Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 27 14:13:24 UTC 2013

The "split-fingered fastball" has undergone evolution into "split-finger
fastball", "the split-finger", "the splitter" and "the split". I've
heard all the forms with regularity, except for the final one, which was
prominently used today in MLB Channel discussion of the posting of
Tanaka, who appears to be a master of the pitch (it's his "out" pitch).
Finding web examples is a bit more difficult. I doubt this is
particularly newsworthy, but may be of interest. I am not really a
baseball fan, so this may have been around for three decades without me
noticing... The most truncated form appears to have been absorbed into
the pro jargon.

  How To Grip and Throw a Split Finger
> I like throwing the split without touching any laces.

The Hartford Courant; August 12, 2003
> According to Burkett, the conversation went something like this.
> Burkett: ``Hey dude, I'm going to start throwing a split. I was laying
> in bed thinking about it.''
> Varitek [laughing]: ``Did you practice it?''
> Burkett: ``I used to throw it years ago.''
> Varitek: ``Throw a couple in your warmups so I can see it.''

> A big-time recruit by the likes of Louisiana State as a high school
> quarterback in Florida, Cassevah has been throwing the split since his
> teens.

Shelley rides splitter to success, Double-A
> But before the 2002 season, he started throwing the split again, and
> his pitching career turned around.
> ...
> "It came down to the fact of what would they do to my split," Shelley
> said. "Will they swing and miss? If they swing at my split, I knew I'd
> do pretty well. If they are taking it, then I'd struggle."
> ...
> Double-A batters didn't have much more success than indy ball hitters
> at picking up the split, as he went 3-2, 2.63 for Huntsville with 53
> strikeouts in 55 innings.
> ...
> He didn't use the split at Cook County (Frontier) in 2002, as he went
> 2-8, 4.79.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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