I had to Google this one when I heard about it this morning, because I personally have never seen one in a professional ballgame before (or, really, any ballgame, unless you count Little League).
An eephus pitch, which translates to “nothing” pitch, is a very, very slow pitch with virtually nothing on it. Supposedly, the pitch received its name from outfielder Maurice Van Robays, who explained, “Eephus ain’t nothing, and that’s a nothing pitch.” Due to its lack of velocity, the eephus pitch floats to the plate in a high arc, resembling a pitch thrown in a slow pitch softball game, except thrown with an overhand motion. Since it appears so rarely, by throwing an eephus pitch, a pitcher can catch a hitter off guard.
Last night, in a game between the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Hanshin Tigers in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, Kazuhito Tadano tossed this doozy of a pitch while facing Mauro Gomez. The pitch discombobulated the umpire, who called it a ball, in spite of its crossing the plate seemingly through the strike zone.
To watch the video of Tadano’s eephus pitch, click here.
4 thoughts on “Baseball 101: Eephus pitch”
Bill spaceman Lee used to pull one from his crazy holster and Dave LaRoche made us Milwaukee fans shake our heads back in the eephus day, but we loved all of Gorman’s whiffs just the same as his home run gongs and I love your nose to the grindstone Precious to be sharing Nippon action with us from last night.
Wow… I felt that breeze just watching that. Incredible.
Rip Sewell, who last pitched in the big leagues in 1949, is credited with inventing the pitch (don’t know if he really did) FYI
Interesting, it appears that he is, indeed. I found this little piece about the eephus pitch — amazing how a junk pitch creates so much fascination: