regular speed pitch things at a game. The fastest I got was 60 mph.

      I would guess I’m somewhere in the middle of the two numbers.

  2. henson58 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    its not the speed at the release point that would be fairly slow the ball gains speed over the distance. throw from 45 feet then throw from 60 your speed at the 60 ft will be higher

    • mattintoledo - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      That’s incorrect. I’m no physicist, but the only force on the ball is coming from what my arm provides. That’s when it’s going its fastest. It starts to decelerate as soon as it leaves my hand.

      • davidpom50 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Henson is, of course, referring to throwing a ball with hurricane-force winds at your back. Otherwise what he said is complete nonsense.

  3. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    I remember going to a baseball game with my dad once where had a few too many and agreed to go head-to-head at the speed pitch. He threw 35 mph heat (with movement!) and nonchalantly told the attendant “that’s my changeup”.

  4. Loose Changeup - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Air resistance is proportional to the square of the speed, so a faster ball loses more speed than a slower one. This doesn’t take spin into account, which can make the airflow more of less turbulent. Yadda yadda.

    I’ve heard that they pick a point 50 feet from the plate when they measure speed, so as not to get interference from the hand or body.

    Now that that’s settled, I’d like to address the lack of a mound and pitching rubber at these ballpark radar setups. Not being able to push off of a rubber has got to lose you a few mph. And that’s why I can barely break 60.

    • phukyouk - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      Yeah, THAT’s what’s keeping you from the majors
      *rolls eyes*

  5. bloggersarenotjournalists - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    In related news: Gonna be a lot of shattered egos and sore shoulders in Fort Myers tonight.
    Nice one

  6. havlicekstoletheball - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    How ’bout “Try to throw as hard as Jamie Moyer and win free medical insurance to repair your shredded elbow or what’s left of your shoulder!”

  7. henson58 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I can tell you this go to reds hall of fame museum they have a 45 ft mound and a 60ft mound throw from the 45 and your 8-10 mph slower than you are at 60ft

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