Query about the "quick pitch"

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sat Jun 21 23:59:25 UTC 2003

My thanks to Dave Wilton for his reply. Also, I just noticed a 1913
item which clearly shows that the quick pitch was still permitted in
that year:
_San Francisco Bulletin_, March 10, 1913, p.17/2-3; col. 3:  "Big Ed
Walsh Performs...": "[Chicago White Sox player] Lord had walked, but
not before the Seal novice had slipped a second strike over on him
while the Chicago captain was mooning."---("mooning" = daydreaming)

Gerald Cohen

>At 1:28 PM -0700 6/21/03, Dave Wilton wrote:
>From: Dave Wilton <dave at wilton.net>
>Subject:      Re: Query about the "quick pitch"
>>     When was the "quick pitch" was outlawed in baseball? I'd be
>>  grateful if someone would let me know.
>>      An article in the newspaper _San Francisco Bulletin_ (March 10,
>>  1913, p. 17, col. 1) includes "...sneaked over a strike on the
>>  batsman."
>>  In context, this seems to refer to the quick pitch, but I thought
>>  this pitch was outlawed already in the 19th century.
>>       The newspaper quote is:
>>  "Twice during the game Pat [Harkins, Seals pitcher] sneaked over a
>>  strike on the batsman.  He fooled Harry Lord [of the Chicago White
>>  Sox] on this once."
>I don't know exactly when it was made illegal, but it was before 1928. In
>game 4 of the '28 series Cardinal Bill Sherdel quick pitched to Babe Ruth.
>The pitch was ruled illegal. Ruth hit a homer off the next pitch, one of
>three he hit in that game.
>I'm not sure that when the quick pitch became illegal is relevant to the
>lexical question though. Pitchers were quick pitching before the rule and
>continue to do so to this day. Just because a pitch is illegal doesn't mean
>that pitchers don't throw it nor that sportswriters don't write about such
>But The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary also records "sneaker" and "sneaky"
>to denote fastballs that appear slower than they actually are and are
>perfectly legal. Dickson has a 1945 cite for "sneaker" in this sense. It
>could be that this is an early use of the term for a deceptively fast pitch,
>as opposed to a "quick" or "quick return" pitch (which for those who don't
>know is a pitch that is delivered before the batter is set in the box).

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